Coronavirus

The Pandemic Is a Case for Policy Humility

Politicians and policymakers know less than they think they do, in part because they have less power over our lives than they assume.

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One thing that's more clear than ever after a year of pandemic governance is that politicians and policymakers know less than they think they do, in part because they have less power over individual lives and choices than they assume. 

A brief case study: When Texas' Republican Gov. Greg Abbott lifted the state's mask mandate and ended all capacity limits at the beginning of March, becoming the first state to do so, his decision was greeted by a flood of high-profile criticism from left-leaning lawmakers and policymakers. 

California's Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has presided over the nation's most restrictive coronavirus policy regime, called the move "absolutely reckless." Andy Slavitt, President Joe Biden's senior advisor for COVID response, said, "We think it's a mistake to lift the mask mandates too early. Masks are saving a lot of lives." Biden himself called the move "Neanderthal thinking." And Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky insisted, "Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards." 

These are people whose job is to shape policy at the highest levels of government, and they were united in their belief that Abbott's move was dangerous. They were certain that without mandates set down from above, Texas was in for a world of hurt. Yet their dire warnings didn't pan out. 

A little more than three weeks after Abbott lifted the mandates—about the time when you would expect to see an uptick in COVID cases if the mandate was genuinely critical to preventing transmission—Texas reported its lowest case rate in a year, and a further reduction in hospitalizations. There's been no sustained uptick since. 

As Dylan Scott wrote in Vox last week, compared with states like California and New York, which have maintained much more restrictive policy regimes, Texas has performed admirably well. Indeed, when economists from Bentley University and San Diego State University recently looked at Abbott's decision, they found "no evidence that the Texas reopening affected the rate of new COVID-19 cases during the five weeks following the reopening." As it turned out, those critical safeguards weren't so critical. 

There's a similar story in Florida, another big state that ditched many coronavirus restrictions and embraced the reopening ethos, often to predictions of death and doom that never came to pass. Like Texas, Florida was seen as "reckless." California and New York were not. 

You might assume that these two very different approaches would produce two very different results. Yet as Scott writes, "looking at the case and death numbers since the coronavirus pandemic began, it's not obvious which states were cautious and which were not."  

Much about the pandemic remains unknown or in dispute, and researchers and policymakers will undoubtedly spend the coming years arguing about what we know and what we don't, what worked and what didn't. 

Yet if there is a single, one-sentence takeaway from the radical experiments in public-health governance America has seen over the past year and change, it is this: Aside from the vaccines, it's not obvious what worked. And it is distinctly possible that much of what was done in the name of protecting people from the coronavirus made little or no impact at all. 

One reason why it's so hard to know which interventions, if any, made a difference is the nature of the virus itself. COVID spread differently in different areas, and during different time periods. Similarly, policy responses varied from place to place and time to time, even within states, making it genuinely difficult to isolate the effects of any specific policy.  

And it may simply be that many policies—even those presumed to have substantial impacts, like Abbott's early bid at reopening—had little effect on anyone's behavior at all. As the authors of the Texas study note, not only did Abbott's decision have little effect on viral transmission, it also had essentially no effect on mobility or foot traffic in businesses, or on employment. The policy had changed—but behaviors didn't. The residents of Texas simply went on with their lives. 

Policymakers and political officials might set rules or issue guidelines, but they don't actually determine individual behaviors like masking, gathering with others, or going out for a meal. As The Atlantic's Derek Thompson recently wrote in a perceptive piece on Texas' reopening, people "make these decisions for themselves, based on some combination of local norms, political orientation, and personal risk tolerance that resists quick reversals, no matter what public health elites say." It's not just that there are limits on what policymakers can know. There are also limits on what policy can do—limits that policymakers often don't acknowledge. 

It would be tempting to look at all of this and resort to a kind of nihilism—to conclude that nothing works, that governance is irrelevant or inconsequential, that policymakers can have no impact at all. But that would be to commit the same error committed by Biden's COVID advisors and by the CDC, which is the error of certainty.

