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‘The Plan Is to Have No Plan’

Jay Rosen, writing at PressThink:

“The plan is to have no plan” is not a strategy, really. Nor would I call it a policy. It has a kind of logic to it, but this is different from saying it has a design — or a designer. Meaning: I do not want to be too conspiratorial about this. To wing it without a plan is merely the best this government can do, given who heads the table. The manufacture of confusion is just the ruins of Trump’s personality meeting the powers of the presidency. There is no genius there, only a damaged human being playing havoc with our lives.

Exactly. There is no there there. Our seemingly inexplicable nationwide dearth of testing capability is in fact explicable: more tests = more confirmed cases, and Trump has told us, straight up, in one of his daily instances of saying aloud what anyone with any shame would never utter in private, let alone in front of the world, that his concern isn’t with the welfare of Americans, but rather with the welfare of “the numbers”. He wanted to leave sick Americans on an infected cruise ship not because it was deemed the best course of action epidemiologically, but because “I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.” That’s why we don’t have tests. That’s not conspiratorial, that’s just listening to what Trump has told us.

Rosen’s piece is so extraordinarily brief — plans are hard to describe, no-plans not so much — that it’s hard not to quote the whole thing. But his opening is worth considering too:

The plan is to have no plan, to let daily deaths between one and three thousand become a normal thing, and then to create massive confusion about who is responsible […]

How could anyone expect or hope that thousands of deaths a day, every day, could ever become normal? you might ask, because you are a caring person with a capacity for empathy. But we allow all sorts of unthinkable things to become normal.

Tuesday, 5 May 2020