In April, National Review published an entire issue of essays on California exploring the dismal results of the state’s increasingly progressive political experiments. The punchline is that dysfunctional government has managed to make that otherwise attractive geographic region so unlivable that people with the means to leave for other states are doing so in droves.
Among wealthy democratic nations, Great Britain has taken the lead in boldly implementing progressive ideology in both government and culture. Theodore Dalrymple has been documenting the dismal results for years. His cautionary essays are essential reading for anyone who traffics in political ideas. Life at the Bottom is a collection of those essays.
The coronavirus pandemic has transformed America into a place I’ve wanted to live for a long time.
Urban living has lost some luster. Friends who used to be die hard city slickers and urban evangelists eventually got so sick of the government quarantine rules, the riots, and the prolonged inability to venture forth from their $4,000/month walk-in-closet “apartments” that they took extended leaves of absence to visit Free America. This was enabled by:
Telecommuting. I’ve been saying this for many years: Office workers rarely benefit from physical presence in an office. And now that companies were forced to test my assertion and see the benefits in increased productivity (and the prospect of reduced office costs) many are planning to encourage or even require “WFH” (work from home) permanently.
Business travel has seen a commensurate collapse. I am no longer alone in my disdain for the “one meeting business trip.”
There is a new respect for personal space. Casual handshaking is out.
Large in-person gatherings have been curtailed. Sporting events, theater, church. All of these barbaric and dangerous affairs have been replaced: Cramped pews gave way to in-person worship with close family and friends or larger teleconference gatherings. The unprecedented array of television entertainment has fully supplanted the olde tyme amusement of live theater. And professional sporting spectacles, thankfully, pretty much just went away.
In Free America restaurants that opened for seated service spaced their tables at comfortable distances. Food handlers wear face coverings. Serious attempts are made to sanitize high-touch surfaces, including menus.
You can wear a neck gaiter to cover your nose and mouth anytime, anywhere, and nobody assumes you’re a robber.
I’d like to thank every organization with which I have ever had contact for emailing me in recent days with your Updates and Important Messages about the COVID-19 pandemic. I am glad that you made time to reach out to me while you are busy “closely monitoring developments with respect to COVID-19.“
I am inspired by the businesses that have “implemented plans to ensure that we can continue to serve our customers.” To list just a few:
A hotel I stayed at last year.
The mail-order company I ordered a pipe fitting from 3 years ago.
The law firm that I consulted while creating an LLC five years ago, but haven’t contacted since.
The company that represents said LLC in Delaware, whose only job is to forward me a tax bill once a year.
The self-storage facility I haven’t visited in six months.
Stores. Restaurants. Clubs, forums, online newsletters. Really, every organization – regardless of whether I have ever had any contact with you or even know what you do.
I can’t tell you how reassuring it is to read, over and over, that:
Our focus is always on the safety and well-being of our customers, employees, and suppliers. We will continue to share guidance and information as it becomes pertinent.
For those that have modified their functions, let me say that I could care less whether some of your employees are working from home. I am invariably rapt reading about the sanitation protocols you have implemented. Surely I am sleeping more soundly knowing how the college I attended twenty years ago has modified its services to current students; or knowing how a medical practice I haven’t visited in three years is handling scheduling of current patients.