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The Coronavirus’ Dark-siders, Straddlers, and Light-siders: The Ethics of Good Public Policy

March 22, 2020 by  

As the spread of the latest Coronavirus (SARS coronavirus 2, or “SARS-CoV-2”) continues, two purportedly opposing camps of policy wonks are forming, which I herein name “Dark-siders” and “Straddlers”. However, though their policy proposals differ, their respective proposals are founded upon the same ethical philosophy. For that reason, the policy proposals of the two camps ultimately will facilitate the same end. And, because the ethics underpinning their policies treats human nature as a thing to be defeated, rather than defended, their policies will be every bit as destructive as the illness they seek to address. There are collectivists who hope to take political advantage of the destruction caused by the government’s response to the Coronavirus. If the collectivists are to be thwarted – if individual freedom and capitalism are to prevail – the government must be careful to found its Coronavirus policies on a better ethical footing. It must come over to the Light-side.

 

The Material Coronavirus Facts

With respect to ethics, the material facts are these.

Numerous reports estimate that the SARS-CoV-2 virus will infect 70 percent of the population. Children appear not to fall ill after infection. Many adults will and have overcome the virus without ever knowing they have been infected. Thousands around the globe already have died from illness caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection, though they are a small percentage of the infected. Most who die of SARS-CoV-2 infection are those over the age of 80 or who otherwise have health conditions (including obesity) that compromise their ability to cope with SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Many of those who fall ill are sent home to recuperate in isolation. A minority require medical services in hospitals. In some countries, the demand for those medical services already has exceeded the supply. In other countries, it is expected that demand will spike above the available supply.

The virus passes from one person to another when an infected person’s respiratory liquids enter one’s nose, mouth, or eyes. One might inhale while a nearby infected person sneezes or coughs, or one might pick up the virus on one’s hands and introduce it to one’s nose, mouth, or eyes unwittingly by touching them with virus-laden hands.

To manage demand for medical services, many governments have decided to implement policies that will spread out demand for medical services over a greater time period. Many governments have introduced policies requiring the closure of spaces used by large numbers of people, including not only government venues but privately-owned business venues. Some have imposed curfews, requiring people to stay in their own homes.

The effects of such policies are quickly becoming apparent. Those who lose their jobs are not being paid. Unemployment could rise to 20% in America, according to the United States Treasury. People who are not getting paid are not shopping for anything except the necessities of life (if they have enough money to buy them). Those who normally sell goods or services are not selling, so they are not getting paid, but they have overhead costs for which they need to continue paying.

“A worldwide credit crunch triggered by the coronavirus will set in motion a wave of corporate bankruptcies that will make the global financial crisis look like “child’s play”, investors have warned.” – The Guardian

Unemployed renters and home owners are facing the prospect of not being able to pay their rents or mortgages, and are looking at the horrifying prospect of eviction or foreclosure in the near future. Landlords and lenders, likewise, have obligations that they will not be able to honour. The United Nations Organization anticipates a 2020 economic loss of one to two trillion dollars.

In response, many who are suffering a loss of revenue have their hand out to government. The hard-hit airline industry, which is facing bankruptcies, is seeking government bailouts. Banks too are expected to be bailed out again, as they were in response to the economic downturn of 2008. Renters and home owners want the government to force landlords and lending institutions to delay their demands for payment, eviction, and foreclosure (the Trump administration is doing just that, for the period ending April 30, 2020). Some governments are offering time-limited subsidies for the wages paid by private employers in small businesses, but business organizations and academics want more.

In short, government policies that aim to spread use of limited health care resources out over time are having dramatic economic consequences that will affect everyone. Some people have died, and others are yet to die, from illness caused by the virus (indeed, they have died in Ontario, Canada despite the fact that demand for related health care services such as ventilators has not yet exceeded supply in that province). No matter how many or how few people die, the current government policies are causing – and will continue to cause – every individual to suffer pain and losses of numerous forms (lost jobs, lost businesses, lost savings, even lives lost by way of hardship-induced suicide).

Government Policy Is The Inevitable Product Of The Government’s Underlying Ethical Philosophy

With those facts in view, let us consider ethics. Ethics is the branch of philosophy that underpins every decision about what one should or should not do. It is the do-or-don’t, should-or-shouldn’t, good-or-evil, virtue-or-vice branch of philosophy. Everything any individual or organization does is the result of a decision on its part that it should do that thing; that it is good or virtuous to do that thing.