This is not a lesson in policy futility so much as a lesson in policy humility—both about what we can know about policy, especially in an unprecedented situation like a pandemic, and about what even the most sweeping emergency policies can accomplish. 

Yet that sort of humility about the limits of policy was sorely lacking last year, and it continues to be in short supply as the pandemic fades inside the United States. 

That lack of humility is why Anthony Fauci, the nation's chief infectious disease scientist and frontperson for the government's pandemic message, repeatedly lied to the public about key issues, such as herd immunity and masking. It's why experts who should have known better convened around an all too certain consensus that the coronavirus could not possibly have come from a Chinese lab. And it's why Newsom continues to keep California in a state of emergency that dramatically enhances his own power, despite the pandemic's ebb and little evidence that the restrictions he has championed remain effective or necessary. 

A more humble approach to policy might have been more cautious about sweeping restrictions on business and social activity, or at least more apt to change course as new information—about, say, schools or outdoor transmission—emerged. A more humble approach to policy would have placed more emphasis on guidelines intended to aid individual risk assessments rather than broad-based, one-size-fits all rules, understanding that not even the most well informed policy maker has all the answers. And a more humble approach to the post-pandemic world would be patiently seeking to learn from the last year, rather than rushing to use the crisis as a justification for unrelated permanent policy changes

Which, of course, is the opposite of what we got and what we are going to keep getting. For among the things that policy makers don't know and have consistently refused to let themselves learn is how little they know.

NEXT: Insane Lumber Prices Show How Governments Break Economies

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  1. “Yet if there is a single, one-sentence takeaway from the radical experiments in public-health governance America has seen over the past year and change, it is this: Aside from the vaccines, it’s not obvious what worked.”

    Criticize all the other public health governance, but swallow the vaccine story whole. Weird.

    1. The data is pretty friggin clear as to how well the vaccines have worked. Both here and in places like Israel. Observing statistical facts is not “swallowing the vaccine story whole”. It’s acknowledging the obvious.

      The article is also correct in pointing out that the data on lockdowns is so mixed as to bring into question whether it was worth it.

      1. “The data is pretty friggin clear…”

        I heard that statement pinned to all the other government dictates for over 18 months. Now almost all of the “clear data” was indeed murky, at best. Excuse me while I don’t accept the miracle of the vaccine(s) until some time has went by and some long term affects are documented.

        1. From what I have seen, both in the hospital setting where I work and in the community at large, the vaccine has made a substantial difference.

          But it is your choice; Idaho, as to whether you avail yourself of it, or not. And this is how is should be.

          1. 7,000 deaths and about 50,000 adverse reactions so far. For a respiratory virus that has a 1 in 10,000 fatality rate for people under 70 with fewer than 3 comorbidities. Which is to say, unless you’re really old and also a fat fuck your risk of dying from COVID are about 10 times less than your risk of dying from the vaccine, and both are infinitesimal fractions of 1 percent. Shove it up your fucking ass. The vaccines are working about as well as the rock that protects you from tigers or the clown that only reveals himself to faggots. People who weren’t sick and weren’t going to get sick are taking the vaccine and… not getting sick. Wow.

            1. Mmm, that’s some good bullshit.

              I bet your average middle schooler could point out the gaping hole in this argument; I might ask my wife to test it on her students tomorrow.

              1. I bet your average middle schooler could point out the gaping hole in this argument

                And yet you couldn’t do it yourself? Kind of a sad confession, but good for you I guess.

                I might ask my wife to test it on her students tomorrow.

                Do you have a hard time sucking her boyfriend’s cock with your face diaper on?

