The Covid-19 virus has saved the planet. Nothing could have reduced our carbon footprint like docking all cruise ships, grounding a lot of airlines and reducing driving miles by massive quarantines and the new art of social distancing. The wildest dreams of the Greens are realized in a single news cycle. Social isolation from social media was considered a social disfunction but rename it ‘social distancing’ and now it is a key to our very survival. Urban centralization, mass transit, and paper straws were critical to the survival of our planet a month ago and now a threat to be reckoned with.
Israel and the Palestinians now share a common threat that overrides the century of animosities in their blood. At the same time the hegemony of Iran collapses behind the wizard’s curtain. The greatest threat to your survival is no longer your neighbor but some microbe from half a world away. ISIS has warned its terrorists to avoid Europe. Who could have ever imagined?
The dramatic loss in the stock market has fulfilled a reduction in wealth inequality that should satisfy Mr. Piketty and the social justice warriors. Low oil prices reduce costs for everyone including the truckers we are so dependent on.
Introverts are vindicated. We have an incredible infrastructure delivering our needs to our doors daily. Where would we be without Amazon, Facebook, Google and Netflix and other recent digital giants? I was critical of those lazy shoppers who had their groceries brought to the curb. Now it is a great idea. Social media now connects us like it promised at its genesis.
Pharmaceuticals are now seen as saviors not only of American health care but the worlds. People are eating at home more, learning how to cook, and probably eating a bit healthier than the frequent dining out required by our previous busy lives. People will be drinking more and driving less, sharply reducing DUIs.
The heroes are grocery store workers, truck drivers and medical workers. Never take them for granted again. We have unconsciously built a system of commerce that makes social distancing easier than it has ever been. Aren’t markets incredible?
Most of all a real crisis has brought out some of the best features of the American character and has clarified what is important politically and economically. I doubt we will quickly return to old habits quickly; some industries will be permanently altered, and some may not survive.
The knowledge we will get from the exhaustive study of the aftermath; the source, the treatments, vaccines, and the management of outbreaks, will build a secure base that will push the economy back to new highs. We will come to appreciate the aspects of risk that cannot be reduced to complex mathematical formulas.
In the meantime, we will achieve long sought goals of dramatically reducing our carbon footprint, inequality, and even DUI’s and simultaneously realize they were far less important than we thought. We will also hopefully learn to appreciate institutions, forces, and fellow citizens and workers we took for granted and even criticized a few months ago that are now critical to our survival.