The same applies to the policy decisions made by any government. The ethical philosophy chosen by a government is the foundation for all policy decisions. The government’s chosen ethical philosophy tells it what policies it should impose, and which it should not.

The aforementioned losses being suffered by everyone as a result of the current Coronavirus policies adopted by most governments are ultimately the result of those governments adopting an ethical philosophy that makes those losses inevitable. That ethical philosophy is the same one that underpins the policy proposals of both the Dark-siders and the Straddlers. Unless the ethical foundation currently guiding responses to the spread of SARS-Cov-2 is recognized to be flawed and to be the cause of the losses, and until the government adopts an ethical foundation consistent with human survival and happiness, the government’s adoption of the policies proposed by the Dark-sider or Straddler camps of policy wonks will lead to the same policy-induced pain and losses.

The Dark-sider Camp

The Dark-siders favour government doing everything it can to reduce the demand for medical resources. They are prepared to limit social interaction as harshly, and for as long, as is necessary – some advocating that it continue for 12 or 18 months – to spread the demand for medical services out over time (the pharmaceutical industry expects development of a vaccine to take 12 to 18 months, and a March 13, 2020 U.S. federal government response plan states that the pandemic could last 18 months or longer).

The Dark-siders realize that using laws, regulations, or emergency governmental powers to limit social interaction necessarily will involve violations of individual freedom: confining people to their homes, preventing them from trading goods and services, etc.. They realize that such use of force by government will result in the destruction of a great deal of wealth, and in the curtailment of wealth-producing activity. However, the Dark-siders claim that their ultimate goal is to minimize the number of people who die from the “Covid-19” version of SARS that some people suffer when infected with SARS-CoV-2.

For some Dark-siders, saving lives really is their ultimate goal. In some cases, that is because the Dark-sider is a medical professional whose entire professional purpose is to save lives.

However, for other Dark Siders – anti-capitalists and collectivists of every stripe (socialism, fascism, communism) – the life-saving claim is just a cover for what is actually their political goal. The collectivists in the Dark-sider camp actually are eager for the violations of individual freedom and for the destruction of private property and business. They hope that Dark-sider policy will ultimately crush the prospects for individual freedom and capitalism, and usher in the big-government, command economy, eat the rich, something-for-nothing collectivism for which they and their predecessors long have hungered and demanded.

As just a few examples of such collectivist drooling, consider:

  • Leftist darling Naomi Klein is desperately attempting to get her latest phrase, “Coronavirus Capitalism” to catch on. She’s produced a new video in which she explains that the Coronavirus crisis is an opportunity:

    “…it’s possible for crisis to catalyze a kind of evolutionary leap. Think of the 1930s, when the Great Depression led to the New Deal. In the United States and elsewhere, governments began to weave a social safety net, so that the next time there was a crash, there would be programs like Social Security to catch people…social movements and insurgent politicians are already mobilized. And like in the 1930s, we have a whole bunch of other ideas lying around.”

    She lists a number of “ideas lying around”, including government-supplied (at taxpayer expense) healthcare for all, housing for all, the elimination of all student debt, and, of course, the “Green New Deal”. She concludes:

    “If there is one thing history teaches us, it’s that moments of shock are profoundly volatile. We either lose a whole lot of ground, get fleeced by elites and pay the price for decades, or we win progressive victories that seemed impossible just a few weeks earlier. This is no time to lose our nerve. The future will be determined by whoever is willing to fight harder for the ideas they have lying around.”

    Klein’s not the only person seeking to politically capitalize on the economic crisis caused by the current governmental policies, of course.

  • There is also long-time poverty-rights activist John Clarke in Ontario, Canada, who asserts:

    “We are only beginning to understand the incredible changes and possibilities that will be opened up by the shock waves passing through the lives of millions of people. Social consciousness always lags behind social being but this is a time when a sudden narrowing of that gap can, literally, change the course of history. There may well have been no time when the need for such a surge was as desperately required or the political need to maximise it so utterly imperative.”

  • To find more, just google “capitalism coronavirus”, and you’ll be able to find numerous collectivists likewise citing the economic turmoil – largely caused by the government’s policy response to Coronavirus – as an opportunity to defeat capitalism and usher in what any honest individual who has read “The Communist Manifesto” would identify as communism.

As Madeleine Kearns puts it in a recent contribution to the National Review:

“This global pandemic may not kill as many millennials as it kills boomers. But there’s a real possibility that it will destroy our already-diminished economic inheritance. And if that happens, another danger looms: Opportunistic socialists will have a chance to make their case to a resentful generation that has neither the personal memory nor the grasp of history necessary to resist their advances.”