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            2. Those are not 7000 deaths from the vaccine. Those are 7000 deaths of people who have been vaccinated – many (if not all) of whom would have died with or without the vaccine. The vaccine isn’t supposed to stop you from dying from all causes – a heart attack will still kill you, vaccine or no. 7000 sounds like a reasonable mortality base rate, especially given we prioritized elderly (ie, people most likely to die soon) for vaccination.

              1. Interesting. So quite literally every single death reported to VAERS was random statistical noise from people who would have died anyway. But the majority of COVID-accounted deaths which were among the cohort over 70 years of age and with 3 or more comorbidities were all caused by the virus and constituted the scariest fucking thing ever encountered in the history of modern medicine. It’s a good thing the virus studied probability!

              2. You have a point but I guess we’re changing how we count potential vaccine caused deaths versus potential Covid death. You know “with Covid of Covid”

                If you’re getting all sciencey it’s best to be consistent

              3. Yes, not everyone who dies shortly after receiving the vaccine necessarily died _from_ the vaccine. But of 7000 reported deaths, some of them will, in fact, be caused solely by the shot. What percentage? I’ll pick a low number — say, 5%. That gives us 350 deaths from the vaccine.

                Now, given that count, how does the continued championing of the vaccine compare to other historical mass-vaccination campaigns? Let’s take the 1976 swine flu vaccine rollout. Somewhere between 3-50 people died as a result of receiving the jab (out of ~45 million). Even this low number was consider too high, and the vaccine was pulled off the market. So, 50 deaths were too much, but a count of 350 from the COVID vaccine is just fine? Even if it’s only 1% of the 7000 reported deaths, that’s still 70. This would have been unacceptable back in the 1970s, but now we’re expected to regard it as a “reasonable mortality rate”?

                Furthermore, it is suggested that the vaccine adverse events (including deaths) are under-reported by 90-99%. But we don’t even have to consider that here to understand that we are calling the COVID vaccine “safe”, when, by earlier protocols, we certainly would not have (and would have even discontinued its application).

          2. This here chart shows case rate per million for four eastern European countries. 2 have vaccinated less than 5 percent of their populations, 2 have vaccinated over 30% of their populations. The drop in cases is nearly identical. Why? Probably Hope-Simpson and natural immunity. The vaccinated populations will likely show up in infection rates during the next winter upswing in respiratory viruses.

            https://twitter.com/Humble_Analysis/status/1402716809103507457?s=20

      2. The data is pretty friggin clear as to how well the vaccines have worked

        Cite some of that data then. Try to pick a source other than the government official who is currently embroiled in a scandal due to 35,000 emails demonstrating his abject dishonesty.

      3. If the data show no clear benefit to the lockdowns, and the cost was enormous, then it’s obvious that the lockdowns were a huge mistake and the politicians who implemented them should be voted out.

      4. Something was “working” last year at this time, too.

        It wasn’t the vaccines.

        Hope-Simpson remains undefeated.

        1. Yup.

          And cross immunity, natural immunity from the infection, etc.

        2. Precisely. This virus seems to have become endemic. It mutates slightly (similar to the flu) and reappears seasonally. We deal with it and move on, vaccinated or not.

      5. The data is pretty friggin clear as to how well the vaccines have worked. Both here and in places like Israel. Observing statistical facts is not “swallowing the vaccine story whole”. It’s acknowledging the obvious.

        I’m not sure about that. Going back to one of the bigger stories that Reason wouldn’t cover, according to the CDC, at the end of 2020, before people were widely vaccinated, an estimated 148 million Americans had already had Covid, rendering them effectively immune. What does that say about the overlap between people who had COVID and never knew, and then got vaccinated? This data is going to be hashed out for years.

        It may be true that the vaccine is in fact 98.999% effective. But that doesn’t speak to the very real probability that this whole thing would have been self-limiting without a vaccine, and was well on its way to being so.

