Whatever Happened to ‘Follow the Science’?

Cal State Dominguez Hills student Steve Gomez, 23, receives a Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination in Carson, Calif., August 26, 2021. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
In some areas, public-health guidelines no longer recommend COVID maximalism. Will politicians listen to them, or defer to more-fearful voices?

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE F rom the start of the pandemic, writers at National Review and elsewhere have argued that governors and presidents cannot set policy just by “following the science.” Science has no legitimate way of assessing the public’s tolerance for certain measures and intrusions. Nor does it have the ability to weigh competing and contrary claims of political and economic liberty against public-health priorities.

It’s a problem we’ve seen over and over again. Governor Gavin Newsom will try to ward off criticism as illegitimate or troglodyte in nature, because he is “following the science.” Or some governments will see fit to foreswear responsibility for their

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