Utah seems to be undergoing a cleansing of biblical proportions: pestilence, earthquake, economic collapse, and, if all the empty shelves are any indication, famine as well.

On top of this, we have ideological warfare. Public health officials everywhere in America are taking a hard-nosed stand. Their job is to prevent loss of life.

Politicians, on the other hand, like Gov. Gary Herbert and other business-oriented Republicans here and elsewhere, want to preserve business and get votes for their party in the upcoming election.

Utah's predominant faith sports a free-agency theology that goes hand-in-hand with Republican laissez faire, libertarian economics. Let people make their own decisions without the help of the state.

When two big county health departments announced an enforcement approach for the social distancing standard announced by the governor, the governor quickly clarified his position. In essence it is, “We teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.” We don’t force anyone.

This soft-shoe approach was the one taken by Italy. The result is playing out now for the world to see. Many other nations, and U.S. states too, are taking the professional public health approach which says lives are more important than votes, or the bottom line.

We need to take a bite out of the butts of those who play fast and loose with their neighbor's lives, and even their own.

When this is said and done, we don't want to have to say that Chairman Mao did a better job of protecting the people's health than Uncle Sam.

Robert Kimball Shinkoskey, Woods Cross