We are told that there are only two paths during this COVID-19 pandemic: a total authoritarian lockdown or one big college break beach party that tosses all precautions to the wind. No, there’s a better path. We must #FreeThePeople to get essential economic functions back up, using common sense and human innovation to keep us safe.
We are told to defer to government bureaucrats and politicians—the experts best suited to manage this crisis. But they are the ones who have failed, catastrophically, every step of the way. The World Health Organization lied at the behest of the Chinese government, covering up the virus and allowing it to spread unchecked. The Centers for Disease Control failed to sound the alarm. They had one job. Having monopolized the production of COVID-19 testing, the CDC then, finally, delivered a botched product. The Food and Drug Administration blocked private alternatives to government tests, and slow-walked promising treatments that could have saved lives. A federal stockpile of medical masks and other emergency equipment was left depleted by the Obama Administration, and never restored by Congress or the Trump Administration. What remains is reportedly rotten and unusable.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told all of us in late January that the risk was “very, very low” and nothing to worry about. By late February, he was still advising Americans not change their behavior.
Congress passed $2.2 trillion legislation that incentivizes essential workers to walk away, with new unemployment benefits totaling (including state payouts) some $55,000 a year. Small business loans are impossible to get, and massive corporate bailouts have empty planes flying to nowhere.
So when government deciders tell you that there is no choice but to maintain the lockdowns that are strangling us, tell them: please stop helping. You’re hurting. Stop deciding for us. Stop meddling as if you’re just throwing ideas at the wall like spaghetti in hopes that something finally sticks. Stop all this madness and free the people, because we are the ones who will 1. Keep people safe, 2. Rebuild the distributed production of food that will keep people fed, and 3. Get back to work so we can all afford to keep health care workers paid and hospitals open.
I know politicians will never let this happen. They will come up with new “bold plans” that create even more destructive, if unintended, consequences. Because to rebuild right would require those who screwed up to admit past mistakes, and to demonstrate a new humility moving forward.
So the rest of us, still free people, will have to insist that our “leaders” stand down, so that we can do the hard work of putting things back together again.