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Gov. Ron DeSantis: An Honorable Politician

AP Photo/Phil Sears, File

“We shouldn’t have gone down that road.” — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

It takes a brave person to admit he is wrong, particularly if he occupies high office and has previously committed to a program proven to be a colossal error of judgment. Such a person is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has called COVID lockdowns a “huge mistake” and on September 25, 2020, fully opened up his state. “If we hadn’t stood up,” he explained, “these people may not have jobs, the businesses may have gone under, the kids wouldn’t be in school.” In acting as he did, he has shown himself to be a man of genuine integrity and political fearlessness—and, indeed, a man of presidential stature.

The typical response of most public officials, authorities, and framers of policy who have wedded themselves to a failing course of action is, on the contrary, to double down on the misery they have provoked and to prolong, even exacerbate, the consequences of their folly. They are too heavily invested in a catastrophic trajectory to risk calling their mistaken decisions into question. DeSantis has them pegged: “They advocated policies that have not worked against the virus but have been very, very destructive. They are never going to admit they were wrong about anything,” especially as they are supported “by a big-tech council of censors in service of the ruling elite.”

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And they have been backstopped by a cabal of medical professionals, in effect unelected authorities like Anthony Fauci in the U.S. and Theresa Tam in Canada, who have wielded immense political influence and persuasive power while regularly changing their minds and advisories—constantly “moving the goalposts,” as the popular expression has it. The wittily titled Faucian Bargain by Steve Deace and Todd Erzen has effectively exploded the medical myth of infallibility and the tenure of “all-powerful and self-perpetuating” operatives like Fauci who are busily curating the evidence. Rand Paul and Scott Jennings are not impressed by the Pope of Nope, whom they consider a control freak and manipulator. But the fix is in.

It is no accident that Big Tech stepped in to deprive DeSantis of an audience. The governor held a roundtable with leading scientists from Harvard, Oxford, and Stanford, signatories to the prestigious Great Barrington Declaration, who judged the lockdowns to be ineffective. As the American Institute for Economic Research reports, “With no warning, no announcement, and no explanation, YouTube on April 7, 2021, suddenly deleted the entire video from its platform.” Similarly, an interview session on 60 Minutes featuring DeSantis was editorially mutilated to leave a false and unfavorable impression with the viewer.

The governor’s detractors have mounted a campaign against truth and transparency. His political enemies governing the blue states are weak men and women who cannot put rectitude above reputation, who have taken the wrong side in the mitigation debate, who are terrified of media censure, who cannot admit fallibility, and who may believe they have made a shrewd electoral calculation in appealing to a state of widespread panic and public stupefaction, which they have also helped to create. They are men and women who have levitated into positions of power owing to political canniness, media hype, cash influx, and voter gullibility. They are not leaders but political opportunists and any semblance of moral character is foreign to them. They are the real proponents of “Neanderthal thinking.”

Albeit, some are merely stubborn, believing in their own astuteness without having thoroughly studied the evidence that might bring their self-assurance into doubt. Some appear to be in the early stages of clinical dementia. Others have enjoyed a delectable taste of autocratic virulence, which they are simply unwilling to surrender. One expects as much from Leftist politicians, but even leaders elected on Conservative platforms, like Boris Johnson in the U.K. and Doug Ford in Ontario, have succumbed to the temptations of rigid and unquestioned authority. Potentates in the making, they are no different, really, from a Cuomo in New York, a Whitmer in Michigan, or a Newsom in California, pursuing their carding agendas at the expense of their votaries and willing dupes—a perfect example of the Matthew Effect that generates accumulated advantage.

One goes back to DeSantis, who has set the gubernatorial bar for courage, principle, and democratic modesty, adopting a sane and prudent “focused approach” to combatting the virus. “Florida governor Ron DeSantis took the right approach, studying early evidence from other countries,” argue the authors of an important recent volume, The Price of Panic. Thankfully, he is not alone, flanked by stalwarts like Greg Abbott in Texas and Kristi Noem in South Dakota, and perhaps a few others. But DeSantis is the gold standard for candor and probity among a largely dubious class of public authorities. This is obviously why he has been banned on Twitter and moved over to Rumble.

Regrettably, we have no one like him in my country, at least not in positions of political ascendancy. Our Liberal prime minister Justin Trudeau is a national embarrassment, utterly devoid of ethical scruples and fiscal sobriety, while his Conservative adversary Erin O’Toole has gutted the principled core of his Party, content to do Trudeau’s laundry. Unlike DeSantis, who said, “All I had to do was follow the data and just be willing to go forward into the teeth of the narrative and fight the media,” the majority of our leaders have gone in the other direction, chasing a costly delusion and causing enormous suffering in the process. 

Thus, Canada’s provincial premiers, like their blue-state counterparts, have pitted the road to freedom with policy IEDs, legislating one crushing lockdown after another and watching the economy sink into the quicksand of irreparability. Since none of their policies are working, they must be forcibly amplified, exemplifying Einstein’s famous definition of insanity: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” I would not be surprised to learn that our provincial and territorial leaders have never heard of DeSantis, or of Abbott and Noem—or if they have, would regard their successes as signs of blinkered naivety.

But it is they themselves who are blinkered, incapable of learning from experience and oblivious to the findings of real science. Setting narrative above evidence and vanity above humility, they are unable or unwilling to reverse course. They would rather shut their eyes to the obvious, namely, as The Epoch Times points out, while the Sunshine State “is either performing better or relatively the same as the strict lockdown states in terms of CCP virus mortalities, the state’s economy is booming.” On the other hand, all lockdown jurisdictions are stagnating, both economically and socially, mandating not only masks and quarantines but a precipitous decline in public health and an end to democratic governance.  

DeSantis has been further vindicated by a study posted at the National Center for Biotechnological Information (NCBI) hypothesizing that masking is not only entirely useless but significantly harmful, both physiologically and psychologically. Naturally, the study has been ignored by media and Big Tech and may soon be “disappeared,” as the American Conservative Movement (ACM) fears, by “government or their puppetmasters in Silicon Valley.” 

DeSantis remains undaunted, serving his citizens honorably and ensuring the overall health and prosperity of his state. In dismantling a system of counterproductive restrictions, he resembles Donald Trump slashing needless bureaucratic regulations and calls to mind West Germany’s successful finance minister and former Chancellor Ludwig Erhard, who presided over the country’s post-war economic recovery by removing disincentives, eliminating rationing, and scrapping central planning, and whose motto, according to economist David Henderson, may well have been: “Don’t just sit there. Undo something.” 

Moreover, DeSantis knows his science, as even the weasely Bill Maher has acknowledged, referring to DeSantis as “a voracious consumer of the scientific literature.” (The anti-riot bill he has signed into law is another indication of his stance on responsible government.) The legend on a hat DeSantis was presented by a supporter speaks volumes: Make America Florida. Weather not withstanding, I could wish the same of Canada.