In summary, whether motivated by a myopic, all-consuming focus on minimizing the number of people who die from illness caused by Coronavirus infection, or by a desire to create a crisis of sufficient severity to invite a political revolution, the Dark-siders want government to continue and magnify the policies that are destroying the economic livelihoods of each and all.

The Straddler Camp

Let us call the other camp of policy wonks the “Straddlers”. The Straddlers have one foot in healthcare demand-management, and the other foot in maintaining the economic status quo that prevailed before the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2. Specifically, the Straddlers agree with the Dark Siders that demand for medical resources should be spread out over time by way of government-imposed limits on social interaction. However, the Straddlers are sounding the alarm about how such government policies risk the loss of respect for destruction of “the economy”.

The Straddlers find themselves straddling precisely because they ultimately have the same ethical philosophy as the Dark-siders. The straddle can be recognized by language to the effect that “Yes, the government must save lives with the current policies, but not so long that we destroy the economy.” For example, conservative talking head Ben Shapiro (who I respect a great deal notwithstanding his Straddler-camp membership) is not happy about it, but he does not object to the current government policy provided it is time-limited enough to prevent irreversible economic damage:

“As people have to choose between the risks of Coronavirus and the reward of having a job – as that calculation becomes more and more immediate, which it’s going to be over time – the government is going to have to lay out a timeline for how long this thing lasts…” – Ben Shapiro, “What The Hell Happens Now?” (Ep. 975)

The Straddlers argue that some balance must be struck between the harm caused by the disease and the harm caused by the government’s response to the disease; between leaving the ill to die and deliberately destroying “the economy”. For example, Canadian historian John Robson recently tweeted:

“…in a pandemic 1st step is react strongly in case it’s very contagious & very lethal. Then give it sober 2nd thought, because a months-long shutdown certainly has a high mortality rate. & figure out the real COVID-19 mortality rate so we strike the right balance.”

Straddling – attempting to find a balance between following but also not-following government policy that destroys the economy – is a doomed and, ultimately, corrupt undertaking, as a matter of political philosophy. The Straddlers, saddled with the same ethical philosophy as the Dark-siders, find themselves desperately looking for a way of having their cake and eating it too; praying for a discovery that will allow ethical philosophy simultaneously to dictate and not dictate policy.

The Common Ethical Foundation of the Two Camps: Altruism

What, then, is the ethical philosophy that is causing government to adopt Coronavirus policies that necessarily inflict pain and loss on everyone? What is the ethical philosophy that founds the proposals of Dark-siders and Straddlers alike? The formal philosophical name for that ethical philosophy was coined by 19th century French philosopher Auguste Comte. He called it “altruisme” (in English: altruism), which is a word derived from the Latin “alteri huic” meaning “to this other”, and from the Italian “altrui” meaning “somebody else”.

According to altruism, each individual’s highest purpose is to save others from loss, suffering, or death. That which is of the greatest value to an individual is said to be the survival of people other than himself or herself. Thus, according to altruism, the greatest virtue one can practice – the greatest means to that end – is self-sacrifice.

Self-sacrifice entails giving without receiving in exchange anything that is of any use for your own survival and happiness (keep in mind that, when you do receive something of equal or greater value, that is not a sacrifice: it’s just a trade). It entails giving money, food, shelter etc. to anyone and everyone who is in need. It does not matter whether the person is a sinner or a saint. Another’s need is the only price he or she pays in exchange for what altruism commands you to give to him/her. In this sense, need is the currency of altruism.

Altruist ethics applies with equal vigour to your conduct. If another person is in need of your services or assistance, the altruist ethics requires that you provide it, and not instead favour using your time and energy to pursue your own survival and happiness.

Altruism is not limited to material goods and services. It commands that you express admiration, respect, love, or friendship to anyone and everyone who is in need of it. Again, whether a saint or a sinner – whether on one hand a brilliant inventor, a person of integrity, a family member or mate, or a consistent holder of good will toward innocent individuals, or whether, on the other hand, a brain-dead heroine addict, a shameless bullshitter, a stranger, or an abusive jerk – if the person lacks/needs admiration, respect, love, or friendship, you are to give it unconditionally, an in the same measure you would give it to anyone.

