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This is a hard time, and there are definitely people who are at fault for not taking this more seriously, or for outright taking advantage of this situation for political or economic gain. But those people are a tiny percentage, and in reality, right now, billions of people are listening to experts and that action is saving literally millions of lives. I'm grateful for that.

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Good morning John!

I doubt that anyone will be surprised to hear that I am a little bit blaahhhh. My worry, as you have put it eloquently is omnidirectional.

But! There are also pieces of this that I do find encouraging. So I feel like it's probably more productive to talk about that stuff right now.  Here are five things that I am finding encouraging right now:
  1. If there is ever a time in which we in America will recognize that having most people get their healthcare through their employer is arbitrary and cruel and ludicrous...this is the moment.
  2. Maybe we are realizing how much work goes into making the world function. I hope maybe after we are done with this we will appreciate the work done by other people more, weather we are currently being asked to live without it, as is the case with many teachers and childcare workers, or if we have been asked to imagine what the world will be like without their work, and how much we do not want to live in that world.
  3. We are currently, at least for now, listening to expertise. a lot of people who found it good marketing or politically useful to say that like a gut feeling of a regular person is equal to, or superior to, like a decades worth of expertise, are now suddenly very glad the expertise exists. 
  4. Among the underappreciated institutions that are feeling very necessary right now is just government. And I'm not saying that all governments have done this well, I'm saying that government is very necessary in this moment. And there are a lot of people who spend a lot of time trying to cut and cut and cut government, who are suddenly very very quiet. Government response being bad isn't because government is bad; it's because government has been hobbled by years and years of people saying that it's not necessary, and attacking it, and also having this war on expertise, that has forced people who are experts out of positions in public service. 
  5. And last, right now we are acting as a society. We tell a really individualist story about how things get done in America. Individualism is a good story. It's empowering, and I think it does a lot of good. But it's not really a true story. As the saying goes "we live in a society" and right now we know it. 
I kind of just realised this while I was making this video, but I think we are in the middle of the largest collective, intentional action that has ever been taken.

I am not saying this is good.  This is bad! Not just the illness and the loss of life, but the inequity of how it is hitting and will hit us. Not just the economic fallout, but again, that's gonna hit very unevenly.

And I'm worried that in a moment that calls for, maybe even requires a lot of international cooperation; this is gonna make is even more nationalistic. And again, I'm worried that we're trusting experts right now, but a little bit down the road, when we are dealing with the repercussions of this, and people might be saying "oh it wasn't as bas as they said it was gonna be.". Those messages will work.

Even if right now these experts and their policies are saving thousands of lives a day. Because here's the thing about having strong opinions and no expertise: you always get to pretend that you're right because your advice never gets taken and so you can say that you were right, you were right, you were right because there's no one running the simulation where we did it your way. And thank the Lord!

My worries are in every direction, but I do not have less faith in humanity now than I did three months ago, and that's something.  And with that in mind, like with the knowledge of my own need for it, I've decided to do a little project, it's a week (I think) 20 minute podcast called "Covid Sucks, People Don't" where I talk to some people who are trying to make this better. The first interview, for example, is with a guy, who just this week, got his first injection of an experimental Covid-19 vaccine. He's one of 45 people in the world in that trial, and he is surprisingly chill about it; link's in the description. 

John, I'll see you on Tuesday!