These principles can help risk assessments function as intended – as a tool to help individuals and communities evaluate risk and put in place targeted measures, to contain and ultimately reduce anxiety, and to move away from more performative measures that simply serve to entrench anxiety and cause harm, without any benefit.
The lockdowns are looking less like a gigantic error and more like the unfolding of a fanatical political ideology and policy experiment that attacks core postulates of civilization at their very root. It’s time we take it seriously and combat it with the same fervor with which a free people resisted all the other evil ideologies that sought to strip humanity of dignity and replace freedom with the terrifying dreams of intellectuals and their government sock puppets.
The great turn from ancient political and economic structures into more modern ones was not only about property rights, commercial freedoms, and the participation of ever greater waves of people in public life. There was also an implicit epidemiological deal to which we agreed, what Sunetra Gupta describes as an endogenous social contract.
Every age has generated some fashionable and overriding reason why people cannot be free. Public health is the reason of the moment. In this author’s telling, everything we think we know about the social and political order must conform to his number one priority of pathogen avoidance and suppression, while every other concern (such as freedom itself) should take a back seat.
We need desperately to rethink the panicked ideology that consumed the nation last year and still consumes the world today. Liberty and health go together. These plans to eradicate the next germ to come along eradicate instead everything we love about life, namely its liberty and our rights to choose.
A system that would severely damage human psychological health and thus, morality would be one that dramatically uproots every freedom that people had previously taken for granted. The phrase “unleash hell” comes to mind; that is literally what lockdowns did to this country. We see it in surveys of mental health and it manifests itself in crime and the general collapse of public morals.
If it is possible to mash together hard science, poetry, epidemiology, and sociology, it is this book. It is not a huge treatise but closer to an extended essay. Every sentence is pregnant with meaning. Reading it not only made my heart race but also caused my imagination to run wild. It’s both bracing and beautiful.
We are not atomistic. We do not live in isolation. We live as a decentralized network of free people, cooperating together out of choice and to our mutual betterment. We owe it to ourselves and to each other to fight for the right to continue to do so, and to beat back any and every attempt to take that right away.