Are Endless Lockdowns the Result of Malice or Stupidity?

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In a harrowing article for PJ Media, Dennis Prager argues that the COVID-19 global lockdown is “possibly, the worst mistake the world has ever made,” leading to a mortality rate eclipsing anything the virus could have delivered. Widespread famine in Third World Countries and extreme poverty across the globe are now imminent, “all because of the lockdowns, not the virus.” A study released on May 4 by the nonprofit research institute Just Facts confirms Prager’s argument, concluding that “the total loss of life from all societal responses to this disease is likely to be more than 90 times greater than prevented by the lockdowns.”


Despair, anxiety, bankruptcies, suicide, reduced productivity, diminishment of life expectancy as well as “quality of life,” and postponement of elective surgeries (just one example of undoubted millions: my wife’s mother is going blind but corrective treatment has been put off indefinitely) are some of the consequences of the great “flattening.” 

When one factors in the economic costs and attendant suffering, the effect is almost too staggering to contemplate. How could our leaders have committed such a blunder? Prager is at pains to clarify that the economic catastrophe we are undergoing globally should be attributed not to evil intentions but primarily to rank incompetence. He is obviously invoking “Hanlon’s razor” that advises us: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” 

Prager writes: “The lockdown is a mistake; the Holocaust, slavery, communism, fascism, etc., were evils. Massive mistakes are made by arrogant fools; massive evils are committed by evil people.” I suspect the razor applies to many government leaders who simply did everything wrong and then doubled down on their error rather than admit mortal fallibility. They were stupid—and too proud to acknowledge their mistake. They ensured that the remedy would be worse than the disease, but they cannot be blamed for malice aforethought.


The same acquittal would not apply to the denizens of the hard left, whether in government or the media, who are certainly actuated by malice and, quite possibly, by evil. Many government officials—whether national, state or local—may prolong the lockdown to enforce their hold on power, entailing the consequent reduction of a free and prosperous citizenry to a debased condition as wards of the State, a tactic dear to leftist administrations. 

In any event, the motives of our political and media elites are as suspect as their credulity; it is no surprise that they readily adopted the false Coronavirus models and statistical projections of a charlatan like British science guy Neil Ferguson, with the result of near-universal social and economic calamity. “Ferguson’s self-centered attitude is all over the place,” writes Bryan Preston, “reflecting both an elitism and rank ignorance of economics and consequences.” Ferguson’s “track record is terrible,” his predictive models in the past skewed by several orders of magnitude

Rather piquantly but not entirely unexpectedly, Ferguson was later found to have violated his own lockdown directives, receiving visits from his married mistress. This seems to be a progressivist habit; one recalls Illinois governor and lockdown fiend J. B. Pritzker whose wife traveled to the family property in Florida despite Pritzker’s rigid stay-at-home order. Malice or stupidity? As a billionaire and heir to the Hyatt hotel chain, Pritzker can afford both.


Meanwhile, as was to be anticipated, our medical “experts,” who have been consistently wrong à la Ferguson, are now predicting two and three succeeding waves of the pandemic, which will keep us in limbo for up to the next eighteen months—by which time we will no longer have a recognizable world and the casualty count from our moribund economies will exceed numerical probability. The media will persist in stirring up hysteria and our run-of-the-mill leaders will continue to flinch before lurid hypotheticals while at the same time consolidating their power over the truly huddled masses. Malice or stupidity? Whichever, it represents a godsend for the political left and progressivists everywhere.

Prager is right. There is really no option, if we wish to survive and preserve our democratic liberties, but to adopt sane preventive measures, rely on herd immunity, as in Sweden, and return to our trades and professions. We must recognize malice or stupidity where we see it, whether among our partisan leaders, failing politicians, media pontiffs or medical soothsayers. The alternative does not bear thinking. 


David Solway’s latest book is Notes from a Derelict Culture, Black House Publishing, 2019, London. A CD of his original songs, Partial to Cain, appeared in 2019.

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