People must be ‘crazy’ about COVID – and more

From early 2020 through 2022, government officials in most countries introduced a series of draconian measures that were claimed to be necessary to protect the public from COVID-19. In ostensibly democratic countries like the United States, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, officials didn’t bother with the legislation – they just decreed that schools should be closed, masks should be worn, people should be vaccinated, essential businesses should be closed. and other mandates. They have also introduced numerous bans such as gathering for religious, sporting or cultural events and even spending a day at the beach. The execution of all their dictates was vigorous and sometimes cruel.

When a few people dared to question the necessity or legitimacy of the COVID policy, officials responded that they were only doing what “science” called the right answer, usually followed by hints that the doubters were dangerous, retrograde people. who don’t understand anything. I don’t care about the risk to my life. Even infectious disease experts who disagreed that there was any scientific basis for the multitude of rules were ridiculed, vilified and “deplatformed”. The last such concerted attack on free speech in the US was during World War I, when the Wilson administration did its best to silence critics of the war.

The COVID response has resulted in a huge confinement. But officials and their many allies scoffed: “So what? Fools should not be allowed to make their own decisions when the experts know what is best.”

But now, despite efforts to suppress it, information has leaked out indicating that the COVID policy was a big mistake, imposed by arrogant officials who followed not science but their authoritarian instincts. They didn’t tell people the truth about COVID, but they lied to justify their assertion of power. They did not do what was in the public interest, but what was in the interests of certain groups of influence.

Many people are outraged at the harm done by the tyrants who made decisions on COVID.

One of them is James Allan, professor of law at the University of Queensland in Australia. In his recent article “I’m still mad at what the political class did to us” he explains why politicians and their allies are utterly contemptible. He writes of their hardline approach:

It was heavy-handed, gangster, and overwhelmingly contrary to the data – the data we had at the time to be clear. The dominance of the doctor caste and the vast majority of journalists were also to blame, who showed no skepticism and became hardly better than fear-mongering government PR agents, not unlike Is it true in this respect.

Professor Allan is particularly outraged by the revelations in the UK that Health Secretary Matt Hancock has decided to use his position to raise the level of concern about illness as much as possible in order to achieve maximum compliance. We know this because he gave journalist Isabelle Oakeshott access to his writing so she could write a book about the government’s handling of COVID. She was expected to write a sycophantic book and keep the texts secret, but when she read them, she was simply horrified and made them public. (This look from behind the curtain is like revealing here nefarious relationship between Democrats and Twitter in promoting information they wanted people to believe while hiding information they didn’t want us to know.)

Allan continues:

It was in the public interest that people see these texts and know that their political class consists of charlatans and heartless fanatics, driven by self-interest, inventing things on the fly and constantly repeating “this is science” when they knew it. it was just guesswork and a cover to look good politically.

That’s right, and officials in the US did the same thing.

Like dr. Scott Atlas notes in Newsweek, “America’s response to COVID was based on lies.” He wrote,

The tragic failure of reckless, unprecedented restrictions that go against the established science of the pandemic, and the enormous additional harm these policies have on children, the elderly, and low-income families, is undeniable and well-documented in numerous studies. It was the biggest, most tragic and most unethical failure of public health leadership in modern history.

The Atlas points out that despite the fact that there was little or no evidence to support the dictates of the authorities and – even at an early stage – a lot of evidence against them, we were told over and over again that (I will list only some of the lies he discusses): COVID had a much higher mortality rate than the flu, that everyone was at significant risk of dying from it, that asymptomatic people were the main drivers of the disease, that masks provide protection and stop the spread, and vaccines stop the disease.

And instead of listening to and discussing different points of view, officials tried their best to silence and discredit critics. Authors Great Barrington Declarationthree respected specialists were named “extreme epidemiologists»Director of the National Institutes of Health Dr. Francis Collins. The approach advocated by these scholars would benefit the most vulnerable and hurt the least for everyone else, but it does not involve large-scale government intervention. This idea should have been dropped!

