Let the schools resume their operation on April 27

Monday, April 20, 2020.

I pray that our governments get reasonable and let all schools restart their operation on April 27. Of course there are practical considerations to respect regarding hygiene. But please stop the panic and get reasonable again!

When the WHO triggered pandemic alarm for Covid-19, governments had to decide whether or not to declare a curfew and how to implement it.

Consider the situation in Sweden where schools continue their operation. Yes, Sweden has one of the highest death rates, but they have good arguments to defend themselves and their decisions.

Compare this to the situation in Romania and Serbia.

“In Romania we have to fill out a form and have it with us when we go outside. Valid reasons on our form are Medical reasons, helping your elderly, walking your dog, buying food, some people still have to work, blood donation, etc. Police checks these forms (streets are filled with police), if you don’t have a form or your reason is bs, you get a big fine.” – “Here (in Serbia) we basically have hella strict curfews during weekends. No going out whatsoever. For medical reasons you can call the ambulance, no helping the elderly because we can’t visit them, pet walking is severely restricted, basically no work unless you’re absolutely essential (think police, medical professionals and such). There are some waivers for parents of autistic (or other developmental disorders) children which lets them take walks and stuff. No shops except some pharmacies work during the curfew. Policing is strict and often times brutal with really big fines and prison time if you’re caught out during curfew.”

—comments in a discussion Both cars crashed into each other today in New Belgrade (Reddit, April 2020)

Here in Estonia there was no discussion when the government decided, in March 2020, to close all schools. The president proudly stated that every child in Estonia has a computer thanks to the work of many volunteer organizations under the slogan “Igale koolilapsele arvuti!”.

But how many Estonians know that Waldorf schools don’t use any computer at all, that they recommend to their parents to not let their children use them, and that three quarters of the parents of a Waldorf school in Silicon Valley are employees of high-tech companies?

The question whether computers are good for children is related to the question whether computer gaming can become an addiction. There is some evidence that people have died because of it. In 2007, a work group of the American Medical Association (AMA) suggested to add it as an official addiction form to their database. But the general board disagreed. I guess that one big argument was that computer gaming, unlike nicotine or alcohol, is a purely mental dependence which causes no measurable physical dependence.

Spielend in die Verwahrlosung (Marie-Charlotte Maas, Der Spiegel, July 2009)

Berliner Beratungsstelle “Lost in Space” / Wenn Computer zur Sucht werden (Annette Kögel, Tagesspiegel, October 2015)


Some background information (spoiler: now I am getting philosophical).

Always ask for who makes money with it.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.
All nations surrounded me; in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side; in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
They surrounded me like bees; they went out like a fire among thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me.
The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.

The Good News calls us to principally trust that God is the highest power at all, who governs both the visible and the invisible world.

This psalm is one of the reasons I insist on differentiating between public and private corporations. Basically this says to me: to trust in a public corporation is okay, to trust in private corporations is not. They didn’t have those concepts when the psalm was written, but suggest that this is how the author would say it today.

As I say in The greedy giants, there is a fundamental difference between private and public corporations: their reason of being. The ultimate mission of a private corporation is to make financial profit to be shared among its owners, the shareholders. For a public corporation, any financial profit that may result from their activity is being reinvested into the corporation’s mission.

Of course this is theory. In our daily reality it is okay to collaborate with private corporations and to use their services. It would be quite strange to refuse using a car, a mobile phone or buying food from a shop just because these are the products and services of private corporations. The Kingdom of God is neither socialistic nor capitalistic; it encompasses both economical models.

Also I don’t say that all public corporations are good and that all private corporations are evil. Exceptions confirm the rule. One reason for such exceptions is that humans may cheat and find a way to create foundations whose actual mission differs from the officially declared one. Another reason is that private corporations below a certain size are themselves under control of their national government, which is a public corporation.

The question is how much power we give to the greedy giants. When private corporations have significant influence on our political decisions, then it’s time to “cut them off in the name of the Lord”.

I don’t know the truth. Nobody knows what’s good and what’s not. Me neither. But a simple rule of thumb is to always ask who makes money from your political decisions. Money is measurable. You may use it as a political argument when deciding whom to trust.