Reader Charles called my attention to a CBS/YouGov poll showing the disparity between Republicans and Democrats in whether they see the number of American deaths from coronavirus acceptable or unacceptable. The results were frightening:This is a professor who regularly posts about how no one has the free will to anything different from what happens. For example:
Note that the latest toll of Americans killed by coronavirus, reported in the Hili dialogue this morning, is 176,694. That is more than three times the number of Americans killed during the Vietnam War (total 58,220, of which 47,434 were killed in battle). Only 10 % of Democrats find that total acceptable, but 57% of Republicans do, while 90% of Dems find the total unacceptable compared to 43% of Republicans. Two-third of Independents find the total unacceptable, about halfway between Dems and Republicans.
Now it’s not clear what “acceptable” means, but given that quicker and more stringent action would have saved more lives, and that the Trump administration—and a lot of Republican governors—have hardly taken the lead here, I think the objective assessment is “unacceptable”, meaning, “could have been reduced strongly with better action.”
I’m a “hard determinist” and get out of bed every day, and I realize that my “agency” is illusory even though I feel that it’s real.And this:
Sam [Harris] (who does define his terms) is talking about libertarian free will: the mistaken feeling we have that we have agency and could have decided other than how we did. ...So he firmly believes that neither Pres. Trump nor anyone else had a choice about what to do about the Wuhan coronavirus. The death total could not have been reduced by different policies.
I, of course, accept neither free will in the way Sam construes it, nor the idea that we are “morally responsible” (rather than just “responsible”) for our actions. The word “morally” adds nothing save the misconception that we could have made a choice that was either more or less moral, and that’s not true.
I disagree with Coyne about free will, but I do think that he has put his finger on a big difference between right and left wingers. Right-wingers accept reality. There will be disease and death. Left wingers pretend to live in an imaginary world where people are all equal, kind, healthy, and thinking good thoughts at all times.
Here, Coyne very strongly believes that no one could have chosen a policy to reduce the coronavirus deaths, and yet the deaths are still unacceptable. This is like saying gravity is unacceptable.