Doing the Right Thing

“Americans can always be relied upon to do the right thing — having first exhausted all other possible alternatives.”

This quote has often been attributed to Winston Churchill, but there’s no evidence Churchill ever said or wrote it, although one of his biographers suspected that he felt that way, and, historically, the U.S. has certainly acted in that fashion.

A number of the Founding Fathers felt slavery was wrong and should not have been allowed, but, because they allowed it, the result was the prolongation of a barbaric practice, followed by a Civil War, and another 150 years of suffering. At some point, we might actually get around to finishing doing the right thing.

The same could be said of the right to vote for women, and equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender. Or our failure to confront Hitler when it wouldn’t have cost so many millions of lives. It took rivers actually catching fire and air pollution killing people before the U.S. would enact environmental protection legislation. The carcinogenic effects of smoking tobacco were first noticed in 1912, and definitely established by the late 1930s, but the tobacco industry was disputing that evidence well into the 1960s. There are numerous other examples as well, such as automobile seatbelts and lead in paint and gasoline.

And now we have another – the fact that masks definitely reduce the spread and the fatality level from Covid-19. What’s key about this is that the greatest effect of masks is that of keeping the wearer from spreading the contagion.The medical and health professionals can and have documented this, but the President and many state governors won’t mandate masks, and because masks are inconvenient and uncomfortable, all too many people won’t wear them unless they’re mandated.

And, once again, we’re not only not doing what’s right, but adopting strategies that are demonstrably incorrect and dangerous, and which will cause tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths and cases of permanent health damage.

And people wonder why there’s a trend toward authoritarian governance [even though it has an even worse record than democracy]?

4 thoughts on “Doing the Right Thing”

  1. Postagoras says:

    The logical conclusion to your essay is that human beings aren’t logical.

    1. Hanna says:

      …or deliberately and intentionally obtuse.

      1. Tim says:

        Or do not like being told what to do regardless of how justified it is

  2. Bill says:

    Masks are theater. All of the fabric masks you see do not meet any specification. The majority of the ‘studies’ I have seen that purport to prove mask efficacy are computer simulations. Real scientists know that simulations can be good for setting up real experiments, but are never proof of anything. The best show that coughing into a mask can reduce the range of expectoration. However, we also hear how much spread is from asymptomatic carriers. So, they aren’t coughing, just talking and breathing. If your mask is not soggy, that means that the exhaled virus-laden vapor is just moving right on through your mask and killing that grandma next to you. I especially like the ones who wear the exhale-valve masks, good job there.

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