Monday, April 13, 2020

Self-Centered vs. Group-Centered vs. Society-Centered People

People often talk about those who are selfish and only care about themselves vs. those who care more about others than themselves. When dealing with the current COVID-19 crisis and the debate on when to "re-open" that is a bit too simplistic and there are actually three schools of thought.

Of course there are the so-called "covidiots" who don't want their personal lives inconvenienced to help save others, vouch that their constitutional rights are being violated. etc.; these people are in the "self-centered" category that I referenced to in the title of this blog post.

There are those whose primary focus is protecting and saving the lives of their family and friends and will take whatever measures needed to do so without considering the collateral consequences on either themselves or society at large. These are the "group-centered" people.

Finally, there are those who want to do whatever is best for society in general, regardless of what happens to either themselves or those who are close to them. These are the people with the "society-centered" view. A non-coronavirus-related example of this kind of person is one who is willing to fight in war for the country.

Back in March (at least on the U.S.'s timetable) those in both groups #2 and #3 supported lockdowns, etc. but for different reasons. You had those who were trying to protect their loved ones (#2) as well as those who were trying to "flatten the curve" to avoid overwhelming the health care system beyond capacity (#3).

Now that we're at or near the peak, and except for certain "hotspots" we haven't had more patients than the hospitals can handle, the concerns about having to decide who to treat and who to let die has largely been abated. That means while the focus of those in group #2 is still on not wanting to lose a family member or friend (and thus continuing the restrictions in place for months or even years until the pandemic ends or a vaccine becomes available), those in group #3 are now vouching to ease restrictions, let people get back to work to help re-start the economy, and minimize the economic and societal repercussions that a long-term lockdown would have (which ironically could result in more deaths than what we're trying to prevent).

In summary, back when new cases were rising exponentially, Groups #2 and #3 had the same desires. Now it's #1 and #3 who are together.

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