The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, May 10, 2020


With each passing week, it becomes more and more obvious (to those of us who have refused to be gripped by fear and hysteria), that the worldwide governmental approach to COVID-19 may very well have been among the greatest mistakes in modern history. Dennis Prager comments:
The idea that the worldwide lockdown of virtually every country other than Sweden may have been an enormous mistake strikes many -- including world leaders; most scientists, especially health officials, doctors and epidemiologists; those who work in major news media; opinion writers in those media; and the hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people who put their faith in these people -- as so preposterous as to be immoral. Timothy Egan of The New York Times described Republicans who wish to enable their states to open up as "the party of death."

... for those intellectually challenged by the English language and/or logic, "mistake" and "evil" are not synonyms. The lockdown is a mistake; the Holocaust, slavery, communism, fascism, etc., were evils. Massive mistakes are made by arrogant fools; massive evils are committed by evil people.

The forcible prevention of Americans from doing anything except what politicians deem "essential" has led to the worst economy in American history since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It is panic and hysteria, not the coronavirus, that created this catastrophe. And the consequences in much of the world will be more horrible than in America.
There is absolutely no chance that any politician or health policy expert (e.g., Drs. Fauci or Birx) would admit that the global lockdown is a mistake, and there is no easy way to prove that it has been. Yet, there is persistent evidence that the cure will become worse than the disease itself. Prager continues:

The United Nations World Food Programme, or the WFP, states that by the end of the year, more than 260 million people will face starvation -- double last year's figures. According to WFP director David Beasley on April 21: "We could be looking at famine in about three dozen countries. ... There is also a real danger that more people could potentially die from the economic impact of COVID-19 than from the virus itself" (italics added).

That would be enough to characterize the worldwide lockdown as a deathly error. But there is much more. If global GDP declines by 5%, another 147 million people could be plunged into extreme poverty, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute ...

The lockdown is "possibly even more catastrophic (than the virus) in its outcome: the collapse of global food-supply systems and widespread human starvation" (italics added). That was published in the left-wing The Nation, which, nevertheless, enthusiastically supports lockdowns. But the American left cares as much about the millions of non-Americans reduced to hunger and starvation because of the lockdown as it does about the people of upstate New York who have no incomes, despite the minuscule number of coronavirus deaths there. Or about the citizens of Oregon, whose governor has just announced the state will remain locked down until July 6. As of this writing, a total of 109 people have died of the coronavirus in Oregon.
The key here is to consider the simple reality that we made a mistake and change direction. That means opening up our world as quickly (and safely) as possible. 

But, of course, the catastrophists will push back, suggesting, as they always do, that human lives are at stake. They're right, but not in the way they think. John Lee, MD has written a lengthy article entitled: "Ten reasons to end the lockdown now: Lockdown is impairing our ability to live with the effects of this virus, while not changing the long game."

In his treatise, Lee writes about the U.K. lockdown, but his arguments are equally valid for the USA:
Even if you could understand why lockdown was imposed, it very rapidly became apparent that it had not been thought through. Not in terms of the wider effects on society (which have yet to be counted) and not even in terms of the ways that the virus itself might behave. But at the start, there was hardly any evidence. Everyone was guessing. Now we have a world of evidence, from around the globe, and the case for starting to reverse lockdown is compelling. Here are 10 reasons why I believe that it is wrong to continue with lockdown and why we should start to reverse it immediately and rapidly.
Lee argues that: (1) policy cannot and should not be guided by "raw death figures" alone;  (2) basing policy on early and highly inaccurate modeling results was a major mistake; (3) we really have no clear evidence that the lockdown will work in the middle and long term and in fact, might prolong the virulence of the virus; (4) easing the lockdown will likely save lives, not take them; (5) the lockdown is NOT sustainable for any meaningful length of time; (6) the lockdown was not targeted on the population cohort most threatened by COVID-19 and should have been; (7) the lockdown has a significant negative impact of the population cohorts that are generally unaffected by the virus; (8) health services were NOT overwhelmed nationally and were unlikely to have been overwhelmed, regardless of government response; (9) COVID-19 virulence will attenuate with time, and it will not be a constant threat, even lacking a vaccine; (10) the population has demonstrated that in the main, it can be trusted to act with common sense. Lee provides copious real world evidence to support his arguments. Read the whole thing.

There is little doubt that a complete lockdown of major countries has been a mistake—well-intentioned at the beginning—but a mistake, nonetheless. Those who insist on its continuation do so out of unthinking hysteria or for ulterior motives that have become political. It's time to correct the mistake, and to do so immediately.

UPDATE (5/11/2020):
Joel Kotkin has an interesting take on the events of the past two-plus months:
Even as we try to battle the COVID-19 pestilence, we may be contracting a more dangerous virus — hygienic fascism. This involves a process when our political leaders defer to a handful of “experts,” amid what Dr. Joseph Ladopo, an associate professor at the UCLA School of Medicine, describes as an atmosphere of “COVID-19-induced terror.”

Ideologically, hygienic fascism is neither right nor left, nor is it simply a matter of taking necessary precautions. It is about imposing, over a long period of time, highly draconian regulations based on certain assumptions about public health. In large part, it regards science not so much as a search for knowledge but as revealed “truth” with definitive “answers.” Anyone opposed to the conventional stratagem, including recognized professionals, are largely banished as mindless Trumpistas, ignoramuses, or worse. Experience may show that debate and diversity of choices serve the public's health and general well-being better than unchallenged rule by a few, largely unaccountable individuals.

Even some non-Trumpians — like Elon Musk — see this as less an adherence to scientific standards than a “fascist” attempt to impose often impossible conditions on society and the economy, and without popular recourse. That these orders are often issued by the executive, and in the vast majority of states without legislative recourse, certainly follows an authoritarian pattern.
Maybe that's why the majority of catastrophists come from The Left—an inherently authoritarian ideology. They support the notion that our country should remain closed until [enter unachievable and continuously changing goals]. If we follow their lead, we're on a road to ruin.