The mantra of “follow the science” is not unique to the politics of the virus. Politicians offer a similar justification for policies on climate change. Just as the science about Covid-19 “justifies” lockdowns, the science of climate change is used to support spending and regulatory policy that will deliver zero net emissions.
About Hunter Hastings
Hunter Hastings is the Executive Director at Center for Individualism. He's an economist, venture capitalist, and lifelong advocate for liberty, economic freedom, and individual entrepreneurship.
Hunter’s current research is focused on the intersection of 21st century individualism, emerging technology and the radical decentralization that is freeing markets and creating a new spectrum of individual opportunity. His newest book is The Interconnected Individual, co-authored with Jeff Saperstein, to be published by Business Expert Press in 2018.
If you were a businessman at the head of a great corporation you would think three times before you spoke out on a major issue: about the IRS getting ready to come and audit your accounts; about the Department of Justice standing only too ready to launch an antitrust suit against you; and about the FTC attacking your advertising; and the FDA attacking the products you produce. You are not free to speak if you are in that position.
How can the devastation still be running so rampant — and have segued, unchecked, from deadly disease to economic disaster? Our diagnosis, not as medical experts but as students of leadership, is that many leaders stumbled in the fundamental step of determining the nature of the challenge they faced and identifying the different kinds of thinking that had to be brought to bear on it at different points.
While many existing businesses have been forced to shut down, optimistic newcomers push ahead, in part out of a joy in being their own boss. The pandemic has produced a supercharged version of “creative destruction,” the theory that a good economy thrives when older businesses lose their way and innovative ones spot an opening.
Income equality has no moral basis: there is no ethical reason why people ought to earn exactly the same, especially when the productivity and importance of different forms of labor vary. Thankfully, the American people agree. It’s why an overwhelming 77% of them value freedom over equality.
Should the political class that helped depress the economy be empowered to centrally plan its revival? The revival plan amounts to politicians passing around the trillions of others and just adds to the Twilight Zone nature of today’s economic discussion. The economy is weak, so hand trillions to Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell to revive it with.
The young and healthy should resume normal activity in order to incur herd immunity and thereby protect those vulnerable to severe illness. The authors urge the adoption of this strategy, which they call “Focused Protection,” in light of increasing evidence that “current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health.
Despite the astounding success of the free enterprise system in producing unprecedented prosperity, antagonism toward capitalism is growing, and popular politicians are adopting platforms that are essentially socialist. Capitalism has never been more fruitful and never more hated by its beneficiaries than it is today.
You may object that ideas are a dime a dozen and that to make them fruitful we must start with adequate physical and human capital and good institutions. But the root cause of enrichment was and is the liberal idea, spawning the university, the railway, the high-rise, the internet and, most important, our liberties.
Free-market police would not only be efficient, they would have a strong incentive to be courteous and to refrain from brutality against either their clients or their clients’ friends or customers. A private Central Park would be guarded efficiently in order to maximize park revenue, rather than have a prohibitive curfew imposed on innocent—and paying—customers.
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