The epidemiologists asked to advise governments almost invariably admitted that what they were advocating was only based on their projections of Covid cases and Covid deaths, devoid of any analysis of the effects these actions would have on public health, the economy, education and other important aspects of life. They nonetheless had no problem advocating lockdowns and other draconian measures.
Long before the vaccine was created, market signals from China indicated the virus wasn’t terribly lethal for the healthy, but much the same was revealed here. In other words, in a world without a vaccine, the healthy were going to get the virus, but the natural immunity achieved was going to render them less liable to get it again, and spread it.
We’ve long misconstrued who precisely can be part of the intellectual battle. Everyone without exception can qualify as an intellectual provided he or she is willing to take ideas seriously. Anyone and everyone is entitled to be part of it. Those who feel the burden and the passion of ideas more intensely, in Mises’s view, have a greater obligation to thrust themselves into the battle, even when doing so can bring disdain and isolation from one’s fellows – and doing so most certainly will (which is why so many people who should have known better have fallen silent).
In a world in which not every human being lives an isolated existence – that is, in our world – each of us incessantly acts in ways that affect strangers without thereby justifying government-imposed restrictions on the great majority of these actions. Therefore, justification of government obstruction of the ordinary affairs of life requires far more than an identification of the prospect of some interpersonal impact.
We all make our own decisions based on our risk tolerances. Yes, that’s the most workable solution of all. Would that we had seen the merit of this approach back in March 2020 before the world pursued the worst and most destructive policies of virus containment in living memory (or probably ever).
The biggest problem was an intellectual failing, and it was one shared by media elites and high-end intellectuals. They had not come to terms with the core truth that pathogens are part of the world around us and always have been. New viruses come along and their trajectory follows certain patterns. In humanity’s delicate dance with them, we need intelligence, rationality, and clarity in order to avoid the illusion of control – none of which are strengths of government.
“I had hoped that the fires of liberty, burning within the hearts of the American public, would have been strong enough to stop this kind of tyranny from being visited upon us. I would have predicted massive pushback, but it did not happen for a good part of the year. People were mired in fear and confusion. It felt like wartime, with a population traumatized by shock and awe.” ~ Jeffrey Tucker
As tucker shows, this virus like all previous viral flus will give way only to herd immunity and to the natural immunity of most human beings to the worst effects. Whether through natural propagation of an extremely infectious pathogen, or through the success of one of the hundreds of vaccine projects, or through the mutation of the virus to ubiquitous predictability like the common cold, the virus will become a trivial event.