George Will writes about fascism. A slice:
Fascism’s celebration of unfettered leaders proclaiming “only I can fix it” entailed disparagement of “parliamentarism,” the politics of incrementalism and conciliation. “Democracy,” said Mussolini, “has deprived the life of the people of ‘style’ . . . the color, the strength, the picturesque, the unexpected, the mystical; in sum, all that counts in the life of the masses. We play the lyre on all its strings.”
Remember that the world today is much better in almost every measurable way. In 1900, the average life expectancy was 32. Today, it has more than doubled to 72. The disparity in health between the rich and poor has reduced, the world is much more literate, child labor has been dropping and we are living in one of the most peaceful times in history. Indoor air pollution, previously the biggest environmental killer, has halved since 1990. Four out of five people were extremely poor in 1900 and today — despite the intense impact of the coronavirus — less than one in five is.
From a high level, epidemiological forecasts failed for the very reason that econometric predictions often flounder: the uncritical importation of modeling techniques from physics or applied mathematics into social science realms. This should not be especially revelatory. In “The Counter-revolution of Science” (1956), F. A. Hayek noted the pernicious effects of applying rigidly quantitative concepts where human action is at work, attributing them to “an ambition to imitate science in its methods rather than its spirit.”