From (David P.)@21:1/5 to All on Wed Aug 25 00:01:20 2021
Why New Zealand Imposed a Lockdown—After Detecting Its
First COVID Case in 170 Days
by Jon Miltimore, 8/17/21, Fee Dot Org
Scientists & everyday people are beginning to realize
that COVID-19 can't be defeated by central planners
implementing lockdowns & other coercive measures. (Indeed,
because a majority of COVID cases are spread indoors in
homes, govt stay-at-home orders have the potential to
actually make outbreaks worse.)
Politicians & bureaucrats, however, continue to push
draconian measures that restrict the basic freedoms of the
people they are supposed to serve. New Zealand is just the
latest example. The question is why.
It’s unlikely that bureaucrats & politicians are simply
less intelligent (though some of course are). A far more
likely explanation is that they are operating under a
different set of incentives than the people they serve.
The Nobel Prize-winning economist James M. Buchanan pointed
out that public officials, like everyone else, arrive at
decisions based on self-interest & incentives. This idea
is known as Public Choice Theory, a field of economics that
analyzes political behavior. Though many accept the idea
that public servants are motivated to promote “the common
good,” Buchanan argued they don’t become altruistic angels
upon getting a government job.
This is a difficult concept for many to swallow—especially
for big-govt true believers—but it helps explain why pols
& bureaucrats continue to impose harmful lockdowns that
have proven terribly ineffective at taming the virus.
It’s important to remember that politics is primarily about
self preservation. And while imposing harmful restrictions
might appear irrational, not imposing them also comes with
serious risks—political risks. One need only look at the
abuse leaders in Sweden, South Dakota, and Florida have
endured for not imposing sweeping mandates.
New York may have the 2nd highest COVID mortality rate in
the US & its nursing home order may have needlessly
resulted in the death of thousands, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo
was hailed as a hero for his hardline policies. He inked a
$5 million book deal, received an Emmy Award, & was invited
on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert—before his subsequent
downfall (which, it’s important to note, stemmed primarily
from sexual misconduct allegations, not his deadly policies).
Compare the treatment Cuomo received to that of Anders
Tegnell, Sweden’s top public health official, or South
Dakota Gov. Krist Noem, who refused to implement lockdowns.
PM Ardern’s decision to lock New Zealand down over a single
case of COVID-19 might appear insane—even CNN appeared
incredulous over it—but there is a method to the madness.
And it’s rooted in public choice theory.