In short, America is now an elective dictatorship. Unlike almost all historical dictatorships, however, these are dictatorships within a federal system. Every governor makes it up as he goes along… but he only makes it up for his own state. Elections will still happen, possibly replacing one dictator with another. But until those days of reckoning, whoever won the last election has a remarkably free hand to do as he pleases.
What has this freakish experiment in federalist dictatorship taught us? I’m curious to hear your thoughts, but here are the biggest lessons I’ve drawn thus far.
1. The variance of policy under federalist dictatorship has been vast. My friend in Alabama barely remembers the lockdown because it lasted so briefly. Californians endured major – and repeated – restrictions on their freedom for months at a time.
Graphs depicting projections of large numbers of deaths, often based on worst-case scenarios, were presented to parliamentary committees to persuade legislators — as if they needed any persuading — to restrict their people’s freedoms and subject them to greater government control. In May 2021, some of the UK scientists involved in those early fear campaigns apologised for being unethical and totalitarian.
The public was also subjected daily to images of increasingly rumpled and bleary-eyed politicians behind microphones at their media conferences, shoulder to shoulder with their competitively rumpled and bleary-eyed health advisors, delivering ever-worsening news and using it to justify more severe directives to control people’s behaviour.
Another fundamental tendency of fear is to make people eager to sacrifice something in order to defeat the perceived threat. Strange as it is to a rational mind, fearful people automatically presume that if they give up something important to them, then this action will help to reduce or remove the peril. For this reason, throughout human history, people have sacrificed the things most dear to them in order to avert a perceived threat.
The same criticism applies to much of our Covid policy. Why, when the worst is over, is the Government seeking to renew its emergency powers for a further six months? Yes, of course something unexpected might turn up, but we don’t give ministers the right to rule without parliamentary oversight on the off chance.
Similarly, why the push to vaccinate 12- to 15-year-olds? We keep being told that the politicians follow the scientists, but the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation concluded that it could not recommend the mass inoculation of healthy kids. According to Stanford University, the infection survival rate for people under the age of 19 is 99.9973 per cent.