In a time of pandemic, the COMMENTARY podcast is here for you. During the acute crisis, the podcast will be producing episodes every weekday. Today, the hosts discuss the efforts of those who want to utilize this moment of national concern to advance their parochial policy objectives.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Welcome to the commentary magazine podcast. We are going to try something new for the balance of the crisis. If people enjoy it- and it seems like we have enough to say we're going to go daily with the podcast we're going to try to do it in the mornings and release it around noon, I'll be sure better than the usual podcast has been, but we figure that we don't have anything else,
who- and you may not have anything else to do, and maybe this is a way of keeping community and keeping ourselves same as things are apparently just gonna get worse before they get better in the corona virus, troubles that we all find ourselves it. So I am, of course, John POT hordes, the editor of commentary. Today is Tuesday March, seventeenth, otherwise known as thing regarding this day, but there are no parades which, for some of us, as a guarantee York is it is. It is a strange, unanticipated blessing of the of the fact that the city is now ghost town with me. As always, a green wall
our senior editor high Abe hygiene in his home in New Jersey nor Rossman. I know a hydra added her home in Washington, DC senior writer, Christine rose and high Christine Had- and I just want to read you guys- a quote from Bernie Sanders on that bay on Sunday night, because I think it's interesting way in to a certain kind of perspective on that I am that we are in Bernie, asked at the top of the debate about what to do about the virus went into a disquisition about me. The care for all and universal health care in what he said was, and I will now you know, try to do Maya. My my Bernie voice, big about a family white wife, has the virus. Husband is,
wreck and needs therapy, and then maybe the kid breaks a leg. Okay, so once again sounding exactly like Harry David. So though he creates this scenario where somebody get sick, a spouse has a nervous breakdown and the kid breaks his leg and therefore the entire country needs. We'll healthcare. So this is the appointed knows making yesterday about how or maybe Abe about how revolutions for orb? crises for Progress those are always possibilities for a revolution. Now that the World WAR one turned out to be the greatest thing ever
if you were a communist, because the disastrous condition of Russia led to the creation of the Soviet Union that the coups that led to the Soviet Union and an and so on, and if you were a bavarian communist ferris things at a little dark, haired, okay. So so the question is: is this idea going to patent game in prevalence, or is it just go? seem I've annoying effort to get to serve, exploit an opportunity. That is a tragedy that is apparently leading to a kind of dislocation that we ve never experienced before. I reject your false choice: the rubber conjunction is an ok oath.
Annoying and gain and popularity armed. I thinking I'm thinking about writing about the city, because you're, seeing not just the usual suspects, but also journalists who are now calling for the national liberation, the emergency nationalization of industry, and the only model, that of young mild, my old colleague John Cassidy, who was the business editor of the enemy or post in the ninety ninety than is now the economics corpse for the new Yorker literally called for the nationalization of the airlines and the only a model that I think they can point to in this environment. Right now is Spain, which has effectively nationalized under emergency conditions, it's private healthcare networks, how private hospitals and medical providers- and so there's a weird incongruous thought pattern here between saying
This is terrible. We could be like Spain, ITALY. We have to do everything we can to not be Spain and ITALY, and also we should do exactly what Spain is doing, oh yeah, I didn't seem very efficient. I'm gonna do a little bit more researcher to make an actual argument, but damn it seems like a very inefficient way to do with it. This is another reaction that you're seeing is. This is big story out another. We haven't domestic providers who can create ventilators at a very rapid, clear and we need a lot of them, but the federal government has not played any orders, and so the same people who are saying that we need a more efficient federal government in in this episode are also really frustrated by the federal government's inefficiency. As though this was not a feature about, I think the chorus calling for these giant statists.
