Yesterday I had a hard time reconciling "Boston strong" with "shelter in place". Regardless of the good intentions of law enforcement the notion of capitulation in the face of terrorism struck me as both unwise and un American. I'm sure this is going to be a contentious topic in the days ahead with the crowd "that puts people first" arguing that running up the white flag in the face of adversity is the responsible thing to do. Yeah, it's almost like naming a designated driver or calling a snow day. Poppa Pat Deval's armed police state is the best of all possible worlds. No, it's not the new normal but as copy cat mayors and governors across the country find reason to lock down their cities for reasons of their own the test for "emergency" is apt to become less stringent and presto! It's the new normal just as school districts that started out canceling school after heavy snowfalls now cancel classes on the forecasts of heavy snowfalls. Cities that once contented themselves to inspect restaurants for health hazards now claim the authority to dictate "healthy" menus.
All this is done with the backdrop of an all knowing government that exudes an air of infallibility. NASA knows more about automobile brakes than Toyota. Only Dr. Chu, who never worked outside a laboratory, knows exactly how to place a blowout preventer a mile below the sea's surface. Private sector technocrats, excluding those who know something remotely connected to computers, are usually incompetent or craven slaves to an evil industry. Emergency medical responders are all knowing. For the most part they are competent but a bit of a joke in some circles such a cops and construction workers but are always believed by a credulous media just as utility linemen who must bring the power back after a hurricane are always incompetent.
So now government has both a monopoly on power and wisdom and unending line of of spokespersons who enjoy looking dour. It could be that the more sanguine looking spokespersons are prone to budget cuts since they could be deemed as superfluous but a dour spokesperson with a message of immediate and impending doom is hard to beat. The "serious as a heart attack" face plays well for the political class too. New Yorkers tolerate Mayor Bloomberg because he looks like a mortician and that's about as serious and dour a a fellow can be.
If the aim of terrorists is to disrupt the lives of normal people then yesterday was a bigger success than the World Trade Center bombing or even Pearl Harbor. Like it or not, yesterday's big winner was Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.