On ‘The Cure Is Worse Than the Disease’

The Wall St. Bull on a nearly empty Broadway in the New York financial district as the coronavirus outbreak continues, March 23, 2020. (Mike Segar/Reuters)
In the face of the coronavirus crisis, our leaders are trying to answer unanswerable questions.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE J onah Goldberg wrote a book arguing that we live in part under a “tyranny of clichés,” and one of the most shopworn of clichés — “The cure is worse than the disease” — is at the moment at the forefront of our public discourse. Millions of lives and untold trillions in wealth and income may be saved — or lost — as the result of public policies shaped by that cliché.

In the matter of the coronavirus epidemic and our response to it, the question “Is the cure worse than the disease?” is almost useless, because it asks us to judge

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