Some Covid Links

by Don Boudreaux on February 25, 2021

in Country Problems, Curious Task, Philosophy of Freedom, Risk and Safety, Seen and Unseen

Dan Hannan laments the destruction of the liberal order now in full swing. A slice:

“Free trade, the greatest blessing a government can bestow on a people, is in almost every country unpopular”, wrote Lord Macaulay in 1824. Since then, average global incomes have risen, at a conservative estimate, by 3,000 per cent – having previously barely sloped upwards at all. Globalisation and open markets have been miraculous poverty-busters. Take any measure you like: literacy, longevity, infant mortality, female education, calorie intake, height.

Yet, in thrall to our Palaeolithic instincts, we still refuse to accept it. We deny the evidence of rising prosperity; or else we tell ourselves that rising living standards come at a terrible cost, that society has become soulless and materialistic, that something is missing. Every protest movement against the modern liberal order – romanticism, existentialism, fascism, communism, religious fundamentalism – is a tortured cry from our inner caveman, yearning for the collectivism and authority of the kin-group.

As we haul ourselves from the pupa of lockdown, we find we are subtly transformed. There is more demand for authoritarian governments of both Left and Right. There is more protectionism, and thus more poverty. There is less tolerance of dissent. There is more identity politics – the ultimate form of collectivism, because it defines people, not as individuals, but by group.

Jeffrey Tucker sees signs warranting cautious optimism – but still, of course, he’s stunned, as am I, by what’s become of liberal civilization in less than a year.

Robert Dingwall rightly decries the deranged obsession with eliminating, or reducing to a near-nullity, Covid-19. A slice:

A regime of constant testing, recurrent lockdowns and internal passports does not sound much like a return to normality. However, it does present boundless opportunities to promote the idea that the avoidance of disease is the only objective of a good society – life takes priority over liberty and the pursuit of happiness, rather than being held in balance with them. Once we accept the presence of widescale interventions, they will be very difficult to scale back, let alone eliminate. Airport security since 9/11 is a good model.

Barry Brownstein explores the how and why of governments’ creation of disease panic.

Suzie Halewood warns of the dangers of credulity in the face of numbers. A slice:

But why aren’t people digging through the data forensically? Why aren’t mainstream journalists asking about these numbers – real or imaginary? Where are the Woodward and Bernsteins? Are they too embroiled in the Westminster bubble to see outside it? Are they in fear of losing their jobs should those great bastions of morality and ethics Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon cancel them? Are they terrified of looking stupid in the face of conflicting ONS charts, excel spreadsheets and empirical data?

“New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is falling from grace at epic speed” – so begins James Bovard’s latest column at AIER. A slice:

A New Yorker profile, entitled “Andrew Cuomo, King of New York,” explained that Cuomo and his aides saw the battle over Covid policy as “between people who believe government can be a force for good and those who think otherwise.” For many liberals [DBx: Progressives] and much of the nation’s media, placing people under house arrest, padlocking schools, bankrupting business, and causing two million people to lose their jobs vindicated government as “a force for good.”

MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace declared that Cuomo is “everything Trump isn’t: honest, direct, brave.” Entertainment Weekly hailed Cuomo as “the hero that America never realized it needed until he was on our television screens every night.” As National Review recently noted, local reporters failed to ask questions on his nursing home edict “for months, as the governor held his much-praised daily press briefings about the pandemic. There were literally hundreds of hours of Cuomo press conferences in the first half of 2020 where not a single question was asked about nursing homes.”

Liz Wolfe wonders if voters will join the media in finally realizing how vile are Andrew Cuomo and Gavin Newsom.

Laura Dodsworth offers this photo-essay on masks.

For those of you who deny the Covid Derangement Syndrome is creating an Orwellian world, here’s a photo from Australia that you might wish to study.

British MP Charles Walker, writing in The Telegraph, describes the British government’s campaign to terrify people into compliance with Covid rules as shameless and cruel. A slice:

Suffering in one’s head matters. Knowingly creating that suffering strikes at the heart of the state’s own morality and our morality as lawmakers. It should be to our lasting shame that some of those struggling have taken their own life and many others have been severely damaged in ways that will shorten their lives. If “parity of esteem” between physical and mental health is to be anything more than just a jumble of words, the Government, Sage and all of its outriders need to be held to account for what, to many, seems a deliberate act of cruelty.

“Two-thirds of New York City’s Arts and Culture Jobs Are Gone” – in one year. (This job loss is not the result of creative destruction; it’s the result of destructive destruction – pointless, tyrannical, deranged, civilization-sledgehammering destruction.)

Freddie Sayers is rightly aghast at humanity’s sheepishness in the face of lockdown tyranny. A slice:

How did we come to be here? The political argument against lockdowns was lost, comprehensively and globally. The awkward-squad journalists who styled themselves as “lockdown sceptics” were systematically pilloried; the scientists who thought there were better ways were shut down. The campaign was effective and only made easier by the careless statements of the “sceptics” themselves.

No one now wants to hear arguments about Sweden, which — still now — poses an awkward counter-factual to lockdown, with its strikingly similar (although less bad) epidemic trajectory to the UK, or India with its partial herd immunity and mysteriously small death rate in comparison to ours; no one wants to admit the stubborn absence of any clear dataset showing that countries with more stringent restrictions performed better than those that avoided them.


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