        1. It was always going to be self-limiting without a vaccine. But the difference is literally measured in bodies. (How fast will it self-limit?) That how fast is hard to answer, especially since epidemiologists continue to rely on dumb-as-rocks models that assume anyone has an equal chance of infection from any infected person (an assumption so pants-on-head stupid for a country the size of the US that it defies belief). Some humility here is required – the pandemic may have been well on its way to ending, but it may not have been, and _no one_ knows the real answer to that.

          While I don’t believe Fauci’s herd immunity thresholds, I also don’t know when we’re going to reach it. We certainly are going to reach herd immunity at some point (all pandemics end), but no one knows when.

          1. It was always going to be self-limiting without a vaccine. But the difference is literally measured in bodies. (How fast will it self-limit?)

            I would never deny such a thing. But… according to the CDC, it has been argued that it was already on the rocket-ride to self-limitation, sans vaccine, at the end of 2020.

            While I don’t believe Fauci’s herd immunity thresholds, I also don’t know when we’re going to reach it.

            According to Trusted Sources such as Foreign Affairs, never.

      6. The data are clear on how well the vaccines have worked on individuals. Not clear they had any effect on the pandemic, which followed the same seasonal decline as last year.

    2. Just so you know, the smallpox vaccine is why the CDC in the U.S. and Russia’s State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR are the last two places where known smallpox exists on the face of the Earth.

      Also, the polio vaccine is why the only places where you see iron lungs are museums. Pakistan had to dust off old iron lungs when polio made a comeback. It seems the Mullahs of The Religion of Pieces and Combustion were spreading lies that the U.S. and the (((Jooz))) were making people infertile with vaccines.

      People who love freedom should consider really vaccines their friends. You’ll live to fight many other battles with the help of vaccines.

      1. the polio, smallpox, etc, VACCINES you cite are actual VACCINES. They are made by including bio-inactive (attenuated) fragments of the subject virus or bacterium. What thatdoes is place a piece of the ptathogen into the body of the one being vaccinated, that person’s natural immune system then recognises that pathogen as a threat, then builds antibodies specifically developed to fight off THAT pathogen and ones similar to it. This thing they call a vaccine is NOT. it contains NO particles or cells from any pathogen. Thus the WuFlu injection itself cannot prov=oke an u=immune system response. ALL the vaccines you cited DO that.

        Since Dec of 2019 I’ve not done anything different than I’ve done thepast ten years. Went places, bought things, here and there, spent time with friends, worked, shopped, rode my bike, visited friends and family. no mask no distance no nuthin. I never got the WuFlu.
        I’ve never taken any bof the flu shots, never gotten any of those flu bugs, either. I spent six hours in close contact with good friends who were tested” posstive for vcovid the next day.. I never got a thing. I’ve never taken the HIV shot, nor shingles, seasonal flu, H1N1, BirdFlu, Ebola, or any other of those shots.. and naver have had any of those diseases. WHY? I stay active eat healthy take my videyyums and just go about life. No way am I taking that not-a-vaccine- WuFlu injection. I know too much about the contents of that abomination and the mechanisms by which various adverse reactions are stimulated by those ingredients. They cannot make me take it. End of story.
        If YOU trust the Ameircan medicla establishment and fautchee enough to buy his worms, be m guest. But don;t play me for the patsy and come round trying to prise me into the corner and roll up my sleeve.

  2. Soooo…. nothing about the US government funding dual use, gain of function virus research in a totalitarian communist state?

    1. What does that have to do with anything? The “lab leak” conspiracy theory was debunked over a year ago.

      1. You need to head on over to one of the articles on Harris and her telling the Guats to stay the fuck home; you have been conspicuous by your absence from the comments, so hop to it!

        Go on, git!

    2. Fauci is personally responsible for the entire pandemic.

      1. Even if it turns out he wasn’t, he is certainly acting like he was. Probably because of all the risky research he funded at a shoddy Chinese lab.

  3. “Humility”? Actually, the pandemic made me more confident than ever in my fundamental, non-negotiable belief — open borders.

