Ah, so Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, one of garbling Joe Biden’s campaign surrogates, says Biden will indeed consider a national lockdown if elected. Oh, fine. And Biden accused Trump of destroying the economy? These dumb-asses must think people have memory spans of about a second.
There are several gigantic problems with foggy Joe’s idea: first, it’s not within a president’s power to impose a nationwide lockdown, as the chorus of experts reminded us last spring when Trump mentioned it. Second, the evidence suggests that lockdowns don’t work to eliminate the virus; they delay its spread at best. Third, as we’ve witnessed, lockdowns themselves have enormous public health consequences, leading to a variety of severe maladies, despondency, and excess non-COVID deaths. That’s simply unacceptable. Finally, the economic damage imposed by lockdowns is horrific and often permanent. We’re talking about destroying the independent livelihoods of people. Permanently! Lockdowns are especially hard on those at the bottom of the economic ladder, who are disproportionately minorities. That’s so obvious, and yet very difficult for elites to gather in.
Here’s another one: today Biden said he would impose a “national mandate” on masks and social distancing on Day One of his presidency. Like lockdowns, evidence is accumulating that masks do not work to contain the virus, and in fact they might be counter-productive (also see here, here, here, and here). Biden’s people will probably also insist on a mandating a government-approved contact-tracing app on your cell phone. Not if I can help it! But don’t get me wrong… I wear a mask in public buildings as an act of voluntary cooperation and to be polite. I also hold out some hope that it will keep the viral load minimal should anything float my way, but whatever lands on the mask might stick with it … and me!
Measures like those Biden contemplates are major assaults on our liberty. And the thing is, if any of it comes to pass, the restrictions might never go away. We’ll be asked to do this every flu season, or perhaps permanently to protect each other from “germs”. This is an authoritarian move, one that we should all resist, even if you’re freaked out by the virus. The best way to resist right now is to vote for Donald Trump.
And please, don’t give me any bullshit about our “responsibility” to lock down, and how mandatory masks are necessary to protect the vulnerable. Is poverty now a “responsibility”? The most highly vulnerable can be protected without masks, and maybe better. Beyond that, people must be free to determine their own level of risk tolerance, just as they have for millennia with respect to a broad spectrum of serious risks, pathogens or otherwise. That’s a dimension of freedom about which no one should be so cavalier.