I received the following email, and I thought it was worth responding to in a post.
“I hope you and yours are well and staying safe from the viral insanity.
I wonder if you have any advice on being prepared for overreach and medical mandates in times like these? I like to have at least a flexible plan.
I just finished reading Suzanne Somers’ “Knockout”, and watching Real Stories’ coverage on Stanislaw Burzynski… my cousin is currently seeing Dr Burzynski after a cancer diagnosis. I am so very grateful for your heroic and tireless efforts. Thank you. Deeply.
And keep it up, PLEASE!
(Note: I helped Suzanne a little with her book “Knockout” which help was graciously acknowledged in her acknowledgements, and I represented Dr. Burzynski for many of his legal travails over the course of several decades.)
Some of my recent Stoller updates have indirectly addressed this issue, but the email I just received gave me the idea and reason to address the issue directly.
First piece of advice: Don’t go crazy, don’t over react and keep your powder dry, for now
Right now, what the federal, state and local authorities are doing in the face of the coronavirus pandemic seems reasonable and prudent, at least right now, albeit these actions are unprecedented, in scale or scope.
Let’s see what happens in a couple weeks. It is possible these current efforts will “flatten the curve”, or as the sceptics will say, that the whole thing was overblown. Many of you think the latter, but we should know in the next few weeks if that’s the case.
Second Piece of Advice: Let the experts and the thought leaders do their jobs
There are already rumblings amongst highly credentialed medical types at some of the most prestigious medical institutions (Stanford, Yale and others) questioning whether we are overreacting at the expense of our economic well-being. But as stated, it is too early to tell, but we will have a better idea in a few weeks, most likely. For sure, repost these opinion pieces from the medical elite published in mainstream media. They are a good counterpoint.
Third Piece of Advice: Be vigilant for efforts to suspend civil rights
Look, the government has a great deal of power in public health crises, like the power to issue shelter-in-place orders, and the power to quarantine. I’ve recently read how the Department of Justice is floating an idea that the chief justices of courts be given the right to indefinitely quarantine individuals, without judicial review. That is where I draw the line. If that actually becomes proposed legislation, that would be a point where massive social activism would be necessary.
Similarly, any other attempt to suspend the rule of law in the current circumstances, and by that, I mean where the current total deaths are a fraction of the annual deaths from the flu. I think that is important because any such attempts to restrict actual civil rights would be based on the fear of what could happen, rather than what is actually happening. On the other hand, if we start having hundreds of thousands of people die of this in a short time, then all bets are off, civil rights wise.
Generalized, the worse it gets, the more the government, (even the Trump administration which appears to be beloved by so many in the VC community) will attempt to further restrict movement and have the behavior of citizens conform to the new norms established by the public health authorities. At some point, enough will be too much, unless as stated, we start having crazy numbers of deaths (compared to annual flu deaths, which people either did not know about or accept).
Fourth piece of advice: Be mindful and vigilant of what comes next, and watch out for the Useful Idiots, (for those who have seen Homeland).
I think our country faces a far greater danger than the actual coronavirus, but I will address that in the next post.
But for now, don’t go crazy, keep your powder dry, wait, but be vigilant.
Rick Jaffe, Esq.