Science conquered Covid but poor political decisions cost lives. Great read by the author of Sapiens

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Sapiens is not historically accurate and the author takes monumental speculative leaps in connecting dots and presenting them as if they are scientific fact. It’s universally panned by Anthropologists and evolutionary biologists. Not saying there can’t be good points elucidated in the article, just that it’s not a great argument to authority.


>> unfortunately, too many politicians have failed to live up to this responsibility. For example, the populist presidents of the US and Brazil played down the danger, refused to heed experts and peddled conspiracy theories instead. They didn’t come up with a sound federal plan of action and sabotaged attempts by state and municipal authorities to halt the epidemic. The negligence and irresponsibility of the Trump and Bolsonaro administrations have resulted in hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths. In the UK, the government seems initially to have been more preoccupied with Brexit than with Covid-19. For all its isolationist policies, the Johnson administration failed to isolate Britain from the one thing that really mattered: the virus. My home country of Israel has also suffered from political mismanagement. As is the case with Taiwan, New Zealand and Cyprus, Israel is in effect an “island country”, with closed borders and only one main entry gate — Ben Gurion Airport. However, at the height of the pandemic the Netanyahu government has allowed travellers to pass through the airport without quarantine or even proper screening and has neglected to enforce its own lockdown policyies. Politicians and Politics drive us apart and offers short term solutions at best. Pointless posturing and worsening outcomes for the population is the norm. While uneducated politicians just try to win the culture war as their standard . Science again and again saves us, so much so that because of it we can not even imagine the suffering of only a few generations ago, all the while offering global co operation. Its like if the adults let the playground squabbling children run the world.


Covid isn’t over. The practical fact is it will take years to properly comb through the data and come to intelligent conclusion about the decisions made in the pandemic. One does not judge the taste of a cake still baking in the oven.


Science hasn’t conquered COVID yet. We’ve still got the variants and we still have to keep the supply chain going. Don’t declare premature victory.


I found *Sapiens* to be a shallow dilletante’s turn at pessimism but Harari makes some good points in the article. In a strictly technical sense, covid is manageable. In a political sense it has been completely unmanageable because it exposes the limits of neoliberal politics: >For example, when deciding whether to impose a lockdown, it is not sufficient to ask: “How many people will fall sick with Covid-19 if we don’t impose the lockdown?”. We should also ask: “How many people will experience depression if we do impose a lockdown? How many people will suffer from bad nutrition? How many will miss school or lose their job? How many will be battered or murdered by their spouses?” Arguably sitting alone and depressed in your home is better than choking to death on your own phlegm in an ICU, but these questions cannot – Harari acknowledges – be resolved in strictly scientific terms. These are questions not only about quality of life but how a society values human life – and which lives. The half million dead in the United States is indicative of a society that does not value any life except the richest and that has turned a manageable pandemic into a once-in-a-generation crisis: >If a new virus jumps from a bat to a human in a poor village in some remote jungle, within a few days that virus can take a walk down Wall Street. A virus has no politics, it seeks out hosts without any regard for the political questions Harari raises, and that is exactly why existing norms of who matters and who doesn’t are, well, bullshit. 2020 really was a massive failure of the status quo to respond effectively to a problem that couldn’t be spun into more culture war grist – and where it was attempted, like the United States, the results are horrific.