The problem with the counsel government officials are getting from medical doctors and other scientists is not that it is bad advice. It is that government officials seem to think they have the power to make it dispositive advice without first demonstrating to us that it is necessary, that less Draconian restraints on liberty will not do.
Not even the U.K. Imperial College study that so alarmed the world’s policy makers recommended indiscriminate lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders. If we meant what we said, we’ve overshot in many places. Beds are empty. A ventilator shortage did not materialize. We failed to set aside enough capacity to treat other medical conditions like strokes and heart attacks. This is costing lives.
Attention-grabbing headlines don’t find it compelling to identify unintended consequences, but villains and heroes. Bad people do bad things, but good people do good things — and great people do GREAT things. This is the preferred narrative, and the media fuels that. They anoint saints, and condemn devils in the public, private and independent sector. The saints must be selfless, and the devils must be self-serving.