One additional observation as the country burns is that social distancing is done. Pushing around a suburban mother taking her kids to the park is one thing; pushing around a group of vibrant youths is another. It was obvious from the onset that social distancing wouldn’t be realized in the US to anything like the extent it was in Europe, let alone Asia. Writing in mid-March, as the first stay-at-home orders were being issued:
We don’t have those things here. Large segments of the American population are going to break curfew. They’re going to ignore advisories about staying home and avoiding groups of people. Time preference is too high and social conformity too low for us to replicate East Asia, especially if this goes on for more than a week or two, as is increasingly looking like will be the case.
It was partially effective for awhile. Certain segments of the population blatantly disregarding the rules were ignored while to maintain appearances low-risk populations in low-risk environments, like the aforementioned suburban mom or college kids at the beach, were harassed and pilloried to send a message to others of their ilk that the tyranny did very much apply to them.
But the anarcho end of things became impossible to ignore when parts of several major American cities were razed and pillaged. Everyone knew no one was going to pester young black men about wearing masks and maintaining space, but everyone knew only the worst kind of deplorable would point as much out. And since no one could admit to hearing out such a deplorable, the observation could be dismissed with prejudice.
When 330 million pairs of eyes simultaneously see blatant disregard for social distancing among hordes of rioters engaging in hard felonious actions that go unpunished, though, it becomes too much for even the most compliant members of middle America. Just like that, more than two months of tsk-tsking goes up in a puff of precinct smoke.