The greatest act of altruism is the sacrifice not merely of one’s material and spiritual things of value, but of one’s life. Yes, you ultimately will die without material values such as food, and you ultimately will die if you do not conduct yourself in such a way as to produce those material values. However, in a clear-cut case of “him or me” – i.e., if another person is probably going to die unless you die instead – the most obvious and perfect act of altruistic virtue is: to die. The most widely-recognized example of this, of course, is that of Jesus who – according to Christian beliefs – saved everyone else by dying for their sins (it is, of course, for this reason that the symbol most associated with Christianity is the cross on which he was crucified).

The Political Philosophy That is Founded Upon Altruism: Collectivism

Every political philosophy is a logical consequence of an ethical philosophy. When altruism is the foundational ethics, the logical consequence is collectivism. Such is the political philosophy espoused by Naomi Klein and others.

According to collectivism, every individual’s highest purpose (saving others from loss, suffering, and death) dictates that every individual has a political duty to serve not himself, but the entire collective of which he is deemed to be nothing but a part. “We’re all in this together”, say some, because there is no “I” in “we”. The individual is nothing. The collective is all.

But which collective? What is the nature of this collective? What does the collective we “need” from you? The answer is: there is no one answer. Altruism provides politicians and other policy wonks with a political philosophy blank cheque. Thus:

  • Russian Communist Vladimir Lenin concluded that good collectivist public policy was “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”. He believe his government should therefore seize the property of the wealthy and productive and redistribute it to the poor and underproductive.
  • German “national” socialist Adolf Hitler said that his blonde, blue-eyed German “Aryans” were superior to other “races” primarily because of their willingness to sacrifice of themselves for others. He believed that it was good collectivist government policy to seize the property of non-Aryans (Jews and others who he believed lacked the virtue of self-sacrifice), and also tell his Aryans what to produce, at what price to sell it, when, and to whom.
  • Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg implies that her generation is superior to older ones primarily because of their purported willingness to make the sacrifice of doing without all of the things that large-scale, reliable, power generation makes possible. She believes that those unwilling to engage in such sacrifice, for the alleged benefit of future generations, should be put up against a wall (i.e., sacrificed to serve the needs of younger generations)
  • Everyday vanilla “liberals” and “conservatives” – including, notably, Toronto Mayor John Tory – in North America will regularly assert that we let business people build big business and make lots of wealth so that it can be taxed and be spent on the “needs” of the public, such as, well, tax-funded health care goods and services. For the same reasons, they argue, also, for a “robust economy”, and for enactment of whatever government policies they believe will achieve it.

“Ontario has all the right stuff to be on top, to be a leader again. All that’s lacking is a government which gets it. A Premier who understands that you need a strong private sector job creation to pay for public services.” – John Tory, from a 2008 budget-related speech

The current governmental response to the Coronavirus is no different in principle. Your highest purpose is to save others (in this case, that minority of us who might die as almost all of us are infected with SARS-Cov-2) from loss, suffering, or death, so government policy must make that purpose your legal duty. You are to regard the survival of others – in this case, those who might die from SARS-Cov-2 infection – to be more important than the survival or happiness of everyone else, so government policy must ignore or place relatively little weight on the harm that policy does to your prospects for survival and happiness. It is virtuous for you to sacrifice of yourself in order to save the vulnerable minority, so the government must enact laws and policies that force you to make those sacrifices. In short: altruist ethical values and virtues necessarily yield collectivist Coronavirus policy.

The Problem: Altruism Is Not Practical

Sacrifice is not a means of survival. It is a means of becoming needy. Going without a job, without an income, without food, and without shelter is not a way to produce anything that is of value to anyone.

Altruism is not practical. It is not a means of survival. If pursued with integrity and consistency, it is a means of suicide. And, when it is enforced by law, it is a means of murder.

That’s not merely theory. It’s a matter of recorded history. Witness the millions murdered in Russia, in China, and – of course – in Nazi Germany – in the 20th century alone – all in efforts to achieve an ethically altruistic, hence politically collectivist, ideal.

