I believe that some people will begin to say that Chinese base level travel restrictions and rapid travel lockdowns saved that land from the worst of the disease, and the prediction of that talk saddens me. I love that we in the U.S. can hop in an RV and ramble on wherever we please, when we please, money and prior commitments permitting. Unfortunately, this freedom does lead to a predictable vulnerability to massive parallel infection of certain diseases. You see, because we know our freedom, we use it. People move around, sick or no, and can spread airborne respiratory viruses.
It is not really the same in China. They had many movement restrictions, fines and fees and rules, even before the virus. People in China are used to being restricted to certain places, they don’t think of freedom of movement as a basic right. So, they don’t fight quarantines, and don’t flee infected areas as much, and the government has pre-built checkpoint areas to easily convert to road blocks.
But freedom of movement is an important tradition in the U.S., and serves a valuable economic purpose. It allows concentrations of specialization and talent. It is key to the strengths and abilities of our companies. It’s Apple, it’s Microsoft, it’s Tesla, it’s Hollywood, it’s Broadway. It’s the best of the U.S., because we can move freely.
So let us not consider general travel restrictions for the future of the U.S. Let’s not covet China’s advantage against Covid-19. Because our vulnerability, in this case, is also our strength, tradition, and a key part of the national identity of the U.S. With the exception of native americans, The U.S. is made of people that came to be a part of something, and people that are descended from people who came to be a part of something. But maybe… if you go back far enough… even the native americans are the people that came. Came across now sunken land bridges, came on clever ocean craft. Yes, I like to think that there is some basic common ground between us all in that way.