Monday, August 10, 2020

Hope alone is not a success strategy

     Two questions.
     First, regarding Lebanese officials who ignored warnings about the 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse in Beirut: Was it smart to do nothing?
     Were they right to just leave the explosives sitting there? Considering the bother of disposing of 5 million pounds of fertilizer. The cost. And when you’ve gone to all the trouble, what would you have to show for it? An unblown-up city. The same thing they started with.
     Inaction worked, for a while. For six years, nothing blew up.
     Given that, would doing something have been worth it? I’d say yes, but then I am a cautious sort, by nature. Cope with explosives before they blow up, that’s my motto.
     To the second question:
     The Archdiocese of Chicago is sending 70,000 Catholic students back to school this fall, to in-person classes, in the face of the raging COVID-19 epidemic: Is that a good idea?
     Maybe it is. New York City, the largest school district in the nation, seems to think so. Like disposing of explosives, keeping kids at home is difficult, on both parents and children. The former have to care for the latter, or pay for them to be cared for, or leave them unsupervised. Education suffers.
     It could work. Keeping kids in cohorts is smart — rather than changing classes and mobbing the halls, each classroom will be its own unit. Everybody will wear masks, in theory, and when people get sick — as they inevitably will — they’ll go into quarantine.
     The virus, which isn’t under control anywhere, might defer to the authority of the Catholic Church and avoid its classrooms. The famous ruler-to-the-back-of-the-hand Catholic school discipline could keep those masks where they belong.

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  1. Maybe if enough influencers put in their 2 cents, as Neil has, the Archdiocese will change its mind. Up to now, I believe the Church has shown an abundance of rationality and a modicum of hopefulness, i.e. superstition.


  2. Francis Bacon expressed the same notion with a fine culinary metaphor: "Hope makes a good breakfast but a bad supper."

    Chap on WBEZ at noon went into some detail about features of Catholic schools that might mitigate the risk. And I believe parents can opt for on-line instruction, and I would guess many will choose that. Also, I'm not sure we've heard much from the teachers yet.



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