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What does the response to COVID-19 tell us about our ability to cope with climate change?
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Fake news, ignorance, and bipartisan politics will make defeating COVID-19 and climate change impossible.

In some countries, believing that COVID-19 exists and is not a hoax is, in itself, a political opinion. Fake news and ignorance is rampant, and people's refusal to practice social distancing or believe that the virus is a real threat does not bode well for how seriously they'll take climate change.
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The Argument

State governments are ordering citizens to stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19 until a vaccine can be found- but the principle of personal freedom and responsibility has been so deeply ingrained in American culture that governments are now struggling to control those who are misinformed and those who consider their right to freedom to be more important than the health and safety of those around them. In addition, there's no guarantee that people will get the COVID-19 vaccine once it's discovered, due to the increasing popularity of the anti-vaccination movement. The American political system is so divided that the pandemic is now a partisan issue. "Republicans are, as would be predicted, much more positive than Democrats about the way President Donald Trump and the federal government are handling the virus situation. Republicans are much less likely than Democrats to report isolating themselves, adhering to social distancing, avoiding public places and wearing masks. Republicans are more likely to be out and about going to stores and others' houses. Democrats are much more likely to say they are worried about getting the virus (more than twice as likely as Republicans in Gallup's latest survey), much less likely to believe the virus situation is getting better, and much more likely to believe that social distancing saves lives." [1] Americans are struggling to understand medical research, so they're looking to their governments and their political parties for answers regarding COVID-19, and since the government isn't taking COVID-19 seriously, neither are citizens. Similarly, the government is not taking climate change seriously, so Americans now have a false sense of security. America can never eliminate the virus entirely because it's too difficult to convince every person in the country to practice social distancing, or have empathy for those who are more at risk. People are unwilling to sacrifice their freedom, and there is too much ignorance and misinformation. Climate change similarly will never be defeated, because it's impossible to convince every person in the world that climate change exists due to the prevalence of fake news. In addition, people are unlikely to be willing to sacrifice their basic comforts, conveniences, and personal freedoms. Ignorance is easier.

Counter arguments


[P1] American culture emphasizes the importance of personal freedom, so people are unwilling to sacrifice their comforts, conveniences, and freedom to protect themselves and those around them. [P2] Fake news regarding COVID-19 and climate change make tackling both issues extremely difficult. [P3] Scientific research is difficult to understand for the average person, so people are looking to their respective political parties for answers regarding COVID-19 and climate change. If the government does not take a crisis seriously, neither will that government's citizens. [P4] Human nature and ignorance is too unwieldy to control.

Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Monday, 18 May 2020 at 21:59 UTC