It is unfortunate that those of us who point out the unnecessary misery and chaos which has arisen from the embarrassing State overreaction to Covid-19 are compelled to include the epidemiological data in our arguments, as well as a variety of quotes and perspectives from scientific and medical experts in the field. And it is unfortunate for a couple of reasons.
First, it conflates and combines what are really two separate issues, the virus itself and its medical impact, and the government measures taken to manage it. The virus itself and its medical implications for you and me should have nothing whatsoever to do with the government. And if you ask me why, I will kindly direct your attention to the US unemployment and debt data, the current stats on psychological trauma related to the lockdown, as the burning cars and tire fires in front of the White House.
Second, it presumes and implies the lie that the State would have been perfectly justified and within its scope to seize control of private property, and dictate the terms by which individuals associate and where they are allowed to do so; that it would have been perfectly acceptable for the State to immediately claim ownership of every man, woman, and child, to collapse the economy, to plunge the nation into ever greater heights of unplayable debt, and usher in an pandemic of psychological fallout that shall dwarf the coronavirus and every other pandemic which came before it.
I find it ironic, if not rather depressing, that people feel that they must resort to mortality and case fatality statistics, SIR models, and R rates in order to defend the philosophical axioms that make individual existence, and all of that scientific data, possible in the first place. Among these philosophical axioms is the inviolable (without disastrous consequences) truth of one’s sovereign ownership of one’s own Self and correspondingly of one’s own labor. Further, I submit that an appeal to the epidemiological data as proof that the State has acted incompetently is really, in fact, only proof that one does not understand the State at all, nor appreciate the fact that if the defense of freedom from tyranny and exploitation were left in the hands of the scientists, with their tenuous grasp on philosophical reasoning and their irrational devotion to ludicrous determinism as an explanatory basis for anything, documents like the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights never would have been written in the first place; and representative democracies throughout the world would never have seen the light of day.
The idea that I have to prove that the coronavirus is not particularly medically dangerous and represents no existential threat to man nor society in order to make a digestible and acceptable argument for ending the lockdown makes me, quite frankly, sick to my stomach. Neither the State nor any other agency or institution, nor man, woman, or child, may claim a right to my life, body, property, or associations, in any circumstance, ever, be it the coronavirus or a giant asteroid or a “war on terror”, a locust plague, a famine, a drought…anything. Government should never be in the business of risk management, because government, frankly, sucks at it.
The State’s answer to saving and protecting life means creating a situation in which life is not worth living. Risk management, the protection of individuals from the dangers of simply being alive, whether it involves climbing a ladder, flying on an airplane, driving a car, eating certain foods, engaging in certain sports, or navigating through the scary microscopic world of viruses and bacteria—whatever—requires nuance, an understanding and appreciation of context; it requires flexibility and temperance, a sense of proportion, and above all, an acceptance of the truth of the individual as a singular and singularly free-thinking agent, ultimately unattached to some collective ideation, and thus able to make efficacious choices in pursuit of a moral existence on his own—that is, that the individual in and of himself is naturally sufficient to his own existence.
Government understands none of this. There is nothing nuanced or delicate or nimble to the State. The State is blunt force…it is murder, it is flattened cities, it is prison, it is one-size-fits-all; it is bombs and guns and tear gas and jack boots and mushroom clouds, it is FORCE. Every drawing it makes looks like scribble, every photograph it takes is black, every song it composes is a shriek. The State knows nothing about protection, only SUBMISSION. It attacked the coronavirus with the same tool it uses to attack any problem, the only tool it has—a hammer. It cannot medically subordinate the virus…for that takes knowledge and experience and forethought and experiment; it cannot discern the at-risk from the unaffected and make public health recommendations accordingly, for that takes nuance and discernment and strategy and mercy and compassion. It cannot smash the virus into oblivion, for the virus is too small and elusive; and it cannot threaten the virus, for the virus cannot recognize its authority.
The State can, however, demolish the lives of the citizens it rules…it can “save” them by destroying them before the virus does; it can make the virus look like a party compared to the misery the State can produce. It can, within the span of a few short weeks, amass numbers of dead and dying that make the coronavirus look like a mole hill, rendering the virus completely innocuous by comparison.
How do you flatten the coronavirus curve?
By making a bigger curve out of the misery and destruction of the population you govern.
THAT is what the State is good at, and that is just what it has done.
So spare me the science; tie it to a rock and throw it in the lake. Show me a man who believes that you and I have a right to our own lives ONLY when the science shows that there is no longer any risk from the coronavirus, and I will show you a man who believes that you and I NEVER had any right to our own lives in the first place.