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    • Utah is one of 14 states that hit all time highs for new cases over a seven day period, according to the Washington Post. If you live in a state or country where the infection rate is decreasing or stabilized, is it ethical for you to vacation in one of those high risk areas and risk giving COVID-19 to family, friends and anyone you come in contact with when you return?

      If you live in a high infection state, is it ethical to leave the state if you haven’t self-quarantined for two weeks and then tested negative?

      The damage from COVID-19 infection can include permanent brain damage:

      “Sosa spent 44 days in the intensive care unit at White Plains Hospital, 19 of them on a ventilator. The virus invaded his lungs, injured his kidneys, inflamed his liver and left him with deep skin wounds on his face and buttocks. His wound nurse is not sure those are bedsores; it’s possible they are caused by covid-19′s attack on blood vessels. He also developed methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a common, severe hospital-acquired infection.”

      “When his lungs healed, his sedation ended and his ventilator tube was removed, doctors couldn’t wake him for days. A CT scan showed the disease had allowed large blood clots to travel to both sides of his brain, a “bilateral stroke” in medical terminology. Much of his working memory, which allowed him to organize coins, was badly damaged. His dominant right hand was more severely affected, but his left was weakened as well. He could not walk, stand or get out of bed on his own.”

      If you do decide to go camping, is “quaranteaming” an ethical way to vacation with family?  What if this is the last time you’ll ever be able to go on vacation with a dying loved one?


      Further reading for this discussion

    • I went camping last week, and I’m going camping again tomorrow. I find that camping is far safer than some other activities. Social distancing at a campground is pretty easy to do, and being outside getting all that Vitamin D doesn’t hurt either. 😊

      This is where I went last week:

    • Arizona is a great place to hike and camp outside of the summer months: the average temperature for July is 106°F (41°C). Last night the state activated emergency plans for its hospitals, which are dangerously close to capacity due to COVID-19 cases:

      “At its peak, Arizona's intensive care unit beds were 78% in use. As of Monday, 76% were occupied. Arizona's Director of Health Services Dr. Cara Christ asked that hospitals ‘be judicious’ in elective surgeries to ensure bed capacity.”

      Perhaps another statistic to check and consider before greenlighting vacation plans to a camping destination.

    • Stephen...

      I'm 65yo and pretty much adhered to pols orders/declarations for several months. But now, I think it is up to us, individually, to decide how to live our lives in free from burdensome proclamations. That doesn't mean we can recklessly risk infecting others. Yet, adhering to CDC protocols, one can reasonably live and enjoy the things one always has enjoyed.

      No doubt the protests (which are by all means are righteous) illustrate the hypocrisy of many pols still supporting virus restrictions while supporting protesters and their actions.

      I have moto camped 3 times in SC and western NC since the virus hit our shores.

      I've cheated death more than my fair share over the decades in many different roles and capacities around the world. If the virus gets me, I can pass knowing that I lived life to the fullest and didn't live a lockdown life as some pols would have wished during this pandemic.

      I'm saddened by all the deaths around the world; I'm further saddened how the virus has been politically weaponized by US pols in the form of continued "lockdowns", "stay-at-home orders" and no haircut opportunities in some states. That's not a United States of America I ever envisioned.

    • There’s a conversation that Shewmaker recently started about people who, due to their beliefs, refuse to take vaccines developed with stem cells. An intriguing question came to me from reading that conversation:

      Would they change their moral values if doing so would save their life or the life of someone they loved?

      If the virus that they refused to get vaccinated for had an 80% fatality rate and was highly contagious, would they still refuse to get vaccinated? What if most people were also refusing to get vaccinated, i.e. there’s no herd immunity.

      I actually have personal experience with this moral dilemma of either maintaining your beliefs or dying for them. My dad’s been dead for over ten years, otherwise I might not share this. He was an extremely devout Catholic. He was active in our Church and held positions of authority. He also devoted his time and money to Right to Life causes. Later in life, he came down with a degenerative disease that was slowly depriving him of movement and that eventually would kill him, shortening his existence by several years. 

      A few years after the diagnosis, we were watching television and a news program mentioned a medical trial that could potentially stop the disease from progressing further. The treatment had been developed using stem cells, i.e. cells from aborted fetuses. A day or two later, dad’s cousin stopped by and asked dad whether he would take the medication if it worked. In what caused utter shock to me, dad said that he would have to wait and see.