Games that will not abate. I think the question of whether or not it goes anywhere depends depends frighteningly enough on how well we fair going forward right. Well, we can point to you know they can continue to point is to serve. You know you need weaknesses of the american system or our own, or at least make the case that, with cell adding panic buying, is a good example of of the response to this. Just just as with the nationalization of the airlines were seeing, albeit a left, leaning, progressive, twitter, tweeting pictures of empty elves as everyone panic by his toilet paper with the claim look. This looks just like this. Union ha late capitalism, the model doesn't work, but, of course, what they aren't showing is it within a week, almost all those shelves get restocked and that
been consistently a story that has not been told. As often I mean. Actually the chain of the supply chain is working still, I'm sure it will be somewhat compromised as people going to have to call in sick or what not a precaution. But you know Amazon, just hired. Paul is advertising for many many more workers in a hundred the dominant hung at his house and people write another point that they're making their Christine is that socialism is like a permanent pandemic heck. I dont think they see that that yes, except you mentioned amazon- and the interesting thing here is that the economy could effectively be taken over by Amazon. I mean I'm not giving the consumer economy was. Instead, always the plan from Jeff Base, But I'm just saying that that you know the consumer economy is now going to be a delivery home delivery economy, for I mean
as you know, last night Friday, fifteen dollars that fifteen dollars an hour work from home positions from Amazon to the tune of about a hundred thousand people. Presumably processing orders right, but just just think about what that means that what what what would you have I mean I was thinking about this Christine or are we all say they are resident Luddite should out many interesting thing is that imagine imagine this moment the internet, and we may, by the way, find that one of the things that is most frighteningly disrupted with everybody at home is the internet emanates its concern. For example, that all this about learning that everybody, every various kid is doing based in a few system you now may not be able to hold it up. Web bear the load of an entire national. School educational system. They become, down on it, but assume that the internet doesn't go down.
Imagine living through this without the internet now yet, no even as a lot, and I would not want to live through this moment without the internet and end the weird silver lining. If you are a kind of a luddite leaning person, as I am, is it it might when all of this is over, give people a greater appreciation for the face to face connections that we actually been pretty glib about exchanging for fur virtual present. So we by being forced to only have virtual presence with a lot of our loved ones. We, in fact, I hope, will emerge from this with a greater precision of being able to see people face to face How can I say that I'm just totally resentful of the people who are like well again? No, when Shakespeare was quarantine, he wrote King Lear
we had, our expectations on me are far too high and clearly gettin by one of the great works of literature. Well, here I mean it do you know this this? This fact that we are now looking at we ve been told now for ten fifteen twenty years by a very peculiar kind of liberal elite. That people work too hard. They work too hard on this. Try. You know they have no lives on their way there. Big businesses make them work too hard and couples are, working and no one is it. You know no one enjoying themselves its or Thorstein Dublin on on steroids and day. A mark of its book about the meritocracy is all about how your soul, the bill of goods, because even if your successfully
life is miserable and all of that. Well, okay, so now we are being forced. Yet, once again, after twelve years, I was at that SIRI by the way was foul and obnoxious in certain ways, given the fact that so many people, when wanting after the financial crisis in two thousand and eight slash, two thousand and nine and you know had to spend years, is getting back to par because they, wouldn't work as there were no jobs for them, but that were now in this kind of forced lassitude. Even if we try to work, you know tradable get jobs and try to work from home and all that and you know. Maybe the thing is that that kind of american productivity that kind of desperate effort to get ahead. Now, that is a morally sustaining for people and and creates a kind of emotional energy commitment to the future, and all of that that you know
I think a lot of us are already feeling profoundly unnerved by the fact that we don't have things to do. You know that were at work It's like we should have a period when we clean you. No one to the children should clean and never read from three to four, and will you know sort of like a like a schedule like a school schedule, but you don't need that when real life, when you are conducting realize, If, in the forced effort to impose order, when there is no data data sesame to get up to you know unless you have to walk the dog or something you know it's enough with this era to Craddock. Oh you, people worldwide, In the remark from arc areas where we all have ten year, you're working too hard, don't work so hard and trade get ahead. I mean that's all, it's all a scam
You have just remind you that the conversation that we ve had before, which is that so today to be- war in America is it is. It is a great tragedy, but the great tragedy of poverty in America is not the material wants, because you can get all sorts of devices and it is more than sufficient calories, while you, if you're still under the poverty line, but the the great tragedy of it is the shapelessness of your life and the lack of engagement and these sort of chaos in your life and with this, the taste of that I think. Well, that's not an attempt to bring it back full circle to Bernie Sanders. I think what we are seeing here, that there is obviously among the people still watching and talking about the twenty twenty elections upcoming. This question of whether burning will drop out Obviously he will not, and the reason is that he is not
s leading a run for the nomination, the Democratic Party Healy is leading a movement using a revolution and he doesn't really care what damage he does to the democratic primary process in he's pursuing some big our goal and I think a lot of the people that find his message so appealing perfectly younger people are experiencing air have been in the last. Do no five to ten years exactly what aim is describing this sort of purposeless? This movement like Ernie is appealing in large part, because it gives them an explanation for the aimlessness of their own existence at the same time that they are be they don't have to bear as much responsibility, since it's always in all force imposing on them and even Bernie losses in primary in that ensue. Producer primaries are being explained in this He himself is like the system is rigged. It sooner. You know they're all out to get me. So there's something deeply appealing about that, and I and I fear that that enthusiasm for
