The Tiger in the Wind
The official government thinking on how to deal with Ebola is not to restrict travel or incarcerate (quarantine) people because, the logic goes, it will drive Ebola underground. People will hide their symptoms, not seek treatment, and end up spreading the disease further afield. Sounds perfectly reasonable and logical, but this is a 180 degree turn from the government’s approach to other, similar outbreaks.
Let’s take, for example, the outbreak of drug use which, by the way, hasn’t changed as a percentage of the population since war was declared by President Nixon in the 1970s. The government very much threatens incarceration and restricts travel, AKA arrests people, when it comes to drugs. What has this policy accomplished? The exact results the government warns will happen to Ebola if it is treated the same way. Drugs are driven underground into a black-market economy. Users who wish to kick their habits are afraid to seek treatment due to fear of being put in prison. People hide their drug-use symptoms and end up perpetuating drug use. This fear-based policy to illegal drugs is now spreading to legal, prescription drugs as this latter classification have now surpassed illegal drugs in causes of drug-related deaths.
I can’t say which is the proper approach to either problem, but I can say the government, AKA the people, need to be consistent in their treatment of problems with such parallels. We need more logic, consistency, reason, and analysis in our government, but that doesn’t sell votes or commercials near as well as fear, reactionism, paranoia, and schizophrenia. Why do we let this continue?
Because, we are herd animals who react to the rustle in the grass as if it was a tiger, not the wind. We are descended from a long line of cowardly idiots who always thought the rustle was a tiger. After all, if it was just the wind, running away didn’t hurt. If what they thought was the wind, turned out to be a tiger, well let’s just say, “Their genes didn’t make it to the next generation.”
Maybe it’s time we suppressed our primal, genetic urges to see a tiger in every gust of wind and started evolving to use reason and logic. Maybe. But I’m just a guy with a keyboard. What the hell do I know?