By Alejandro A. Tagliavini *
In a previous column, I wrote that panic is the most effective weapon of authoritarianism because it clouds the mind and provokes primary reactions such as appealing to violence.
The “prophecy” has been fulfilled. Communist ideas have been fiercely spread. And then, when this crisis passes, they will say that the violence implemented was successful. With the excuse of coronavirus – which is blamed even for the fall in the stock markets as if it sold shares – individual liberties have been suppressed and many companies, as the private sector goes bankrupt, will be nationalized.
But the panic, deliberately increased by politicians to be able to exercise violence, not only destroys the economy to the point that hundreds of thousands of people will die of hunger in the world – many more than those who would still die from the coronavirus in the worst case scenario – it brings conflicts of all kinds even within families.
The frightened population calls to curtail freedoms and destroy the market. Even a leading Spanish economist considers that measures such as the suspension of schools, prohibition of crowds and isolation -without even considering the possibility that people freely, the market, and private activity efficiently control the epidemic- functioned during the 1918-1919 Spanish flu. It is the prejudice that the State, finally, is the one that solves everything, is a god.
Many specialists like Pablo Goldsmith assure that this virus is not so serious and the truth is that, even if it seems to accelerate, it still causes 20 times less deaths in the world than tuberculosis. But I will not enter this discussion, although the benefit of the doubt remains, unless some “god” has the absolute truth. In any case, even if the crisis is so serious, the State must not subjugate the human right of freedom. If someone is afraid and wants to be quarantined, let them do it, but there is no right to force anyone.
Not because of a matter of principle only, but because the market (the people) is who best takes care of himself because he is the one who knows himself best and has the most interest in his own health that for a bureaucrat – we well know – is a file number. The ineffectiveness of the State in controlling epidemics is well known in history. Ian Vásquez says that the US government did not allow private laboratories to develop tests for the virus, and insisted that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention develop the only approved kit that was found to be defective. Thus, the investigation was delayed for a month.
Free activity may very well control the virus. In England the panic and paranoia encouraged by politicians has caused people not to go out, but of their own accord, not forced.
Per case, the H1N1 virus epidemic in Argentina had 12,477 cases. A later study showed that more than 70% of the population had antibodies, that is, they had been infected, but only 685 died (against 4,000 due to seasonal flu that year) and without outlandish measures such as airport closings, restrictions on individual mobility and without the abolition of constitutional guarantees.
Corollary: the faster we end this paranoia, we demand that the State stop violating people and we take care of ouerselves and live life, the faster this communism that has invaded us will withdraw.
* Senior Advisor at The Cedar Portfolio and member of the advisory council of the Center on Global Prosperity, de Oakland, California