message is not going away, and even the world you no kind of unlocked on mode four couple months: oil you act via the get, what it always use. You spotted something last night that we we should we should mention go into, which is that the legal society of New York, put out a press release yesterday, suggesting that what should happen now, given the crisis is that there should be a moratorium on arrests in New York City, a moratorium on arrests. Let me read this We are in the midst of a pandemic and our last priority should be to cycle new Yorkers through our broken criminal justice system separated from their families, communities and quality services said Tina Luongo attorney in charge of the criminal defence practice at the legal aid City City Hall must place
because of a pearl violation. We call for their immediate release. These facilities are literal breeding grounds for infectious disease. The continued incarceration reclined serious health crisis could very well carry a death sentence. Now I will grant you that there is now a health crisis. A prison where you know a jail facility is a is admit will grant you that there is a health crisis. A prison where you know a jail facility is a is a nightmarish place, not that it is an email at at all times. But if this is where that granted legal aid, sigh people are
You know fanatics, but if we are literally saying don't arrest anybody when there is talk in New York of a lock down, so that everybody is was to stay inside the way you know they locked down. France, for example, and therefore the only people out will be criminals and buildings apartment buildings. That will not have work, for it will not have work forces. Like I admit I all I will have to like do garbage and be adore man and do all that stuff to keep security and keep by building from falling apart, my apartment, building, an AIDS apartment building and all that
and so then they're not supposed to arrest people who will clearly try to take advantage of the of the fact that the streets are empty and yet the sawdust disorder gives away the game one of the focuses of people who were on the left of the last several days. I was on MSNBC with representative, I honour Presley, and that was her. Big thing was how this disease is impacting people who are incarcerated and the fact that these are very tight quarters and the conditions are sub optimal and they could very well become breeding grounds for for the disease and that's a valid consideration. She was also talking about mass commutation in order to ease this population, and you know create lessen the the prospect fur wildfire pandemic inside America's penitentiaries it's interesting proposition and when the probably deserves a little bit of consideration
I'm not so sure about mass commutation. That seems like a step too far eyes very, very much IRAN, which has released eighty thousand of its prisoners, including political prisoners, in order to ease these conditions there, and I don't think, that's workin out too well, but to say that we don't we shouldn't arrest anybody any more. We shouldn't even process people for crimes and gives away the game, which is that it's it's less about easing conditions during this disease and easing conditions in America's prisons generally, which has been sort of a sort of Oda goal of the young, Mass decriminalization Mass incarceration movement and mass incarceration movement on the left. For some time and like you said, and in the beginning of this August, every crisis as an opportunity right will declaration is not so the votes at all it is it is. It is apt, Forefront of the progressive agenda? Will no longer United States nonviolent criminality, we're just talking ripe period while that that's that's where these things
stiffer, and you know one of the things that people are terrified of. You know what it, what people do they buy toilet paper places and they buy guns and others I mean that is this notion that somehow time of unprecedented social disruption is a time in which you knew you keep the cops from enforcing the law is almost insane it is. It is guaranteed, even if it sort of disgusted is guaranteed. To terrify everybody who believes that civil is no. I mean we are days away from a grant. We live in a big cities, not know it doesn't live in a big city, but he works in the big city. We we are days away from going through things that we have We're gone through, not nine. Eleven, not never not not. Adamite might yet say that my sister is
It lives, in contrast, the county in just outside of San Francisco, one of those counties, the California declared. Last night should be on their called shelter in place. So what you do when there is a sort of major whether event or some other new, obviously civil disturbance and its it. That is something that that people who live in. That area have never experienced, and she actually said you know. Maybe I should go on. I said our people buying gun. She said. Yes, definitely, people are buying guns. Is it a very liberal part of the country? Obviously, but this this sort of that, how rapidly we're going from oh- let's all just sooner, take responsibility for our selves too asking our civil and and law enforcement authorities to enforce these, that that was her second question: how are they going to enforce a shelter in place order that cover so many millions of people? So it is it different, and I agree that sort of even even floating the idea that we should start releasing people from prisoners is
just about the worst thing you can do in a moment like this, especially especially because, as we ve seen, I mean I don't think this will happen with that proposed, but, as we have seen so many proposals get get floated in the past week or so that turn into some sort of reality. By the next day we set out by the end of the week will do that. Then it turns out it's it's. You know it's the next morning headline so things happened. It's all really. There should be a much greater effort to keep our heads now, but it's no joke. We live in New York City like built built a blog you would be so will be sympathetic to this idea. I mean that that isn't to say that it will happen because three or four things have happened in the last
months. That he's been involved with that were he to face the voters again, would mean that he would in no way the the humiliation that he would face at the polls now would be beyond belief, but putting by the way that he said that he was totally cavalier and dismissive of the of the problems that the city was pulling into an according to the New York Times today, senior staff had to threaten to quit and openly humiliate him and embarrass him for him to change his tune. Now that he has declared a state of emergency in closing schools and all that now, I'm sure he has a taste of the you know a little taste of the hotel. Terry him in his mouth that he always wanted, although he was too lazy ever to really try to try to, they were then he artists and other Jim every day. He goes to the. Why works out even ass?