Moreover, it is not as though one can make altruism practical by finding a balance between the harm caused by the virus and the harm caused to “the economy”. “The economy” is just a word used to refer to collective, overall, macro result of the decisions and actions of individuals. Even if it were possible for a government to “save the economy” by telling people what to do with their energies and property – for example, by using tax revenues to pay private businesses to build ventilators or to make certain drugs; by bailing out banks; by telling employers that they must stop doing business but pay their laid-off employees; by telling landlords that they must not evict those who stop paying their rent; by telling banks that they must not foreclose on homeowners who stop making mortgage payments; etc. – such collectivist political measures would be the fruits of altruism. The earner must sacrifice earnings to government so that it can pay businesses for that equipment/medicine; the producers of that equipment/medicine must sacrifice their liberty to pursue more profitable production; the landlords and banks must go further into debt so that their employees, tenants and mortgagors do not; etc.. Suicides, marital break-downs, the estrangement of children from their parents: all such things will result from ill-founded attempts to “save the economy”. Such measures do not and cannot save the economy. In the long run, they can only destroy it.

In short, if our governments continue to found Coronavirus policy on altruistic ethics, the result will not be pro-life. It will be anti-life. It, inevitably, will do more harm than it prevents. It will harm many more people, and for a much, much longer time.

There Is An Alternative: Rational Egoism

If the government’s Coronavirus policy is to be good, it must be founded on an ethics that defends human nature rather than attempting to defeat it. That ethics will recognize that human nature is such that a human cannot survive without rational productive effort: rational production is the uniquely human mode of survival. To defeat human nature is to defeat the human mode of survival. Ethics must defend, not defeat, that mode.

A pro-human, pro-survival, pro-happiness ethics will recognize as an individual’s highest purpose the pursuit of one’s own happiness, which is achieved by producing that which saves oneself, and one’s loved ones, from loss, suffering and death. That ethics will recognize that the greatest value to an individual is his own life (which life depends upon personal attainment of material and spiritual things that are supportive of survival and happiness). That ethics will recognize that, if one is to remain alive and pursue his own happiness, he must make and act upon decisions in a way that, in the long term, will achieve that end.

Such an ethical philosophy is referred to – by the honest – as rational egoism. Egoism refers to concern for oneself, but not all forms of egoism are pro human nature. “Rational” qualifies egoism with human nature: Man is the rational animal. “Rational” is a qualifier that refers to the rationality of the means by which one achieves the material (money, food, shelter etc.) and spiritual (respect, admiration, love, etc.) values upon which one’s own survival and happiness depend. Rational means are those used by honest, productive, independent, just, individuals of high integrity; those used by individuals who are rightly proud to have achieved their happiness by such virtuous means. If egoism is not rational – if it is irrational – the result is a series of usually unsuccessful efforts to survive and achieve happiness by resorting to dishonest, unproductive, dependent, unjust means of which nobody could feel any pride.

The political philosophy that is the inevitable consequence of rational egoism is: individualism. According to individualism, every individual’s highest ethical purpose (pursuing one’s own happiness) dictates that it must be government policy to defend every individual’s freedom to pursue his or her own happiness by rational means (or, if he/she chooses, not to pursue it). In particular, government must make it illegal for anyone to take your life, liberty, or property from you without your consent. The natural consequence of the political individualism that is founded upon rational egoism is that all trading between individuals – whether the trade of goods or services for other goods or services, or the trade of one’s love for another’s love – requires the consent of the traders involved. Such a system – a system in which the individual traders decide for themselves what they will give in exchange for what is offered – is referred to as: capitalism. Murder, slavery, rape, theft: all of these things are condemned by capitalism because they are irrational (hence vicious). They are irrational and vicious because they are attempts to obtain someone’s life, liberty, or property without his consent.

The Light-siders: Coronavirus Policy Founded Upon Rational Egoism

Enter, therefore, a third camp of policy wonks: the Light-siders, who want government policy to be founded upon a rational egoist ethical foundation; whose policies are pro-human, pro-survival, pro-happiness, pro-individual, and pro-capitalist. Light-siders put at the heart and foundation of their policy a commitment to ensure that every individual remains free to pursue his own happiness by rationally pursuing the material and spiritual values upon which his survival and happiness on this earth depends, even while a virus makes the rounds.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” – The Declaration of Independence

Light-siders make neither “the health care system” nor “the economy” their central focus. Their focus, instead, is on defending every individual’s freedom to pursue his or her own happiness by rational (hence peaceful and consensual) means. This is done by making and enforcing laws to prevent anyone from taking your life, liberty, or property from you without your consent, and to prevent you from taking someone else’s life, liberty, or property from him/her without his/her consent.