      Chris has talked on Cake about his conservative family in Utah who opposed Obama and Obama’s government run medical insurance program (ACA). However, when the alternative was not being able to afford medical treatment or suffering medical bankruptcy, they caved on their moral principles.

      Which brings me full circle to this discussion.

      You mentioned a point that I’ve heard before that “it is up to us, individually, to decide how to live our lives in free from burdensome proclamations.”

      What are the ethical repercussions if someone makes the wrong decision on what is burdensome but necessary?

      For example, if someone chooses to violate social distancing or mask use during camping, should they refuse treatment if their choice causes them to get infected?

      Ethically, should their decision be different if the hospitals are nearing maximum capacity?—if they receive treatment, the next person needing life saving treatment may not receive it.

      What is the moral responsibility in accepting risks that can impact the lives of others?

    • Chris has talked on Cake about his conservative family in Utah who opposed Obama and Obama’s government run medical insurance program (ACA). However, when the alternative was not being able to afford medical treatment or suffering medical bankruptcy, they caved on their moral principles.

      I’m curious why you (or Chris?) thinks this was a decision based on their *moral* convictions? It seems to me this was a decision based on their politics...

    • Have you read Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged? Or Paul Ryan’s excellent autobiography, The Way Forward: Renewing the America Idea?

      They all espouse the idea of limited government. In his book, Ryan expresses the view of his generation of conservative Republicans that you should rely on your community of neighbors, friends and family for assistance when you are in financial need, not the government. For a Ryan Republican to violate that belief would be compromising one’s core values.

    • I am familiar. I just had not thought of rejecting a government-sponsored health plan as a proof of one’s morality or ethics. 🤷🏼‍♀️

      On the flip side, Democrats found it unethical or immoral NOT to provide health coverage to those who could not access it another way.

    • On the flip side, Democrats found it unethical or immoral NOT to provide health coverage to those who could not access it another way.

      I think that’s how I came to the conclusion that a Republican would view it in moral terms as well.

      I wonder whether our resident philosopher can shed more light on this as far as whether it’s a moral, ethical, or political decision.

      @slamdunk406 Here’s my and lidja’s comments that we’ve been discussing:

    • Stephen...

      I think how one live's one's life relative to social interaction vs invasive procedures (vaccinations) are two very separate discussions and not necessarily inclusive.

      When a vaccination for COVID-19 is proven safe and available, I will be in line to get my shot. I think to actively participate in society one should vaccinate to prevent the spread of life threatening diseases.

      However, absent of such a vaccination, I simply refuse to live a sheltered life simply because elected pols or pol appointed scientists and/or healthcare workers makes such a proclamation. Look no further than Michigan for hypocrisy in such proclamations. All private construction projects were halted, but, all government projects were allowed to proceed. Why is the risk of infection for workers warranted for state government construction projects and not for private concerns?

      Since 9/11, the US as spun 180 degrees (again) on its philosophical axis pertaining to how government interacts in our daily lives. By that I mean, WE (citizens of the US) still believed in self-determination principles. After 9/11, many citizens and pols turned to the federal government for protection in our daily lives from unforeseen dangers and we see that even more so today.

      Prior to 9/11, we had FDR's New Deal legislative packages of 1933 and 1936 where once self-reliant folks turned to DC for hope and answers.

      The Supremacy clause (for the federal government) has always been embedded in Article VI Paragraph 2 of the Constitution. Yet, it wasn't until McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) in which SCOTUS first affirmed the federal government's supreme power over the states in certain matters. And DC has been chipping away at States Rights (which many argue are individual rights as well) such ever since.

      Today, pols are about political power and the ability to project that power and will onto the populace. And this projection of power cuts across the political spectrum; no one party or caucus has a monopoly on the accumulation of and projection of that power.

      The time proven concept of piecemeal, political compromise exhibited by President Reagan and Speaker O'Neill to pass economic legislation benefiting most Americans seems like ancient history. And even though we've experienced some serious bumps in the economic road since the 80's, we are still enjoying an economy directly benefiting from the legislation hammered out by those two great Americans.

      If you look too DC or your state capital for answers to protect yourself and loved ones or enhance your daily life, I think you will be left standing along the side of the road with an empty cup in hand.

      Stay safe and enjoy Life, you only have one!


    • Bill, you are an interesting dude. I rarely have the opportunity to speak with someone of diametrically opposite views to my own and who can also eloquently express them. Like most people, I tend to avoid such conversations with friends and family who I want to stay on good terms with. As a result, it usually takes extra efforts to hear from voices outside of my personal echo chambers.

