A column in The Times by Bret Stephens got POTUS’s attention recently. There is conjecture that it may have contributed to the “cure-worse-than-the-disease” propaganda that trumpets against efficient pandemic control.
My mom puts the groceries away and we sit down to talk on her patio, keeping our chairs far apart. She didn’t think much of my last column, in which I argued that we need to balance the public-health risks of pandemic against the risks of a global depression.
“I don’t remember your degree being in medicine or epidemiology,” she observes.
Stephens is a thoughtful, informed, and sensitive voice for conservatism. I sense that he is offsetting here what may have been his inadvertent contribution to fostering indifference to the virus’s potential toll on the more vulnerable segments of the population.
So I sit on my mom’s patio and listen. Not out of filial deference or compassion, but because deep down I know there’s usually more wisdom in my mother’s instincts and perceptions than there are in my clever (or not-so-clever) concatenations of facts, concepts and hypotheticals. And while I can’t hug her, I can at least try to honor her by paying close attention — as we should all of our elderly loved ones, now so vulnerable, never more precious [my bolding].
Stephens’s mother is a Jewish refugee born in Milan who fled Nazi control of northern Italy.
(Bret Stephens, “In This Emergency, Mom Knows Best,” NYTimes, 3-27-20)
(c) 2020 JMN