Top Three Takeaways – November 17th
- Pragmatism. First, here’s the definition: An approach that assesses the truth of meaning of theories or beliefs in terms of the success of their practical application. As a pragmatist myself I root for it. Seldom in our society does it seem to prevail...but could that be changing? For example, during the spring when Florida was averaging fewer than 1,000 daily cases of COVID-19, we were locked down. Then, as we averaged right around a 1,000 cases per day we started to open up. About a month later, we were told we still couldn’t gather in groups, until and unless it was regarding perceived racial injustice in which case we could unlawfully assemble in the thousands. Then we were told those who gathered by the thousands to protest weren’t responsible for the spike in cases which coincided directly with the protests but we still shouldn’t gather in non-protest related gatherings because that would lead to the spike in cases. Shortly thereafter South Florida officials decided that it was safe to eat inside a restaurant and drink at a bar at a restaurant, provided that it was a restaurant. If it was just a bar, without the food, the virus would find you so those stayed shutdown. It was around this time that South Florida’s school districts decided they’d start school with online only education, which costs substantially less to operate but they’d reallocate all cost savings while passing budgets which dramatically increased spending for the school year. But that was then...
- Logic. It’s what was lacking within all those examples I cited. It’s what’s needed for pragmatism to prevail. It also seems like it’s entering the conversation. Despite the recent spike in cases, we haven’t seen knee-jerk reactions to shut South Florida down. Maybe officials noticed that average case counts actually rose in Florida during the lockdowns. Maybe they realized that if they lockdown the economy again there won’t be taxpayers left who can afford to pay for their salaries and budget increases. Regardless, what we’re witnessing is pragmatism. This stands in contrast to say Chicago where a family member visiting another family member on Thanksgiving will literally be fined for doing so if the local dictatorship discovers your plot to spend Thanksgiving with your family.
- Responsibility. And this is where we need to be pragmatists. A likely part of the reason for the lack of pragmatism earlier this year by our officials was that they don’t really trust you to take care of yourself. It’s a sad and ironic commentary in many ways but real, nonetheless. During this pandemic if we aren’t careful the downside really can be considerable. I’m not going to lecture on wearing masks and the like, but we should be aware of the current reality. As I’ve been suggesting for weeks, the flu is likely to have its most benign season on record because COVID is 2.5 times more contagious. Flu season this year was always going to be the season of COVID. And here we are. I firmly believe many families need each other more than ever this holiday season. There’s ample evidence that the mental health issues of lockdowns are worse than contracting the virus itself for low-risk people. But we still need to take personal responsibility to be mindful and to be careful. Just as officials are starting to display pragmatism, we should too. We’ll all benefit from a little of it.
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