      Your comment that state rights are viewed as individual rights was something I hadn’t heard before in my Left-leaning fishbowl; it helps to make sense of previous news stories where Republican elected officials argue that a particular issue should be decided at the state level, rather than at the Federal level.

      My personal preference is to take the time to understand what exactly someone believes on a given issue as well as why they believe so. You took the time to provide both the what and why of it, so thank you.

    • Stephen, thanks for the kind comments!

      Likewise, I enjoy reading your posts and contemplating the positions you present.

      I can't (refuse to) be pigeon holed with a single broad label. My beliefs extend from one end of the political/cultural/philosophical spectrums to the other and driven by specific issues.

      Fortunately, I can have a healthy conversation with family and friends even when we have a polar opposite position. I think we do so because of the trust and respect for one another (and strangers as well) instilled in us by our parents and grandparents.

      Everyone deserves the same, equal respect.

      I was still quite young, perhaps not even 10, when I first recall my grandmother saying, "if you can't say something good about someone, say nothing at all". I wish I could say I live by those words (and I do most days), but, I have failed and no longer enjoy the company of several individuals.

      I think what reenforced the above thoughts was discovering Justices Ginsberg and Scalia were the very best of friends, often family vacationing together. They would share their hand written briefs with each other to ensure their legal thoughts were tracking. If two Justices with such polarized legal opinions could forge an enduring friendship, so can the rest of us. We just have to make a respectful effort.

    • If you've never read "Nico and Me" by Bryan Garner, I recommend it.

      Garner is not a political conservative. He became very good friends with Scalia. (Nico was Scalia's nickname.)

    • The title did not pop up on any of the book lists for Bryan A. Garner. Could the title be something different? Or perhaps an article written for a periodical?

    • Hmmm...if I understand the question correctly, we have a case of people being against a political position/government program until they realize it can actually help them. I would say it’s mostly a moral/political issue, though of course, our morals reflect our political views, no? Ideologically, it’s morally/intellectually dishonest to say you are against something in principle, but then flip when you realize it can help you. It shows you don’t really have an ideology or if you do, it’s poorly thought out.

    • "...we have a case of people being against a political position/government program until they realize it can actually help them."

      That is simply the nature of a constitutional republic. Elected representatives at all levels of government cannot be all things to all people. Yet, I still believe the electorate helps itself by electing individuals representing the ideals and positions of the majority; not the other way around in that the government is here to help us ("them") collectively simply because the government knows best. If that were the case, systemic racism would have been eradicated with the passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865.

      The notion of collective versus individual rights have been a hot topic since the days before the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and remain so today. In fact, Federalists were staunchly opposed to the Bill of Rights. Imagine our domestic landscape today without the Bill of Rights! Frankly, I can't begin to imagine what the country would look like today, perhaps a mere reflection of the UK.

      And after just fighting a war of independence from England, no doubt the anti-Federalists wanted to ensure individual liberties were codified, hence the Bill of Rights. Citizens of the new USA were not going to be subjects of any government.

      With "stay at home", "shelter in place" orders and proclamations at local and state levels, it sure sounds like many citizens have become subject of some governors. No doubt there will be lawsuits across the country challenging the future issuance of such orders. And undoubtedly, SCOTUS will roll them into a single case and rule on the power of the state (governor) to deny constitutional liberties to their citizens through proclamation (executive orders).

    • I’m curious why you (or Chris?) thinks this was a decision based on their *moral* convictions? It seems to me this was a decision based on their politics...

      I’ve mentioned before that I have a photographic memory when it comes to Cake conversations from the archives. I finally tracked this down in one of Chris’s replies from a year and a half ago:

      “My wife and I have very personal and ongoing experience with this.

      “Her family lives in Southern Utah where the populace is extremely conservative. To my wife's family, Obamacare is evil and no self-respecting American should support it. The problem is, one of my wife's brothers and a brother-in-law ended up with serious medical problems and didn't have insurance. They couldn't get insurance because of pre-existing conditions. The only recourse seemed to be to declare bankruptcy and in a few years, pass away.

      “This put my wife's dad in a terrible position: enroll two of his family members in Obamacare and violate everything he believed in as an American veteran and proud member of The Legion of Honor, or watch the awful suffering and decline of his family. He enrolled them in Obamacare and they're getting good care now, but it tortures him that he's supporting something so terrible.”

      Original message:

    • Back to camping...

      In Bryce Canyon now. The scale here is very hard to convey in photographs. Here, I overlaid an arrow pointing to a hiker on one of the trails.