Yet, the fact that the number of cases will go up as the economy reopens was fully expected since as a share of the population few people have actually been exposed to the virus. If a rising number of
cases is reason enough to stop everything – reason enough to again coerce the economy and life into deepfreeze – while we await a vaccine quickly that might, or might not, arrive, what do we think is going to happen?Governors around the country should end the lockdown and give businesses a shot at saving their businesses by reinventing some of the ways they serve their customers. Full reopening is no guarantee at all that consumers will come back quickly, of course. New data confirm what we already knew; namely, that many people did not wait for the governments to lock down the economy to stay home and shelter in place. Such fear-based behavior contributed much to the economic collapse. That means that most consumers will be careful and watch out for their health and that of others without government decrees telling them to do so this time around too. But at least give consumers and businesses a chance to find what works for them once the economy is reopened.
I conclude with a report from the
Washington Post. One is about Trump’s refusal to encourage people to wear masks. This, of course, comes on the tail of Dr. Fauci’s admission that he had intentionally misled the public about the usefulness of wearing masks so that they could be directed to health-care professionals.
And here is Fauci explaining how and why he lied: “He also acknowledged that masks were initially not recommended to the general public so that first responders wouldn’t feel the strain of a shortage of PPE. He explained that public health experts “were concerned the public health community, and many people were saying this, were concerned that it was at a time when personal protective equipment, including the N95 masks and the surgical masks, were in very short supply.”
It’s interesting that Americans started wearing self-made masks long before this Fauci admission showing that maybe they were buying it. However, for the most part, Americans
continue to trust Fauci. David Henderson, though, does not.
Seriously, reading the newspaper on a daily basis should make everyone question government’s intervention in our lives. But based on the support for both a populist protectionist Republican like Trump and his Democratic opponent for the presidency, Joe Biden, it doesn’t. So what are we to do?
I believe we should continue fighting the battle of ideas because when we are deep into the mess that both parties, and their underlying ideologies, are creating, some people will look for answers and for solutions outside the state. As Milton Friedman once said, “That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable.”
I take that task seriously.
Finally, I certainly feel obligated to intellectuals of the past who have fought for our freedoms in what were arguably even more depressing times. For that reason, I dedicated my professional life to answering Friedrich Hayek’s call to action that
“We must make the building of a free society once more an intellectual adventure, a deed of courage…. Unless we can make the philosophic foundations of a free society once more a living intellectual issue, and its implementation a task which challenges the ingenuity and imagination of our liveliest minds, the prospects of freedom are indeed dark. But if we can regain that belief in the power of ideas which was the mark of liberalism at its best, the battle is not lost.”
This, I believe, is why we continue fighting
AIER Senior Fellow Veronique de Rugy is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and a nationally syndicated columnist. This article first appeared at aier.org.