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COVID-19: Existential Risk Meets Objective Reality

Until about 45 days ago, the COVID-19 pandemic remained, what philosophers refer to as, an Existential Risk. According to the 2008 Global Catastrophic Risks Survey conducted by Oxford University, the probability of a worldwide natural pandemic killing a million people by the year 2100 was 60%; double the chances of a nuclear war inflicting the same number of deaths. Whether COVID-19 will ultimately inflict that many casualties remain to be seen. I pray not.

Now that a worldwide pandemic has become an objective reality here in South Carolina, all of us have been struggling to flatten out our learning curve. We simply have not encountered this type of global health threat. After this pandemic passes, we will have time to examine our preparedness but for now let’s follow the strong advice of our health professionals and our Governor to stay home and to stay away from each other. I know. When the weather turns warm our mountains, lakes and beaches beckon and it is hard not to socialize. We are Southerners, of course. 

As a freedom loving people, South Carolinians have a long heritage of resisting being told what to do. We still hold dear what Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence where he asserted our natural rights – Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. 

That seems like a good logical ordering. We cannot have the possibility of Happiness without Liberty. We cannot have Liberty if we do not have Life. That is why, as a conservative House member, I have always been a strong supporter of the pro-life movement. I came to be pro-life not to check off a policy box on a campaign survey but from the harsh reality of losing my first son at the age of three. With his loss, I lost part of my future and society lost any contribution that he might have made for the public good. 

Having been a pro-life supporter for many years, I cannot understand the position of my fellow conservatives who have taken a very utilitarian approach to the current COVID-19 pandemic. I am surprised because the logic that the economic loss of attempting to mitigate the pandemic should be weighed against the loss of life, especially among the elderly, sharply resembles the same logic used by the Planned Parenthood crowd that declares that it is a woman’s right to choose to terminate her baby out of economic necessity. 

Being a House member, I receive daily updates from DHEC listing the number of new COVID-19 cases, the number who have died from COVID-19 complications along with a description of their age and if they had an underlying health condition. We should note that the only difference between dying from COVID-19 versus dying with it is that those who die with it died unnecessarily. Long gone are the days when, as Faulkner observed, that in the South the past is never dead, it is not even past. With the premature loss of the elderly, we lose part of our past and it seems that some who claim to be “pro-life” are the first ones who are encouraging the spread of the catalyst that contributes to this premature loss.  

Those who call for South Carolina to quickly return to business as usual would like for us to believe that that the threat from COVID-19 is limited to the elderly. The virus remains highly dangerous to all people who come in close contact with others especially to our first responders and our healthcare workers. If we are really fighting a war against this virus, the best way to show them our support is to listen to their mitigation advice. 

I was relieved that our Governor finally explained his reasoning against issuing a mandatory stay-at-home order. I commend him for raising his concerns about potential violations of our constitutional rights, especially our First and Second Amendment rights. I believe that he has performed his constitutional duty to “provide for the common defense.” 

However, with Liberty sometimes it becomes necessary for freedom-loving people to not exercise those rights. That is the responsibility that comes with Liberty – a responsibility that we owe to our families, neighbors and community to stay at home during this most unusual time. Our Governor has put a lot of faith into the belief that South Carolinians can remember this. 

3 Comments

  1. Sharon R. Miller

    Dear Rep. Stringer,
    You know I am a big supporter of yours, but I am in disagreement with you on this issue. The Governor’s order must be lifted by May 1. The stats of the virus do not justify the closing of our lives and livelihoods. The susceptible, not the healthy, can be isolated. Look at Sweden. Quarantining healthy individuals will not limit deaths but will prevent herd immunity. The numbers just don’t add up. CDC is reporting cases of death as Covid even if that was not the real cause. I am VERY pro-life, as you know. I understand that there are those who are pure evil who are using this virus to promote their agenda, and they care nothing about the lives of people, especially pre-born and elderly. You don’t see Gates wearing a mask and isolating do you? Living in fear of a virus that will NOT kill approx 98-99% of even those people who contract it is tragic. The risk of contracting is extraordinarily low. The numbers predicted by false models are inaccurate and grossly over-projected. No one is pitting the lives of the elderly against economic freedom, or other freedoms for that matter. No one. But this quarantine must end. There are many who are suffering greatly because of it. Have you seen this?:
    https://www.facebook.com/100014908205441/posts/839867626520170/?d=n
    Please don’t fall for the lies. We MUST get SC back to life and living. The Order must end when April does. And whatever you do, please do NOT get the vaccine. Stay as healthy as possible. Take all the precautions as advised ad nauseum. Build your immunity. And open the state. Thank you and God bless you.

    • Tommy Stringer

      As always, I appreciate your comments. As I understand herd immunity, the only way to build immunity to a virus is to either contract the virus or receive a vaccine. For herd immunity to work, the vast majority of the population must be exposed to the virus. As COVID-19 is a type of cold virus, we cannot build a natural immunity. Given what we do know – that a mother can pass it to her unborn child before birth, that it turns your immune system against itself, that the damage inflicted goes beyond just the pulmonary system and what we don’t know – we don’t know how many times it will mutate (3 as of today) or the unknown unknowns. However, I absolutely agree with you that we cannot remain in this work stoppage situation too much longer. I am merely trying to remind people that we have not reached the peak yet and since the stay at home strategy seems to be working, let’s be disciplined until May 1st just to make sure.

      Thanks

  2. Sharon R. Miller

    Thank you so very much Representative Stringer. I truly appreciate your thoughtful response. However, the only thing a quarantine will do is to kick the can down the road. We absolutely CAN build herd immunity to Covid. How else can you explain positive tests without symtoms, unless the test is false? I would DEFINITELY NOT get the vaccine, whenever they decide to present one to us. Also, there are cures to Covid, as POTUS has already repeatedly brought to public attention. The ones who would benefit from vaccines are Big Pharma and the likes of the Gates Foundation and front folks like Fauci. They do not care about human life. If they did, they would not buy POC (parts of children courtesy of abortion) for their projects. Nor would they bio-engineer deadly viruses. The WH is initiating a petition to investigate the Gates Foundation for Crimes Against Humanity. I have signed it and shared. Have you listened to Dr. Shiva, a PhD with an enormously extensive background re the immune system, discuss this issue? His material is currently widely available on the internet and elsewhere. Our immune system can and will fight this thing. Unfortunately many people do not take care of their bodies and, as we age, our defenses do not improve in general. This is due to a variety of factors. Please see Dr. Suzanne Humphries excellent work on the subject as well. Mr. Stringer, quarantining healthy people will NOT eliminate the virus. It will still be “out there”. This virus is being used by bad actors to destroy POTUS and our nation. Please do not believe the “peak” projections as the models utilized are flawed and have already proven to be extremely inaccurate in their far overstated projections. As South Carolinians, I believe we will cooperate until the end of April, but no longer. Thank you, and please do look into Dr. Shiva’s excellent work on this subject. If anything, I hope and pray that people learn that they need to save money prudently and get as healthy as possible. The good LORD created us and He knew what He was doing when He gave us a functioning immune system. There will always be those who, for one reason or another, are compromised, This is a sad reality. We must do what we can to isolate the vulnerable and allow others to function in a normal, healthy manner. There are other consequences to shutdowns, and other forms of suffering and death, that are not at the forefront of people’s consciences. With all do respect sir, I appreciate you listening. One last point: if vaccines worked we would no longer have such a vast number of deaths due to flu annually.

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