the way that some other reason that would be the end of his political future. But I'm just saying, like you know, don't think they build the blog. There won't be like a nice conversation that city hall about, should we have supported him around you know, I mean really yeah. You know this is a very unjust society him you know I would the cops. Don't also need to be touching people, you know, that's that's not healthy, and all that so, and this is how you get trump again. By the way mean honestly, you know that if this is no favour the Democratic Party, to have you know to have leftist interest groups flow, bing deranged proposals. You now that that can, used against them in the fall
You know in there in the in the campaign dusted as source if we switch topic so tonight, as we know, there is their primaries tonight that in theory could put Bernie Sanders away. It all seems her beside the point now. You know what margin Biden gets in Florida right and the mob margin might be smaller than would otherwise have been. Otherwise it would have been forty or fifty points. Probably, since many people will not go out to the polls and those people would be disproportionately voters for Biden, although of course the Bernie voter doesn't.
Now to the polls and is too busy splashing round a clear water beach in massive numbers when we're supposed to be socially distancing, greater pictures lazy, but you know the the notion that that there is a democratic primary going on is pretty astonishing. When you think about it, I mean that's. Wiser has to be over even of burning stays. On a dozen stay, I mean the ability to conduct a bus or an interim report is them fight at this moment seems curse well, but imagine but conspiracy, theory, raising and conspiracy theories. That will happen on the Bernie Bro left. If, if this process is disrupted This is an exact this. This was what harmed Hilary when she went up against Trump visit. The Bernie folks didn't vote for her. They did the contempt for the process that they were experiencing. We know is a little bit less now, because we were seeing different levels of turnover.
Ernie Disco round, but that still something that by should think about, I mean letting this process run its run run. All the way through is in some sense of protective mechanism for the Democratic Party. At this point, given the way that that We can assume the burning supporters will react if the process is disrupted and I feel the politics of tonight is almost a little as a strong said, a little less so weighty, then the gravity of what's happening in Ohio so term. To recap, as much as I can make wine republican governor of Ohio has been very aggressive, very proactive in this pandemic and he ordered the primary to be delayed
until June I believe- and a court said you can't do that you it will disenfranchised voters. That's in voting is already under way. The poles will open and dumb an essential is it was. It was an advisory opinion with guidance. It wasn't it was. They stated the courts can order the state open these poles, but it was nevertheless a court order and they governors offices reject, in saying that we are going against this court order were not seeking an appeal were not waiting on an emergency judgment. We are old and closing these poles. There will be no election today. I don't know who is right in this situation, but its very disconcerting to see that kind attention between these inches? It's weird also because a primary Ebby, the whole thing is weird, is, of course a primary is not a is not allowed right, it's not in these two yeah and if it were in the constitution that introduced
Harry would literally have no a role in this because it is given to localities to set the place manner and time of elections in the constitution. That's that's! That's! That's the language! So what what the wine is doing from public safety perspective is, I guess, mildly unprecedented, but I don't see why there why there should be any difference in saying you can't have gatherings of more, an x number of people and then saying, except for an election riotous makes up for an election that only picks delegates for a convention. That is also not a mandated exist. There did you know that there is nothing in the constitution that says parties shall have convention
You don't have to pick a candidate with a convention. This is all these are all you know serve organic developments over time, but they have no, they have a legal, they have no appropriate legal standing. I do think there is a kind of weird constitutional issue. In this question of the preventing of assembly. You know, since the first amendment defends the right to assembly, but you know constitutional authorities? I now say that you know under under under emergency circumstances in cases both a veto now extreme national security problems and health emergencies. There is common law dating back to you, know the Magna Carta it says that the authorities are allowed to trample on trample on individual rights like that. That's the typhoid Mary
example randomly with we ve tested this in our system several times, and I think that makes sense that we that the responses that, if someone is actually at an active viral vector as typhoid Mary, wasn't, refuses to self quarantine. The state and can quarantine people for that. It just so happens now that I think that part of the reason people are so disconcert by the orders now is that we don't have confidence that we even know the scope of the problem because of the limits to testing right Now- and I have lots of friends who are frustrated friends who have weren't, you have kids in actual quarantine, have tested positive friends with kids who have symptoms. Are relatives who have sent into cannot get access to test because the Dutch there's keep saying no just stated and in fact, psychologically speaking, We are happy to quarantine at home, but then they would do so much more enthusiastically and carefully if they knew for a fact that they were positive.