    Of course, like any Koch / Reason libertarian I have been promoting unlimited, unrestricted immigration ever since I began commenting here in late 2017. But the early 2020 emergence of a deadly contagious disease reinforced my commitment to the idea that anyone on the planet should be allowed to move to the US at any time and for any reason.

    Because it was the lack of open borders that contributed to our country’s worst-in-the-world pandemic response. Remember when our hospitals got overwhelmed? That happened because Orange Hitler refused to let in all those highly skilled Mexican doctors who wanted to help.

    #OpenBorders
    #(EspeciallyDuringAPandemic)

    1. Harris? Guatemalans? I only hear crickets.

      1. OBL commenting on actual border issues would be too predictable. Where’s the comedy in that?

    2. don’t forget the Orange Heetler also sent the Hpspital ship to New York City and sent a team to construct a temp land based hospital in Central Park because they were running out of beds and medical folks to take care of it all. Cuomo ignored it and did not make use of one bit of it all. I’ll take the Orange Hitler above the Black one (Cuomo) any day. Remember tooo Cuomo went on to FORCE thousands of known sick symptomatic CASES of ovid into NYC’s rest homes.. killing a few thsand when they, in their weakened conditions i those places, were exposed to the forced known imports with the Wu Flu.

      That’s what open borders do.

      And in case you ever decide to leave the US, bear in mnid those “open borders” you are so proud of have one way doors.. undocumented forign invaders can cone IN but YUO cannot gt OUT. Not to go LIVE anywhere else. I hope I’m around when yuo start your squalling and yowling about how the “open borders” will let anyone ininfected or not and will let YOU out but the neighbouring country will not let you IN. But no worries.. for a few pesos the next bum pasing by will offer to ring a nearby restaurant order some machaca or chorizo con huevos and, for a larger fee, bring it to you.

  4. Governor Cuomo needs a lesson in humility, period. So does failing Phil Murphy, governor of the People’s Republic of NJ.

    1. It looks, sadly, like Cuomo is going to get off with no adverse impact to his career, though perhaps I speak too soon. Or maybe my bias against career politicians has me waxing negative. Public attention span being what it is, I suspect that his cult of ‘Cuomosexual’ personality is on the rise again. Public opinion will, I think drive the outcome.

      1. He will slip away because he is so greasy.

      2. Yep:

        https://www.wsj.com/articles/half-of-new-yorker-voters-stand-by-gov-andrew-cuomo-poll-finds-11621848600

        He will definitely get a fourth term as governor of NY; I have been curious to know how Joseph Stalin would do there; I suspect pretty well; New Yorkers apparently like “decisive” leadership, no matter how bad it is.

      3. The stupid cunts who elected him elected him BECAUSE he’s a lying, totalitarian piece of shit. Of course they’re not going to throw him out for doing exactly what they elected him to do.

  5. “As The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson recently wrote in a perceptive piece on Texas’ reopening, people “make these decisions for themselves, based on some combination of local norms, political orientation, and personal risk tolerance that resists quick reversals, no matter what public health elites say.”

    How libertarian.

    Pretty sure Reason (as currently composed) does not approve.

    1. “Politicians and policymakers know less than they think they do….”

      How true. If only the Reason staff would understand the same can be said of journalists.

  6. “Much about the pandemic remains unknown or in dispute, and researchers and policymakers will undoubtedly spend the coming years arguing about what we know and what we don’t, what worked and what didn’t.”

    This doesn’t even address the most ridiculous assumption of all–which is that researchers and policymakers know more about our qualitative preferences than we do, or that safety is more important to each of us or most of us–rather than our liberty and prosperity.

    Researchers and policymakers may argue about what worked and what didn’t–in terms of the stopping the spread of the virus. There is no question whatsoever, on the other hand, that their lockdown orders destroyed the economic well being of millions of people. Is there some question about that in your mind, Suderman?

