Jenin Younes tackles Paul Krugman’s execrable hatchet job on the Great Barrington Declaration . (If Krugman’s understanding of the Great Barrington Declaration and of AIER are any indication of his ability to understand epidemiology and the consequences of the Covid lockdowns, then there’s no reason to pay any attention to what he says about the disease and humans’ responses to it.) A slice from Ms. Younes’s essay:
Those who continue to advocate extreme measures, such as lockdowns and forced human separation, are making the extraordinary claim that we must disrupt the functioning of the traditions and institutions that societies have developed over millennia, and are vital to human flourishing, in response to a single problem: a pathogen with an infection fatality rate currently hovering around 0.27 percent , with deaths highly concentrated among those with very low life expectancies .
Never before have governments throughout the world ordered schools to close, businesses to stop operating, travel to cease, and people to refrain from interacting with each other, for an indefinite time period spanning months and possibly even years. As others have noted, this is an experiment of an unprecedented nature  on an unprecedented scale , the consequences of which will undoubtedly ripple into subsequent decades and possibly beyond.
Joe Biden is planning large tax increases if elected president next week. He says that the increases would be just for high earners, but his proposals would hit all of us by damaging investment, entrepreneurship and job opportunities.
People have pretty much always bought and sold in markets, but they have not always embraced markets as dignified or even nonobscene social spaces in which anything but mutual swindling and plunder takes place. They have not always embraced the commercial and technological heresies we call innovations that raised the average rate of per-capita income growth in places like the modern United States from roughly 0% per year to the positively insane rate of roughly 2% per year that we Americans have enjoyed since the early nineteenth century.
This mind-blowing fact–increases in real standards of living from the bottom to the top of the income distribution, year after year, with the benefits accruing disproportionately to the poor and the descendants of the poor, with no end in sight–did not happen for the usual reasons people point to. It wasn’t natural resources. The value of your copy of Leave Me Alone and I’ll Make You Rich doesn’t come from the trees farmed to make the paper or the oil that was refined into the fuel used to ship it. Institutions like secure property rights are necessary in the same way oxygen is necessary for a fire, but they aren’t sufficient. Slavery, imperialism, and colonialism are popular (and resurgent) explanations from the left, but “We are saying, to be precise, that war, slavery, imperialism, and colonialism were on the whole economically stupid” (p. 118).
It happened because we embraced the liberal idea of profit-tested dissent (with modification) from old ways of producing and exchanging and doing–what Adam Thierer has called Permissionless Innovation . We didn’t execute Bill Gates when Microsoft released Windows 95 or throw Steve Jobs off a cliff when he rolled out the iPad in 2010. Jobs didn’t have to get permission from puzzled members of the commentariat who wondered “What is it for?” or Luddites who worried that it would destroy the publishing industry when he was explaining what this thing that wasn’t a smartphone or a laptop but maybe kind of something in between could do.