Once upon a time I had a roommate who had a very high IQ (physics major at Yale) and equally low EQ. He had invited me to share a meal with him and once it was prepared, he set out a single plate and then sat down to eat. ‘What’s going on?’ I asked. ‘Oh,’ he said. ‘It turns out there was only enough for one.’
I will never forget it.
Today’s NYT had a powerful opinion piece on disabilities and coronavirus—the whole sacrificed for the greater good concept that I have been railing against.
The meal analogy is useful here. If you organized a dinner party only to discover that there was enough food for five and you had invited eight, would you tell three of the guests that they must go hungry? And would you base that decision not on whom was most in need of a meal, but rather on who was not. Malnourished, adios, well fed, you stay.
It’s an impossible scenario with so many more humane and logical outcomes. You could make smaller portions, so everyone got less but some. Or you could simply make more food, so no one went without.
That is what needs to happen here, in America. Rather than having conversations about difficult choices should we (rather, when we) run out of ICU beds and ventilators, let’s ramp up production.
To do otherwise is going to create a situation that is impossible to recover from. Obviously for those who are consigned to certain death, but also for those making hard choices.
Choices that are difficult to live with.