For most Americans, it has not gone unnoticed that blue states are hit harder by the Coronavirus pandemic than red states. At first glance, this can be shrugged off as a coincidence. One can argue that the real culprit is population density. However, on closer inspection, there is more to the political Coronavirus divide than meets the eye. Another word for “social distancing” is, arguably, conservatism.
In the last 50 years, urban planning has been almost synonymous with progressive politics: a focus on increased population density, public transportation, and vilification of suburbs and the car. Historically, the American city has not been constrained by land limitations and is, therefore, more sprawling than the average European or Asian city.
There is one exception to this: New York City. It is the only large city with a well-developed subway system. In this Democrat hotspot, people huddle together in packed subway cars and buses on their way to Manhattan, which, during weekdays, turns into one of the most densely populated metro areas in the world. On their way to work, people cram themselves into tiny elevators to reach their crowded offices.
One does not have to be a genius to understand that densely populated cities are the perfect breeding ground for germs and viruses. A whopping 18.4% of all Coronavirus deaths in America have to date occurred in New York City, which only commands 2.5% of the U.S. population.
One recent mystery has been why ultra-progressive California never experienced the predicted surge in COVID-19 cases. Still, a significant difference between the two blue states is that Californians drive cars to a much greater extent – to the chagrin of Californian politicians. A car is, in effect, a miniature social distancing tool.
Now compare this to what the progressives call flyover land – middle America. It cultivates a lifestyle to which many Americans aspire: their own house with their own garden, with a fence and sufficient distance away from the neighbors to not hear their noises. Many Americans only live in or near cities for work. They commute in their cars from their quiet suburban homes, suitable for the monogamous nuclear family.
Monogamy is a form of social distancing, too. It’s no coincidence that the spread of STDs is a more significant problem among single city-dwellers than faithfully married couples in the suburbs. Social distancing is what conservatives call privacy. There are many benefits to an open society, but COVID-19 demonstrates its flaws.
In this age of the Coronavirus, the left is rediscovering the virtue of borders and boundaries. Even California has allowed plastic bags again – for sanitary purposes.
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