It's the not knowing that. I think there is a lot of the anxiety here and and drives a lot of the public anxiety about whether or not were the response is, is to extreme or not extra we're on our seeing reports from dumping, even the White House and retaining the idea that you know these restrictions on gatherings of people are ten people are more will continue indefinitely and for at least seventeen months. That's not going to happen now that is unless they Annabelle, and if that is your plan, it's not a plan. You don't have a plan, a mud so caught using a month so confident that it won't happen. I mean that it may not happen,
They haven't. We will not have it will. I think, how are they in Florence, but it may happen organically. In other words, you could see it just a giant social change wash over the country right where social stigma and all sorts of things say you know, don't have parties of more than twelve people, or something like that I went, I would mean, is don't get on the bus, never not hunt, but that yet not only have I not but will look again, we are we're in on short, we're in uncharted waters here when, when Donald Trump yesterday, apparently having had the excuse me for saying this shit they are out of him by some briefing. Finally, yesterday morning,
the mountain said well you now, we think this is gonna go on like this till July. You sure why its march, having limit, let me just go through what what what that means? Aside from the economic dislocation writes, that means no Easter no pass over. That means no college graduations, no high school graduations, it means no Labour camp summer camp. It needs no basketball, it means nothing, I'm tongue, but just a general mean of warfare daily life. They can't just dismiss the economic impact that it means vouchers. Hunting there is no economic activity in this country, that's just not it's not feasible. If you can't even imagine it, I'm not I'm not dismissing it. Listen. Goldman Sachs said that the second quarter was going to shrink
by five percent and right now, I can tell you looking out my window, that that is absurdly optimistic. I mean I am in the I'm in the economic we live in the economic engine of the planet and the city is dead and people are you know everybody is gonna, be working, major deals that generate you know with the proceeds make Wall Street go or of are going to work. While people are, you know at home, in inner with with going crazy, no they're, not as I do from the fact that seventy percent of the economy is is supplies in I was, is, is services and and consumer spending so you know we don't even know where we're going with this. This is worse than this is worse than the economic than the than the meltdown, because the meltdown had a nine month. Tan
lemon fell dead, you know at the market crashed, the Obama was elected, it got worse and worse and worse, but over time this is like instantaneous. All of economic activity is going to shut down in America in from March twenty March. Fifteenth till I don't know when, like you know, that's never happen, you know, maybe the civil war or something, but even in war time you does manufacturing out just say it not. Unlike what you would imagine, the aftermath of nuclear change would be because people are scared to go outside. People are getting sick, all Alek, all economic activity has shut down and there's this sort of way during mystery about about when it safe to go back out, and here we are trying to bring everyone together, take your line of all voluntary yes, so I
the art egg, is our heads are likely you don't electro magnetic pulse fear if the internet goes down, but I hadn't gone as far as nuclear war, of a God retaining their ok, so so just to talk about what we're gonna do on this pod cas going forward, so we're gonna experiment this week with guests, we have both we're gonna. Have some interesting people joining us. Each shall Wednesday, Thursday and Friday next week. I think we're gonna try movie club. But we're going to try to do is pick a couple movies that may be served a medically relevant mention them on Friday. People can watch him over the weekend and the last you know five or ten minutes of the show will will will will discuss them. This is an improvisation will see how it goes, will see of people like an error annoyed by it actually wanted to talk about stuff in the issue, but we,
April issue which is now finally as ice promise yesterday up on the website and- and there is a lot of aunt- has to stuff in it and we will be back some moral morning so for work tomorrow, whenever you will actually here this or whether will be up on Itunes says, sure Google play and on our website, maybe around midday anyway for no Rossman a grid and Christine I'm John, but words keep the camel burning
Transcript generated on 2020-08-04.