    How can a researcher or policymaker know more about what we care about than each of us do about ourselves? Was there a governor somewhere who tried to make it illegal for individuals to isolate themselves? By what ridiculous logic can experts presume to make qualitative choices for each us about the relative value of safety vs. prosperity?

    1. Was there a governor somewhere who tried to make it illegal for individuals to isolate themselves?

      Actually, no government likes individuals who isolate themselves. Even during the lockdowns, the slogan was: “We’re All In Together…Apart!”

      To me, it’s not either/or, but both/and. If “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” then doesn’t every little step towards eternity help?

    2. Robert Formaini wrote a booklet about this, “The Myth of Scientific Public Policy”.

      1. Rhodes’ “Making of the Atomic Bomb” has Truman asking a committee of the physicists who developed it for a target list. Oppenheimer replies: ‘We are scientists who have expertise in the development of weapons, but no special expertise in their use’
        Would that Fauci would had been so humble.

  7. It would be tempting to look at all of this and resort to a kind of nihilism—to conclude that nothing works, that governance is irrelevant or inconsequential, that policymakers can have no impact at all. But that would be to commit the same error committed by Biden’s COVID advisors and by the CDC, which is the error of certainty.

    We could test the impact of policymakers by dropping them from helicopters.

    1. Give enough monkey typewriters and enough time and they will produce the great American novel, and win at the stock market, too.

  8. Central planning doesn’t work. One size doesn’t fit all. People and, if you must, communities know better their own way forward than the distant committee with its own often conflicting and unrelated agendas.

    Unfortunately policy makers rarely learn the limits of their effective power and the battle between the planners and the planned escalates beyond nudging.

    1. Central planning doesn’t work. One size doesn’t fit all. People and, if you must, communities know better their own way forward than the distant committee with its own often conflicting and unrelated agendas.

      Check out Brexit McBrexiteer over here.

  9. “Anthony Fauci, the nation’s chief infectious disease scientist…”
    Could we, for the love of God, at least now stop with this Fauci fan boi nonsense? He is not, and has not for forty years, been a bench scientist; he has no superior specialized knowledge about infectious disease. For decades he has been a *bureaucrat* who happens to be employed in a government agency that deals with medical issues. As such, what he brings to the table is not scientific or medical expertise — it’s the finely honed mix of risk aversion, ability to speak out of both sides of his mouth, and utter lack of personal or professional humility when given the power to alter or destroy ordinary peoples’ lives that one would expect from a man who has been in government service since the Nixon administration. If anything he’s a modern day Vicar of Bray.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Vicar_of_Bray_(song)

    1. After the way he expertly guided us through the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, H1N1, and Ebola during the Obama administration, how could you possibly doubt the infallibility of our TOP infectious disease scientist?!?!?!?!?!?!!!??one1!!eleventy!!

    2. So The Vicar of Bray was like the Zelig of Government crony functionaries?

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  11. Basic Economics says if “Policy Humility” attempts to balance economic and behaviorial costs and benefits then it could be a way out of the government overreach that is destroying our economy and country. Sadly, advoctes of big government solutions seem to be the antithesis of “humble” and have no awareness of the negative impacts of their policies. Thomas Sowell was right when he said “there are no solutions, only tradeoffs.”

    1. Read broadly, “Policy Humility” would be both very conservative and very libertarian, no? Changes should be made with serious thought and understanding of why it should be done and what the expected outcomes are (conservative), and the best way to not f’ it up is to do nothing (libertarian, let people choose).

      The libertarian motto should be ‘For the State, “Better than doing nothing” is HIGH standard to clear.’

      1. Libertarianism is supranational global Marxism and has never been anything else. The sooner you grok that the sooner you’ll understand the policy prescriptions of libertarians.

