Covid-19 and Driving: A Valid Analogy

Those of us who have raised the driving analogy to argue against Covid-19 restrictions on most people have mostly been ridiculed.

And yet, driving kills roughly as many people every year as Covid-19 has killed in 2020 so far. If the severely injured are taken into account, the overall effects of traffic accidents are probably way worse. Traffic accidents also kill and maim all sorts of people whereas Covid-19 mostly takes out people who probably wouldn't survive any serious shock to the organism.

Furthermore, those who drive carefully still take a small risk of killing or injuring other people, just like people without symptoms have a small risk of passing Covid-19 to a vulnerable person. And it also isn't "essential" to drive for most people as the state could force everyone to switch to buses and other means of public transport. Moreover, severely restricting driving would probably save a lot more lives than the draconian anti-Covid-19 measures. And severely restricting driving will not be remotely as damaging for most people.

Nonetheless, I think that it is totally right that driving isn't severely restricted, despite the inherent risk it entails. The same should apply to normal human activities for people without symptoms during the Covid-19 pandemic. Because life isn't about minimizing deaths.

The Possible Objections Fail

Now, the first key objection that I see that isn't downright silly (e.g. "Covid is sui generis because we need to protect ICUs", irrelevant, sorry) is that, unlike driving, the Covid-19 pandemic is a one-off.

But this objection is still kinda weird. Saving a few thousand lives (at best) per 10 million people is either worth all the lockdown insanity imposed on everyone or it isn't. Every time.

A more plausible retort is that the fabric of the modern society could perhaps handle a year of Covid-19 crackdown but not their indefinite application. This is probably fair but doesn’t succeed because indefinitely restricting driving wouldn’t threaten disintegration of society.

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So, in summary, if you both believe that the Covid-19 response has been ethically justified, and driving needs to remain largely unrestricted, I suggest that you have to reconsider. The first part.

Written by

PhD, economics (2018) from Aix-Marseille University, independent blockchain adoption consultant based in Aix-en-Provence, France, Email: daniilgor2004@gmail.com

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