The lockdowns were not a terrible idea because Covid-19 is not a serious illness.
...and if enough of us don't comprehend the reasons they were, we'll just be in for more of the same.
(Originally posted in June of 2020.)
I am going to say this over and over and over again:
The reason the lockdowns were/are a terrible idea is NOT that Covid-19 is "not a very serious threat."
Yes, for the vast majority of the population, it is true that it's not a very serious threat.
BUT THAT IS NOT THE POINT.
Even if Covid-19 were airborne ebola, or something even more horrifying, centralized decisions, imposed from the top down, by people who will never have to pay for the harm they do, would STILL BE A TERRIBLE SOLUTION!!!
Because centralized, coercive, decision making is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS THE WORST POSSIBLE WAY TO MAKE DECISIONS.
Because Knowledge Problem (no central authority can possibly have the same knowledge that thousands or millions of individuals do about what their wants and needs and risk tolerances are);
Because Calculation Problem (without private ownership and decision-making, and the signals that come from that, the people making things can't know how much of what is needed or wanted);
Because no accountability (coercive authorities are never held accountable for their actions - that is the whole foundation of government);
We are seeing the results of authoritarian, centralized decision-making in a crisis unfold around us in real time: From an inability to test for Covid-19 because of the CDC's monopoly on testing; to shortages of basic items due to anti-price-gouging laws (and foolish policies by some private vendors); to a massive, unprecedented shutdown of a huge portion of the economy, with no rational justification, and that will yield untold costs in livelihoods, psychological wellbeing, and even lives... to NY Governor Cuomo's murderous order forcing nursing homes to become death-traps for the elderly.
It is troubling that I even have to point this out. I feel like I'm living in a massive dysfunctional family where everyone else wants to put the blame anywhere but where it actually belongs: On the abusive "parent" figure of the state.
But I'm going to keep on saying it until the rest of you see what's right in front of you.
And I promise not to make fun of you when you finally do.
Because this doesn't end with Covid-19. One day, there will be an even more terrifying threat. And because they've established the precedent of shutting down and controlling our entire lives over this relatively mild one, they will then say:
"Well! Whatever you thought of Covid-19, you have to admit that THIS TIME we are facing an extremely dangerous threat indeed! THIS TIME, you cannot deny that we need the government to step in and save us all!"
We have seen, over and over and over again, that government "stepping in" only ever makes things much much worse. Humanity cannot afford another lesson in this.
Which is why it is so critical for people to understand this:
The lockdowns were not a terrible idea because Covid-19 is not a serious illness. They were a terrible idea because centralized, coercive decision-making is ALWAYS a terrible idea. We have a whole century of experience to show us this, and now we have this living example right in front of us.
Please don't let your emotional attachment to the state blind you to this lesson. We really might not survive having to go through it one more time.