Such individual freedom necessarily implies great personal responsibility. If you are not competent to juggle chain saws, it is rational for you not to juggle chain saws. Likewise, if you are physically seriously vulnerable to the effects of SARS-Cov-2, your survival and happiness will depend upon you making and acting responsibly upon the decisions that will either make your infection less likely, or will make it less harmful to you. As a free individual, you can isolate yourself in your home. You can have food and other necessities delivered to you by paying others to do that for you voluntarily. You can pursue medical treatments that might be of assistance to you in coping with the infection.

However, in a pro-individual society that founds its policies on rational egoism, you have no moral or legal right to force others to make your infection less likely, or will make it less harmful to you. That you are vulnerable does not give you or your government a right to lock people out of their workplaces or into their homes. The possibility that you will die does not give you licence to impoverish workers and their families, their employers, their landlords, or their mortgagees.

Nor, in a pro-individual society, are you free intentionally to infect others or otherwise deliberately harm them without their consent. For example, if you have tested positive for a virus that is lethal to some, you are not free to enter another’s home without first telling its occupants that you are infected and letting them decide whether to allow you to enter. You are not free to infect food that you serve upon unwitting customers who may be particularly vulnerable. You are not free to hide your infection from border personnel who are responsible for preventing carriers of the virus from entering their country. At all times, the central question is: do you have informed consent from those who might become infected if they choose to interact with you? Put it this way: You would not – if you are a rational egoist – have sex with your spouse after contracting a sexually transmitted disease as a result of your infidelity, unless (a) you first told your spouse about the disease and how you obtained it, and (b) you next obtained his/her consent. The same applies with the Coronavirus.

Nor, in a pro-individual society, does your economic hardship entitle you to a bail-out. Calling upon the government to bail you or your business out is calling upon the government to rob from your neighbours; to sacrifice your neighbours to one extent or another.

Charity, Not Entitlement: Consensual Assistance

It is not as though, in a free society of individuals pursuing their own happiness by rational means, there is no support for those in need. It is merely the case that support in such a society is voluntary in nature, rather than obtained under threat of fine, imprisonment, or murder.

Such support is founded not upon a legal entitlement that you have, but upon the good will that the helpful have toward innocent victims of such things as Coronavirus. It is charity freely given, not welfare forcibly taken. It is something for which one should be thankful, rather than self-righteous. And, if given a chance to flourish, it is plentiful in a society of good people who love this earthly life, love pursuing their own happiness in it, and have no wish to see innocent victims in want or pain. For examples that already exist as responses to Coronavirus, see here and here.

A Few Arguably Light-sider Coronavirus Policies

I close this article with a few proposed Light-sider policies. The following is not an exhaustive list, of course, but the nature of the items in this list should convey to the reader a palpably different sense of life and of what constitutes good public policy:

  • Governments should end the current mandatory closures of businesses;
  • Governments should end the mandatory “shelter in place” of people who have not tested positive for the virus;
  • Governments should encourage – without legally mandating – the following:

– “social distancing” (i.e., the maintenance of a healthy separation between people who do not know themselves to be infected) – as a means of slowing the spread of the virus.

– voluntary self-isolation. Those who are vulnerable to suffering the worse reactions to infection to take the greatest precautions to minimize their likelihood of exposure while science and technology attempts to find medicines or vaccinations.

– voluntary rationing by retailers. Retailers should be encouraged to place limits on the quantity of goods that otherwise might be hoarded by the frightened or ill-motivated, and that will cause weeks or months of supply chain disruption.

– voluntary social distancing rules by retailers. Retailers should be encouraged to require patrons to purchase goods or services in ways that maintain social distancing, such as limiting the number of people allowed in their store/place of business at any one time, requiring that people line up in certain zones designed to maintain social spacing, etc..

  • Governments should make it clear that those who test positive for the virus will not be permitted to deliberately infect others. Temporary quarantine of those who are found to test positive for a potentially lethal virus is not anti-freedom but pro-freedom.
  • The government should attempt to alleviate the impact that the virus is having on people by reducing taxes. However, it should not take on a great deal of additional debt in lieu thereof: money borrowed by government today is money taxed out of your pocket tomorrow.
  • Governments should eliminate red tape and barriers to tests or development of new or experimental drugs or treatments.
  • Governments should eliminate laws that prevent the ill from volunteering themselves as test subjects.

Generally: Dark-sider and Straddler proposals should be rejected. Government must immediately and deliberately become mindful that anti-human-nature ethical philosophy is giving rise to the losses caused by de facto collectivist public policy. The sooner governments come over to the Light Side, the better.

{Paul McKeever is a lawyer, author, documentarian, and the Leader of the Freedom Party of Ontario in Canada}

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