How this began: The virus was here (the US) already for months from 2019 and life went on normally. Once the consciousness seeped in and the politicians panicked, we moved quickly from travel restrictions to lockdowns to mask mandates to domestic capacity restrictions to vaccine mandates. Somewhere along the way, we learned to classify people by profession, stigmatize the sick, then finally to demonize the noncompliant. It’s been 20 months of intensified controls, driven by political leaders from both parties, with precious little dissent from media organs.
To list the myriad examples of what constitutes “cancel culture,” one would risk becoming a statistician of gutter trivia. It would involve elevating a great deal of journalistic minutiae to the level of moral contemplation in a manner that eventually would become exhausting.
For more than a year, due mainly to liberal policies associated with Covid-phobia and lockdowns, the U.S. has experienced various types and magnitudes of labor shortages. In short, the quantity of labor demanded by would-be employers has exceeded quantities supplied by would-be employees, especially in the service sector. The phenomenon is neither accidental nor temporary. Joblessness has been both mandated (by shutdowns of “nonessential” businesses) and subsidized (with lucrative and extended “jobless benefits”), which makes it difficult for many businesses to attract and hire labor of sufficient quantity, quality, reliability, and affordability.
2020 was not the best year for many, leaving us feeling less hopeful and uneasy about the future. Aside from the health toll of the pandemic, lockdowns left students in the cold, and crushed businesses, leaving people jobless and struggling to survive. The destruction was real, but is our despair about the future objectively merited -- or are we ignoring evidence that suggests hope is a more realistic attitude?
Besides “capitalism,” the two concepts perhaps most reviled by left-leaning intellectuals are “neoliberalism” and “supply-side economics.” These intellectuals harbor an odd antagonism, because each concept is associated with greater freedom, prosperity, and security. As such, one might suspect that the antagonists yearn for something other than these human values.
Think for a moment about Directive 10-289. It was passed via executive edict amidst a collapsing economy. Factories were shutting down. Workers were fleeing their jobs. Production was grinding to a halt. People were starting to panic. Government decided to do something to fix the problem. It ordered everyone to keep doing what they were doing before. It tried to stop history.
The last 14 months elevated a global group of intellectuals and bureaucrats about which most people had previously cared very little. Among them, the ones who believe least in freedom entrenched their power, thanks to a big push by the lavishly funded but largely discredited World Health Organization. The WHO tapped an “independent panel” (the fix was already in: the panel’s head is former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark) to figure out what the world did right and did wrong in response to Covid-19. The final report has all the expected verbiage about the needs for more global coordination and largesse going to public health.
Repeatedly this year we have heard the admonition, from acolytes of Covid-19 lockdowns, to “follow the science.” Many of the admonishers presume that lockdown skeptics are myopic, “anti-science” miscreants infected with a reckless disregard for human health, safety, and life. Yes, some people are so emotional, phobic, religious, or political that they cannot reason right; but can there be no rational, healthy skepticism about the health effects of Covid-19 or the health-wealth effects of lockdowns? Nothing can be farther from the truth – nothing farther from . . . science.