AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND: From Down Under, the COVID-19 situation in the United States seems out of control. The National State of Emergency. International flights from Europe banned. Colorado state of emergency, with public meetings, banned. That seems to the Auckland locals to be quite the unnecessary overreaction. Keep in mind these are a people who act with an abundance of caution.
The President has called for this day, March 15, to be a National Day of Prayer.
Not because we are afraid, but because we believe in God.
Here in New Zealand, the reaction is more reasonable.
People coming in as of today are being asked to self-quarantine for two weeks. Leaving is not a problem. Entry into both Australia and New Zealand is the same as it was for the past few weeks or so: you’re asked whether you’ve been to China, Iran or Italy recently.
If not, you’re good to go.
Putting the Coronavirus panic in the U.S. in perspective.
According to the CDC in a recent online post, the deaths from influenza this flu season, beginning in November, is at around 12,000. Deaths from Coronavirus, 22.
On a bus ride this morning, a young Canadian woman was reading something she found on the internet to her mother. Two grown men fighting over a roll of toilet paper. She’s shocked.
But there’s really nothing to be shocked about. This is normal panic-induced behavior. It is panic and the economics of scarcity during the COVID-19 crisis.
The socialist, trained to think in terms of a limited amount of resources, says,
“There’s not enough toilet paper for everybody. I need to get mine, no matter what it takes.”
The capitalist, looking at market behavior, says,
“Demand is outstripping supply. I’d better make some more toilet paper. Meanwhile, I’ll raise the price to help regulate demand and avoid running out completely.”
The socialist government says,
“That greedy capitalist! We need to take over toilet paper production. We can do a better job of making sure everybody gets their share. Just to make sure, we’re going to seize his excess profits. And by the way, set aside a few cases for our use.”
And the ordinary citizen goes along with it all because he and she are so panicked that they don’t know which way to turn. So, they turn to the one with the most power and who seems able to make things happen.
The mistake the socialist has made is in thinking in static terms.
It’s as if there will never be another roll of toilet paper ever made. Or that there’s no alternative. It is judging that the future will look exactly like the past.
The capitalist, on the other hand, understands market forces.
If there’s increased demand, it is in his interest and the interest of his customers to increase supply.
The government has fallen to the trap known as the “fatal conceit.”
If we have enough information, we can make the right decision. The problem is, the government can never have enough information or even the right information. They often can’t even ask the right questions.
They, too, look at the world as if it’s never going to change.
In one respect they are correct: human nature never changes. Ecclesiastes tells us that there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9 New International Version (NIV)
9 What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
We’ve been here before.
And speaking of the sun, ultraviolet light, like sunshine, kills the COVID-19 virus. So if you need something to pray for, pray for sunshine.
The influenza pandemic of 1918 was much worse than COVID-19.
“Therefore I shall ask God to mercifully protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it . . . If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me, and I have done what he expected of me. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid person or place but will go freely.”
President Trump has called for a National Day of Prayer on March 15th. So Pray. Heed Martin Luther’s advice. This is the best thing we can do for ourselves and our fellow man.
The annual National Day of Prayer is scheduled for May 7.
Lead Image: Photo by Hernan Pauccara from Pexels –