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bad takes

Glenn Beck offers to die to save America from a COVID-19 shutdown

"I want to have a frank conversation with you," commentator Glenn Beck, 56, said on his show Tuesday, the latest conservative to paint the coronavirus lockdowns in terms of life versus liberty. "I would rather have my children stay home and all of us who are over 50 go in and keep this economy going and working, even if we all get sick. I would rather die than kill the country, because it's not the economy that's dying, it's the country."

"When he says 'I' he means of course 'you,'" David Frum tweeted in response to Beck's death offer, issued from safe inside his Dallas-area home studio. But even if he was serious about dying to save America from sheltering in place to keep doctors and hospitals from collapsing under the weight of a spike in COVID-19 cases, Beck, like Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) on Monday night, is presenting "a false binary, and a distraction," Christopher Hooks writes at Texas Monthly. "The only way to get the economy going again is to contain the virus. The only way to contain the virus is to pause the economy, and in order to do that as briefly as possible, the economic timeout has to be thorough."

Hooks continued with "the practical aspects" of this kind of "offer of self-sacrifice":

[I]f Patrick gets sick and dies, that won’t be the end of the story. He may well infect other people, who will infect other people, and so on. Some of those people could die. He may give it to his wife or his grandkid before he shows symptoms, or to a nurse tending to him after he goes to the hospital. ... And it should also be said that even if America’s elderly were unanimously willing to undergo a culling so that their grandkids can go back to happy hour, they are not the only ones vulnerable to this. It kills perfectly healthy young people. [Christopher Hooks, Texas Monthly]

A 17-year-old died in California on Tuesday, likely from COVID-19. And New Yorker contributor Yascha Mounk posted this cautionary tale Tuesday night: "Three days ago, a 28-year-old employee of the International Monetary Fund suggested that the cost social distancing is exacting 'on the economy' might be more important than 'the human aspect of the disease.' Today, he succumbed to COVID-19." These "deaths will not help the recovery proceed faster," Hooks notes.