Life is inherently dangerous and full of risks to your health, to your wealth and to your soul.
There is no world without risks. Even if you stay at home there is still a non-zero chance that a plane hits your house that an earthquake or a meteor kills you. However, even if nothing happens to you at your home there is still the risks of missed opportunities. Here’s an extreme example. You are a farmer who decides to stay at home to avoid the risks that are out there. However, in doing so you risk missing the harvest and letting the crop rotting in the field. You risk starving to death.
We have to learn how to assess, how to manage risks and how to balance risks. We have to learn when to accept risk, when to avoid it and when to mitigate it.
Under normal circumstances and if not carelessness, our emotions or lack of knowledge dictate our behaviour, this process works reasonably well but in times of propaganda-induced mass panic and hysteria it is completely bypassed and people behave like a stampeding herd of cattle.
Here’s a simple way, how to assess risk.
risk = probability x severity
Probability is a value between 0 and 1. Severity is a number between 0 and 100.
If an event is very unlikely to happen and if that event has no severe consequences then the risk is almost zero.
An event that is very likely to happen but has no severe consequences translates to a risk that is still very low.
An event that is very likely to happen and that has severe consequences is a very high risk.
An event that is very unlikely to happen and that has catastrophic consequences may still be intolerably high.
Of course, every individual has a different definition of severity. What is severe to one person is not so much severe to another person. That and the fact that every individual has a different tolerance of risk dictates that the decision how much risk a person should take is best left to the individual.
The same is true for measures of risk avoidance or mitigation. These measures can themselves cause considerable costs and even damage. While one person might turn his home into a bunker to protect against the extremely unlikely but catastrophic event of meteor impact another person will decide that’s not worth the money, the effort and the inconvenience.
It is remarkable that all these deliberations were thrown out the window when it comes to the corona virus. The mitigation/avoidance measures that were imposed on populations on a global scale have caused trillions of dollars worth of economic damage, have damaged the health of the populations, have caused stress, suffering, anxiety, desperation, anger and division.
And for what? For a virus with an infection fatality rate not much worse than that observed in a bad flu season.
If we were prepared to live with the risk of the seasonal flu without draconic avoidance/mitigation measures why is the same risk suddenky intolerable? What has changed? Nothing, except the willingness of our ruling elites to impose an insane, totalitarian regime for the purpose of the increase of their power.
What is even more insane is the fact that our elites still won’t let go of all coercive measures while the wuhan virus gets weaker and weaker with each mutation.
In a rational world one would look at the omicron variant of the wuhan virus and come to the conclusion that coercive measures are not needed because this variant is so mild that it no longer poses a significant risk.
Our elites in the Western world have revealed their ugly faces. While they pretend to care about democracy and individual freedom they have shown how little they value individual freedom and how much they love totalitarian power.
However, it’s not only the elites that have revealed their true nature. Sadly, the populations have also shown how little they value freedom and how willingly they have traded an illusionary security for a very real freedom.
Freedom, like life itself, is inherently risky. If you’re free, there’s the risk that you make decisions which are harmful to sourself. If others are free, there is a risk that they make decisions which harm you.
If you love freedom, then you have to accept a higher risk. People have to emancipate themselves from their learned helplessness and to embrace freedom because in the end the alternative is no less risky. If you trade your freedom for a security provided by the state authorities, you assume that they have your best interest in mind and, more importantly, that they KNOW what is good for you. Both assumptions have been shown time and time again to be false. That’s also the reason why communism/socialism doesn’t work.
“The basic headache is that we cannot let the mere threat of using nuclear weapons sway our foreign policy”
I have to respectfully disagree. During the cold war the mere threat of using nuclear weapons did sway foreign policy all the time. From Eisenhower to Kennedy to Reagan. The danger of mutually assured destruction shaped foreign policy. Sometimes the threat of nuclear war was open, like in the Cuban missile crisis. Sometimes it was only a hint, like in the Yom Kippur war but the spectre of nuclear war always loomed in the back of the minds of all the players on both sides.
Just because the threat of nuclear war is no longer as much present in the public awareness as it was during the cold war, doesn’t mean that it’s no longer there.
Objectively not much has changed. Both sides have huge arsenals and a second strike capability.
I would even argue that the likelyhood of Russia using nukes has increased because its conventional military shrunk dramatically after the cold war. That would cause Russia to escalate even earlier. This is also made possible because Russia has retained and expanded its arsenal of small tactical nukes.
Anyway, what I find absolutely insane is that the same people who want to impose draconian measures because of a virus with a survival rate of 99.85% are willing to accept the risk of global thermonuclear war for the sake of power, influence and money.
Let’s be clear. The people who want to keep the Ukraine war going have amply demonstrated that they care nothing about individual freedom, democracy or national sovereignity.
What is needed is proper risk assessment of a further escalation of the Ukraine war and an extensive public discussion whether such an escalation is in the interest of the citizens of NATO/US.