Friday, May 1, 2020

No Choice

One can make the case that the response to COVID-19 has been overdone in a number of ways, all of them arguable. For my part, I think that I'd argue that the attribution of things to the virus has been overdone. A lot of the effects that society is dealing with are not a direct result of the virus itself, but our response to it. This is not to say that not responding would have changed all of them. But many of the specific things that we see are the result of the stay-at-home orders, mandatory business closures and other measures that have been enacted by people.

And this is important because it tells us that we have a certain level of control over things. Not in terms of the events that occur in the world on every give day, or even in how things play out in the end, but in our responses to them. The idea that taking whatever option one believes is the lesser of the available evils is not a choice is a recipe for feeling out of control, and that feeling of being puppeteered by outside events often leads to anxiety and stress.

Still I understand the impulse. Being understood to not have a choice often frees people from the accountability that comes with decision-making. But I think that taking ownership when it's there is a better course in the long run. Not, I suspect, that people would agree with me on that.

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