by Rafi Schwartz
Quarantine during a global pandemic can do some strange things to a person. For me, it means I’ve become hyper-attuned to my body’s every itch, twinge, and vague wave of discomfort — each, I’m convinced, is a sign that despite not having left the house in days, I’ve definitely contracted the coronavirus.
For a vocal subset of right wing death cultists, on the other hand, the prospect of things never quite going back to how they once were (as if they were ever all that great) has inspired them to stand up and proudly declare that, yes, they volunteer as tribute. Tribute to what? To money, stupid, for which they’d gladly DIE rather than, uh, not have an economy, or something?
Here, for example, is a senior writer at the mysteriously funded Federalist.com setting himself up as a sacrificial lamb out of his sheer undying love for an economic system that has utterly failed millions, and which — regardless of whether he personally lives or dies — is staring down the barrel of some seismic pandemic-induced changes.
Such bravery! Such courage! The invisible hand of the market is already curling a single skeletal finger around the trigger.
But Kelly isn’t alone in his selfless selfishness. Here comes Texas’ Lt. Gov and certifiable loon Dan Patrick, offering himself and his fellow senior citizens to the god of free market capitalism.
“No one reached out to me and said, as a senior citizen, ‘Are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’” Patrick told Fox’s Tucker Carlson on Monday evening. “And if that is the exchange, I’m all in.”
Hear that, Bubbie? If you’re not ready to go full Jonestown and chug a glass of piping hot COVID-19, then you’re a selfish coward who hates your grandchildren.
Let’s be absolutely clear here: People have, and will absolutely continue to die from this pandemic. But Patrick and Kelly’s bizarre alpha-male embrace of death in exchange for their ultra-conservative vision of America (specifically, one in which rich people do just fine, and everyone else can go screw) isn’t doing anyone any favors — in fact, it’ll likely lead to more unnecessary deaths, while doing nothing to actually salvage the economy they so effusively worship.
Things are bad, and they’re only going to get worse. But if your final calculus is that your life isn’t as important as the S&P 500, then that says more about your prevailing sense of a human being’s worth than it does about your performative bravery.