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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 64 of the late Hans Rosling’s wonderful 2018 book, Factfulness:

The goal of higher income is not just bigger piles of money. The goal of longer lives is not just extra time. The ultimate goal is to have the freedom to do what we want.

DBx: “Progressives” and others who misunderstand the case for free markets often accuse those of us who champion free markets of believing either that all that does matter to most people is money or material possessions, or that all that should matter to people is money or material possessions. “Life is so much more!” we are told – as if we don’t already understand and embrace and live this reality.

But many (most?) of today’s proponents of Covid-19 lockdowns seem really to believe that all that does, or all that should, matter to people is maximizing their expected life-spans – the number of days in their lives. How those days are filled is assumed, it seems, to be far less important than is their simple number. By keeping Grandma separated from her children and grandchildren during the holidays, lockdowners believe themselves to statistically add a couple of more months or years to her life. (Put aside here the question of whether or not the narrow result reflects the narrow intention. Put aside also this question: Why not let Grandma choose for herself?) Lockdowners applaud themselves for their commitment to “the science” and for their singular humanity.

Poor Grandma, though, might prefer to run a higher risk of dying earlier as the price she pays for being in the physical, un-Zoomed presence of smiling, laughing, hugging loved ones. But what does Grandma know? She’s no scientist. And unlike Mr. Cuomo, she’s certainly not a Governor. She’s not even a mayor! Those who truly know what’s best for Grandma – and what’s best for Uncle George, and for Miss Daisy, and for each of God’s chilluns’ – are Dr. Fauci and Gov. Newsom. They, after all, follow “the science.”

The lockdowners believe – and believe that most other people believe, and that everyone should believe – that the only goal that is worthwhile in 2020 to pursue is maximum protection from Covid. Any other goal, any other need or desire or wish or passion (except participating in woke protests), must be avoided if pursuing that other goal increases the risk of coming into contact with, or of spreading, the coronavirus. The Person of the Year is homo avoidcovidous, an especially pathetic creature, yet one who might perhaps add a few years to his dreary existence.


My colleague Bryan Caplan’s take on this same issue, while in agreement with my own, is – as always – more profound.


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