JPMorgan has a devastating piece arguing that infection rates have declined — not increased — in states where lockdowns have ended, “even after allowing for an appropriate measurement lag.” (Kolonavic)— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) May 20, 2020
That tells you a couple of things. First, the experts were wrong about the lockdown. In hindsight, it appears obvious, but it wasn't at the time. The initial restrictions were a good decision because our data from socialist China was so poor that we had to collect our own before we could accurately assess the situation. After that, the experts hit and passed the limits of their expertise and we would have been far better off doing our own, individual risk assessments.
Instead of economy-crippling, addiction-boosting lockdowns, it would have been better to temporarily ban large-scale, high-compression gatherings like subway rides and sporting events. Given what we quickly learned about mortality statistics, we would have been well-advised to isolate the elderly as well.
After that, the experts not only had nothing to offer, but actually, through their boundless hubris, did enormous damage with their mandates. A traditional, American response would have been for the experts to offer broad suggestions and allow the Normals to make their own decisions. Instead, as Michael Barone discussed in this essay, our nation has indeed been fundamentally transformed along progressive lines and we now grant far more authority to our aristocrats than they deserve.
Fundamental attitudes can change in a nation over half a century, and the very different responses to this year’s coronavirus epidemic and the influenzas of 50 and 60 years ago suggests that people today are much more risk averse, much more willing to undergo massive inconvenience and disruption to avoid marginal increases in fatal risk.The essay is typically excellent and worth reading the whole thing.
When progressives talk about fundamentally reshaping or reforming America, it's really all about risk avoidance. Everyone should get health insurance so no one has to risk being without it because some don't have a good enough job. Everyone should get housing because addicts can't afford it. Voting should be done almost automatically because some won't figure out how to go to the polls.
In short, the more of our decision-making we hand off to the experts, the lower our overall risk levels will be. At least that's the idea. It's all bollocks, of course. Our Ivy League aristocrats have gotten us a $25T+ debt, a losing, 20-year war in Afghanistan, culturally ruined black neighborhoods, below-replacement birth rates, familial decay through marriage avoidance and much, much more.
The experts hit their limits long, long ago, but we keep turning to them for advice. Some of it is worthwhile, but very little of it. We'd be far better off making our own decisions and handling our own lives instead of thinking they will create a Utopia that will save us from risk.