        1. So, for libertarians, opium is the opiate of the masses?

        2. The verb “To Grok” came from libertarian Science-Fiction writer Robert Anson Heinlein.

          Like Madge said on the Palmolive Dishwashing Liquid commercial: “You’re soaking in it!” 🙂

          1. And if Heinlein were around today he’d take one look at the likes of Reason and Niskanen, and most all the others and tell you that Al is entirely correct.

  12. Policymakers and political officials might set rules or issue guidelines, but they don’t actually determine individual behaviors like masking, gathering with others, or going out for a meal.

    Yes – and no. It depends on whether you are talking about what those public officials DO as opposed to what becomes KNOWN. If the ‘function’ of disparate individual behaviors is Hayekian, then there is a very valuable market role for public officials to get new knowledge out into the public realm so that people can make decisions that harness that knowledge towards their personal preferences, value judgements, other knowledge known only to them, etc.

    THAT is the real failure here in the US. As far as I can see there is not one single bit of knowledge about this virus/etc that was not part of some political/ideological screening first. No basic facts that are outside politics and that can thus be decided upon outside politics.

    We no longer live in a Hayekian society. We are virtually all totalitarian. We just disagree violently about which totalitarian plan will be adhered to.

    1. We are virtually all totalitarian. We just disagree violently about which totalitarian plan will be adhered to.

      Big of you to admit it finally, even if you had to project your Marxist psychopathy onto society at large to do so.

    2. “…We are virtually all totalitarian…”

      Stuff your PANIC flag up your ass, stick first, and sit on it, lying piece of lefty shit.

    3. It’s not Americas failure. It’s the leftist controlled media and social media attempting to maintain a narrative over maintaining the facts. Many of us have known what is reported in this article since last year because we seek outside and/or independent sources of information.

      But sadly for most Americans, especially the low iq, low information urban ones, they’re too dumbed down, lazy, and indoctrinated to figure these things out on their own. They simply turn on the television or their Facebook news feed and believe it like the slaves to the democrat party they are, just following their media massa’s orders in the pavement plantation.

      Remember at the end of Garfield cartoons they always made a mockery of the meme “if you saw it on television, it MUST be true”. Well sadly Garfield writers and the children that watched the cartoon in the 80s/90s were more deductive and inquisitive than your average Democrat voter today, especially ones that were educated in city schools.

  13. Funny how we got nothing but full throated endorsement of government intervention up to and including full lockdowns from this “libertarian” mag but now we’re supposed to believe these people are somehow advocating for policy humility. GFY.

  14. Yes of course we went on with our lives. There was a brief period of time in spring 2020 when uncertainty and concern caused some people to hide and mask up. Then that fear subsided and most of us just went back to normal. That is, those of us who don’t live in blue shitshow states like Cali and NY run by hard left democrats parading around their neo marxism and stalinist attitudes.

    1. California politicians and bureaucrats are now patting themselves on the back that their policies worked, since California has low rates of COVID-19 spread now, 15 months after the lockdowns started.

      Although much of that improvement is because:
      1. COVID-19 hit California first, so it’s winding down.
      2. California had very high rates in Nov/Dec and those people are immune now. None of the lockdowns did anything to stop the spread up to or during those months.
      3. Californians have been getting the experimental vaccines at a high rate, voluntarily. They have proven effective, and we are crossing our fingers that any long term side effects are minimal.
      4. The weather is nice now so people aren’t indoors with the air conditioning cranked. The case rates have tracked the heating and air conditioning months very closely in states across the nation.

      And states with much less restrictive (and much less expensive) policies are also doing well.

  15. there are several avenues to “the vaccines worked”

  16. The phrase the author is looking for is “Fatal Conceit” – Hayek

  17. Tyrants to the Left, tyrants to the Right!

    That buffoon Abbott is at least as bad as that clown Newsom. He sold Texans the “right” to be anti-vax loons like that Kennedy kid and Marin County Trustafarians for the “cheap” price of their property rights, their free association rights, and a not insignificant slice of their speech rights.

