The corona virus lockdown is a colossal blunder repeated by most governments around the world. It could not happen in a free society.
The corona virus lockdown is a colossal blunder repeated by most governments around the world. It could not happen in a free society. The future suffering it will inflict is still hidden from most people. But it will come, and with it a decline in faith in government.
The British Government has made yet another remarkable mess of trying to explain its increasingly complicated lockdown rules. A reason for this could be that lockdown is itself a mistake. How do we know? Well in Sweden they avoided a lockdown.
What happened there? Far fewer people have died with the corona virus proportionate to the population in Sweden than in Britain, or indeed in France or Italy. The Swedes kept everything open. They have avoided the bankruptcy, unemployment and psychological damage inflicted – for no reason it turns out - here in Britain. (The world slump will however affect activity there too, unfortunately, as well as everywhere else.)
Clearly the lockdown has been medically useless. Indeed, it may have been downright counterproductive. There will be many non-corona virus deaths – suicides of bankrupt and unemployed people, victims of domestic violence, and untreated non-corona emergencies. And the population has unwisely been kept indoors. That means they will remain vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is crucial to the immune system. Lack of it may well explain the incidence of winter colds in temperate climates in the first place. Most people being tested here at the moment are seriously Vitamin D deficient, despite the recent good weather.
In contrast, the Swedes will as usual have dashed into the sun at the first sign of decent weather. They have been enjoying themselves in pubs and restaurants, and congregating in parks and by the lakes and the sea. They will not generally be Vitamin D deficient. They will also achieve mass or ‘herd’ immunity. This has been helped by keeping schools open so children can play their vital role in spreading the virus around.
Once 80% of the population has been exposed to a virus and has immunity the remaining 20% is safe because the virus dies out. That means the medically vulnerable are no longer threatened.
But in Britain lockdown has delayed the achievement of mass immunity. It has left the vulnerable threatened for longer. It has raised the spectre of a second wave of corona virus in the autumn, which I suggest won’t happen in Sweden. Here the IYIs (Intellectuals Yet Idiots) in government insisted that the economy, which is operated by people under 60 who are basically unaffected by corona virus, should be shut down.
Brilliant really brilliant! It does not cost IYIs anything if they trash 100,000s or even millions of livelihoods and businesses. They have never run any productive activity for the most part. Another million unemployed? No problem. We will just print another £100 billion. (Although Dr Ferguson at Imperial College did get fired for hypocritically breaking his own lockdown – perhaps he never actually believed his own GIGO projections that Boris Johnson relied on.)
The saga of lies and half truths begins with poor Boris being made to look a fool in March. He solemnly explained to parliament and the nation that there would be 500,000 corona virus deaths without a lockdown and 250,000 with one. Well, even with blatant falsification of the causes-of-death, deaths with corona virus have been 10 times lower. So that wasn’t true. Then it was ‘save the NHS’. The NHS (negligently, one may have thought) failed to create reserve capacity for a bad winter cold year. Hospital capacity was hurriedly created. Hospitals were emptied. Infected patients were sent to nursing homes (which certainly bumped up the death rate) and other treatments were cancelled (ditto). Nightingale hospitals were erected and not used. That narrative was nonsense too.
Yet we are still asked to believe that the lockdown saves lives. But the example of Sweden (and non-lockdown US States) gives the lie to that. Now lockdowns may be prolonged to prevent a recurrence of the virus. But, if that ever happened, it would be the result of the lockdown itself. This is just another fake narrative.
If they had any integrity, or indeed common sense, governments would call off the lockdowns right now. They do not. Governments try to blame ‘the virus’ for the damage their lockdowns are causing. (In the United States, Democratic politicians are clearly also prolonging lockdowns to damage the economy and President Trump’s re-election chances.)
What has happened here is in fact comparable to other bad flu years. The same or a higher proportion of the British population died of all causes in the winter seasons in 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2017. I believe many more died in the 1968 (Hong Kong Flu) and 1956-1957 (Asian Flu) seasons. Why are we under house arrest now?
There is a Star Trek episode where Mr Spock’s Vulcan senses detect the destruction of a distant planet. It is an immediate emotional shock for him. Kirk and McCoy don’t get it. It’s not immediate or tangible to them. Relatively few people can really make any kind of trade-off between a present hurt, in this case inflicted by an unpleasant but not unprecedented illness, and a much bigger, future amount of hurt.
Most people have never been taught economics. They do not see it as a real discipline concerned with human decision making. They think its principles can be violated without loss. Most also do not understand accounts, cash flow or running a business. So, they genuinely cannot see the psychological and economic damage that is heading our way. Between the Austro-libertarian community, grounded in the Austrian school of economics, and the MSM (mis)informed populace there is an apparently unbridgeable gap.
But there won’t always be. When that much greater pain hits them in the here and now; when the cheques stop arriving - or do not buy so much; they will be looking for answers.
In a free society there could be no lockdown. It flat contradicts the Non-aggression principle (NAP). Nor could there be any heavy-handed state police surveillance. There would be no cost-plus government monopolies. Instead many independent centres of decision would be allowed to do a better job of responding to the virus. This would be especially true because decision makers would be managers and enterprises with business expertise and skin in the game – unlike IYI officials and politicians. People would be free to make their own decisions. Some would self-isolate or cease trading. Some would not.
The key point is this. The whole lockdown mess could not happen in a free society. None of it. All the bankruptcy, unemployment and depression that is coming because of this public policy mistake would be avoided.