Shepstone Management Company, Inc.
Are there Corona lessons to be learned as the nation deals with the this latest public health threat? It seems so and many are energy related at some level.
It’s truly amazing how many Corona lessons we have been given by the Covid virus outbreak that began in China and has swept throughout the world. They’re piling up, in fact, and as a planner, I must admit there are also many my profession needs to learn and learn quickly. So much of what we have believed and taught has proven to be spectacularly wrong.
Readers may disagree or add their own observations, but here are the Corona lessons I have learned:
- The asininity of plastic bag bans adopted by the likes of Governor Andrew “Corruptocrat” Cuomo, the green rock star wannabe, is now apparent to all. Who wants to have their Covid infected neighbor bringing the shopping bag he’s used for the last seven visits to the grocery store back in again to contaminate the shopping cart they’re about to use. Think I’m exaggerating? Think again. Enough of this despicable unserious green virtue signaling! Either we believe in public health or we don’t. If the former, then these profoundly silly measures need to end.
- The new urban way of pushing people tightly together in multi-family housing designed to preserve views for those who suppose concentrating the commoners out-of-sight is the best strategy for avoiding them, has taken a decided left turn into the chaos of cities, which can be quite unhealthy as it turns out. A little less emphasis, by the gentry class, on strategic parkification and high-density seclusion for ordinary folks would seem to be warranted.
- Driving in your own vehicle has a few rewards for society and your own peace of mind, especially when the alternative is carpooling or riding mass transit with the idiot coughing up phlegm in the handkerchief he’s flinging around in the air about you, followed by his apology that he had to get to work together with his too late admonition not to get too close.
- Thomas Jefferson’s agrarian view that cities were “pestilential to the morals, the health and the liberties of man,” wasn’t all wrong. Cities have their strengths, to be sure, including the ability to divide labor and grow societal wealth, but rural areas have their virtues as well. Rural areas are more geared toward a healthy lifestyle and they consist of snall communities where the blue and white collar folks regularly mingle and employ the skills of living together, which doesn’t really happen in cities where there is not much of middle class at all left to moderate things.
- One doesn’t have to be in the city anymore to work or attract attention. Telecommuting is real today via Skype, Zoom, Facetime and a hundred other services so easy to use that one can connect with a single click. And, the Madison Avenue address is increasingly irrelevant. It’s far more trendy today to say you can be reached at some inaccessible mountaintop in New Hampshire than an overpriced office in Manhattan where you have to bribe the doorman, the elevator operator and the janitor plus get a key to use the restroom, not to mention the two hours of your life lost every day traveling next to the guy with the handkerchief and the cough.
- It turn out the biggest Corona lesson of all may be that higher temperatures (as little as one degree Celsius higher) are a death sentence for the virus. Therefore, I must apologize to all our readers for repeatedly explaining that natural gas use lowers CO2 and helps fight global warming. I honestly had no idea warming was a blessing and not a curse. I swear it. I swear it on a stack of bibles.
- Community and family matter, as does the concept of subsidiarity (addressing problems at the lowest level where it can be done effectively). Globalization, where dependency on China for our pharmaceutical manufacturing looks really stupid right about now. It’s just as stupid for Boston or New York City to depend on Russian gas or Canadian or Caribbean gas for that matter. Solving the shortage with Pennsylvania gas (or New York gas if it were permitted) makes a heck of lot more sense.
- Borders matter all of a sudden. Who wants a bunch of Corona exposed folks coming in willy-nilly illegally and being treated merely as “undocumented” for the moment? Raise your hands. And, can we then agree that our own blue collar workers matter? You know; the ones the oil and gas industry are paying so well. It’s weird how industries that pay well don’t need illegal immigration isn’t it? And, doesn’t it make more sense to ship some more of our gas to Mexico so they can develop their own blue collar manufacturing jobs there? I think so!
- Energy and food security matter. Anyone visiting a grocery store this week learned that. And, who produces both? The rural areas of our country, of course. As I noted in an add-on to Chris Denton’s wonderful piece on Upstate New York, there is a “cocky ‘you need us’ New York City attitude that supposes the world depends on the condescending folks who live there, when the exact opposite is true. New York City cannot exist without the rural areas that supply its food and make its energy. It is wholly dependent on imports, in fact, and Upstate New York could survive quite nicely without it. It wouldn’t be poorer, but richer, because it could sell its products without having to bear the unbearable burden of New York’s wasteful spending and high taxes.” Yes, I said it and it’s true.
- Finally, this is the Corona lesson I hope we’ll all take seriously; rational discussion is essential to resolving truly serious issues and, fortunately, it ordinarily happens. That it doesn’t and that demagoguery and political posturing dominate the discussion of global warming as an issue tells us most folks don’t believe it’s all that serious (by that I mean that we’re going to burnt to a crisp in less than 12 years). The wild claims are not so, the folks making them know damn well they aren’t so and their scaremongering couldn’t be more counter-productive. When they do get serious and include natural gas as what should be one of the tools in their arsenal and stop trying to sell us all on green eggs and scam, then good things can happen, but for now, the Corona lesson is that crying wolf is a dangerous distraction when there are real crises to solve.
There are, undoubtedly more Corona lessons but I’ll leave it to readers to offer them.