Collins and his ilk behaved not like scientists seeking the truth, but like defenders of an ideology that brooked no controversy. People should be angry about this.

Another medical expert who has sought to educate the public about the appalling behavior of government officials during COVID is Dr. Marty Macari of Johns Hopkins. He points In this article What:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has weaponized research by publishing their flawed research in their own non-peer-reviewed medical journal, MMWR. Ultimately, public health officials actively spread misinformation that ruined lives and forever undermined public confidence in the medical profession.

Indeed, one should not trust either the doctors, or the “civil servants” who shoved their reflex authoritarian COVID “decisions” down our throats, or the journalists who were accomplices in the disaster.

But we must not stop there.

The government’s authoritarian COVID-19 policy is just the most obvious evidence that putting anything important under government control is a terrible idea.

Here’s a huge lesson from the terrible response to COVID: government officials are just as selfish as any other people. It doesn’t always mean lining our pockets at the expense of the rest of us; it also means savoring the power to control the behavior of others. It means being able to do things that harm a lot of ordinary people while getting the approval of special interest groups and the press.

If people learn these lessons, they are on the right track to understanding public choice theory. Public choice teaches that government “solutions” to problems often make things worse because the people who are responsible are imperfect, fallible, corrupt like everyone else. Moreover, they are usually shielded from the adverse consequences of their decisions, so they have little incentive to correct their mistakes.

Public choice is the antidote to the romantic view of a government that carefully uses power to make society better. This is hardly true.

If people are now skeptical about allowing government officials to dictate to us how we should behave during an outbreak, they can also be persuaded to be skeptical about allowing government officials to control education, energy policy, and more.

Public schools do a poor job of teaching their students. Why? Because the educational bureaucracy is allied with the teachers’ unions and doesn’t suffer in the slightest if students graduate from high school. not enough skills which almost all fourth-graders had.

State energy officials are mainly fighting for “green” energy sources. They seek to replace fossil fuels with wind and solar generation as quickly as possible so that the Earth does not overheat. They are allied with certain interest groups and do not listen to people who are in favor of a free energy market, just as the lockers did not listen to those who did not agree with them.

How bad can things get?

Have you ever heard of A year without summer? It was 1816 and the weather in the US was so bad that there was no harvest. The cause was a volcanic eruption that covered the atmosphere with so much dust and ash that much less sunlight hit the Earth’s surface than usual. Our population is now much larger than in 1816 and is very dependent on electricity. What happens if we have another major volcanic eruption after the government switches us off fossil fuels? The answer is that a huge number of people would freeze to death and starve to death.

If you dig into almost any government bureaucracy, you will find that the officials in charge are not experts dedicated to public welfare, but instead are ordinary people who happen to meet the right people in order to get comfortable jobs where they can command others. . They always cause a lot of unforeseen harm.

Maybe there is a positive side to the COVID disaster. The control freaks who seized power may have overdone it so much that the result is a widespread aversion to so much trust in government.

Think of the situation in America as a chess game where one side has a big advantage on the board and thinks “Mother of Three” but then makes a move that is too aggressive and loses the queen. Here’s what could happen when the COVID authoritarians (or as I call them in my romance The Takers have so alienated countless Americans with their brazen encroachments on freedom since early 2020. We have a “teachable moment” in our country where people can see how bad state control really is.

So our task ahead is to make the most of this discovery, to throw the forces of etatism on the defensive.

George Leaf

George Leaf

George Leaf is director of editorial content for the James J. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Carroll College, Waukesha, Wisconsin, and a Juris Doctor degree from Duke University School of Law. He was Vice President of the John Locke Foundation until 2003.

A regular columnist for, Leaf was the book review editor for The Freeman, published by the Foundation for Economic Education, from 1996 to 2012. He has published many articles in The Freeman, Reason, The Free Market, Cato Journal, The Detroit. News, independent review and regulation. He writes regularly for the National Review blog The Corner and for EdWatchDaily.

He recently wrote a novel Awakening Jennifer Van Arsdale (Books Bombardier, 2022).

Get notifications of new articles from George Leaf and AIER.