Per Bylund and Mark Packard, in a newly published academic paper in the Southern Economic Journal, offer an explanation for why so many governments clamped draconian lockdowns on their citizens while Sweden did not. (HT Dan Klein) A slice:
Worse, when political power coalesces around particular expertise, the concentration of specific knowledge in relatively small groups of experts causes de facto “epistemic monopolies” (Koppl, et al., 2012) – “this sort of dependency on expertise is intimately connected with the idea of monopoly” (Horwitz, 2012, p. 62). Although most social and scientific knowledge is heterogeneous, causally ambiguous, and thus widely disagreed or disputed, such disagreements are obscured by the fact that only a select few are the socially “recognized” or “appointed” experts and, thus, the only whose opinions are taken into account in policy decisions. Any heterogeneity among expert views, therefore, may be unrecognized by nonexperts.
While marketing themselves as theoretically opposed to lockdowns, ZeroCovid adherents actually aspire to implement a totalitarian-style state, which we are supposed to believe will exist only temporarily. For example, Devi Sridhar, one of the movement’s most public faces in the United Kingdom, has claimed that the only way out of endless lockdown is a “crude, harsh, catastrophic lockdown” now, the first phase. Given that the third phase of Sridhar’s plan entails an “East Asian and Pacific model of elimination” that prohibits travel abroad, I can only imagine precisely what sort of totalitarian nightmare Sridhar envisions during phase one.
We are rapidly approaching a crunch point for Britain. Do we treat the virus as an ordinary risk of life, much as we do with the other 30 respiratory viruses that have infected humans throughout history? This is the approach we have been promised since the beginning of the crisis.
Or do we try to eliminate the virus from the UK altogether – the so-called Zero Covid approach, a route I believe is now favoured by a worrying number of influential voices in science and in Government?
This is a political choice, not a scientific one – and I’m concerned at what I see. In my view, Zero Covid is authoritarian, involving a systematic denial of basic humanity. And it is probably impossible to achieve.
The nearest working model of Zero Covid can be found in China, where the strategy from the outset was to have no infections at all. David Rennie, of The Economist, describes life in Beijing today: ‘Every time you step outside your door you have to use a smartphone to scan a QR code – every shop, every taxi, every bus, every metro station. You have no privacy at all – it’s all built around this electronic system of contact tracing…
‘We basically don’t have the virus here, but… it’s very hard to know where Covid containment starts and a Communist police state with an obsession with control kicks in.’
In autumn of 2020 I lost my friend to a shocking heart attack at the age of 49. He spent 10 days in critical care with the amazing NHS staff doing everything in their power to save him against the odds. He tested negative upon arrival for COVID-19, but had he tested positive during his stay he would have been recorded as a COVID-19 death, despite dying from the injuries caused to his body and brain by the heart attack. The statistics vary but, nosocomial or hospital-acquired COVID-19 infections account for approximately 17-25% of hospital ‘admissions’ for Covid. The really important question here is should all these deaths and admissions be recorded as deaths attributed to COVID-19?
Ethan Yang shares insight from his mom. Two slices:
Knowing what people are capable of if given the tools to oppress one another, at this point I would say I am begging you as the reader to stand for freedom at a time when it is clearly under assault. When the government takes away liberty, it seldom gives it back and its abuse of power just keeps growing.
Protecting free enterprise is just as essential to our liberty and prosperity as our civil rights. We can argue over how high taxes should be, the extent of environmental regulations, and so on but there should be a consensus that economic freedom is essential. The freedom to operate a business, to conduct commerce, and to be protected from the arbitrary will of central planners and their cronies. Nationalizing industry and imposing crushing restrictions on our ability to earn a living is a recipe for stagnation and decay. There is a powerful correlation between economic freedom and prosperity, and economists like Deirdre McCloskey assert that modern prosperity was made possible because of the acceptance of ideas regarding private enterprise. It allowed more and more people to contribute to society and checked the power of competitors who wished to keep everyone else down.