Victor Davis Hanson // National Review
Whatever we eventually call it, there is a coronavirus “project.”
It’s a race to identify the origins, nature, and danger of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the best way to treat, vaccinate against, and mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 disease — all without destroying America to save it.
However the Corona Project is defined, it remains different from all previous existential American efforts. We are not building any new weapon or infrastructure or deliberately adopting a radical new policy. Much less are Americans fighting a visible enemy, poverty, or just bad habits.
Instead, we are giving ourselves massive social and economic chemotherapy to weaken or retard the virus within us before our massive therapeutic shutdown kills the U.S. economy — a sort of neutron bomb that destroys human interaction without incinerating visible infrastructure. In other words, we the patient apparently must be sickened to the point of near death in order to survive the disease.
It is certainly difficult to compare similar American mass efforts in the past. Their costs are murky — and not just because of inadequate record keeping, the adjustment of prior dollars to current time and inflation, or the need to consider the relationship between lives and money. In addition, the tab for past “wars on” something or other (e.g., alcohol, illiteracy, smoking, poverty, drugs, etc.) usually rippled out for years, both positively and negatively.