    “You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream — the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order — or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. ” ~ Ronald Reagan

    1. “…He sold Texans the “right” to be anti-vax loons like that Kennedy kid and Marin County Trustafarians for the “cheap” price of their property rights, their free association rights, and a not insignificant slice of their speech rights…”

      How bad a case of TDS do you need to translate that, asshole?

    2. If they’re anti vaxx loons why aren’t more dieing?

      Maybe there’s more to immunity than vaccine induced immunity?

  18. The Atlantic said sucha nd such, and also said we should get rid of all private schools and give all the National Parks to Native Americans. So there’s that.

  19. If that’s “Neanderthal thinking” we need more of it! Neanderthal man! Where are you?!

  20. Politicians and policymakers know less than they think they do, in part because they have less power over our lives than they assume.

    Whisper that into the collective ears of millions of business owners whose livelihoods were shuttered by fiat. Whisper that into my ear who was locked down and forced to wear a mask (and still am to enter any public space). Whisper that to the thousands of laid off workers because their jobs were literally erased by the diktat of some petty local tyrant with product in his hair, while he sat at an expensive French restaurant, sipping chianti.

  21. Current institutions, governmental and societal, might benefit from a intensive review of the Socratic Method (and other ancient wisdom).

    “Whatever authority I may have rests solely on knowing how little I know.” – Socrates

  22. How did you get your power?
    What are the limits of that power?
    And last, how do we get rid of you?

  23. The power of government has always been a show of authority rather than actual power.

    “Dennis: Well you can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you.”

    We all know the quote.

    1. “The power of government has always been a show of authority rather than actual power…”

      You got ‘smug’ covered; try reality next time.
      Your comment is, I’m sure, of great comfort to those who just witness a ‘show of authority’:
      “According to the ACLU’s original analysis, marijuana arrests now account for over half of all drug arrests in the United States. Of the 8.2 million marijuana arrests between 2001 and 2010, 88% were for simply having marijuana. Nationwide, the arrest data revealed one consistent trend: significant racial bias. Despite roughly equal usage rates, Blacks are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana.”
      https://www.aclu.org/gallery/marijuana-arrests-numbers

  24. Another Reason author trying to retcon himself onto the right side of history.

    It’s a trend.

  25. Abbott doesn’t get any credit for lifting the lockdown he himself created.

  26. Policy humility in the face of a global pandemic is to listen to scientists and not orange fat men telling you to inject bleach.

    1. Shitstain here thinks Trump was the one lacking in humility, not Newsom, Cuomo, Murphy, Whitmer, Breed and other D jackasses.
      Shitstain is trying to lower the “stupid” bar, and doing a pretty good job of it.

    2. And I’m sure shitstain here will claim “injecting bleach” to be harmless hyperbole rather than one more outright lie from this steaming pile of lefty shit.

      1. Hey America, inject bleach, I’m the president, I have scientists, I should know!

        Harmless frivolity compared to the crime against humanity that was “57 states.”

        1. Shitstain here doubles down on outright lie, tries to excuse it by his excusing the Obo idiocy!
          IQ = 80?

        2. Hey Twitter, ban the account of a company actually developing a UV light Intubation tube to kill respiratory infections because you thought it was someone trolling instead of actually contacting your customer to find out its a real technology.

  27. What started as a response to a public health issue quickly turned into a power grab. This was very clear when the BLM protests (riots) broke out. Everyone was locked down – except the protesters. Even doctors said protesting was more important than stopping the disease. This told me that, a) the pandemic was not as bad as they were saying, or b) the medical community was completely politicized and could no longer be seen as an objective group. Either way, I stopped doing what they said and never got sick. Another telling example was when there was a concert scheduled in New York when they were forcing two week quarantines on visitors – except celebrities set to perform. Again, total loss of credibility. Now Newsome is extending California’s lockdown despite the most of the country (red states primarily) reopening with no negative effects. It’s no longer about COVID, it’s about control.

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