According to authoritarian governors, especially Andrew Cuomo, the COVID episode proves how much we need muscular government, led by people who don’t hesitate to coerce people in the name of safety. What they don’t want anyone to think about is the horrible unintended consequences of their actions.
James Bovard does want people to think about those consequences in his latest essay for AIER, “No Victory Lap for Governors Who Locked Down America.”
Among the bad results of lockdowns was a host of mental problems. Bovard writes:
The lockdowns that governors imposed also pointlessly ravaged many Americans’ mental health. The Centers for Disease Control last month reported a 51% increase in emergency room visits for suspected suicide attempts by teenage girls in early 2021. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey found a 300% increase in the percentage of adults reporting symptoms of anxiety disorder and/or depressive disorder (41% of adults in January 2021). The CDC also reported a record number of drug overdose deaths last year, due in part to the lockdowns and other government-imposed disruptions.
Moreover, the economic devastation was immense.
Cuomo, Whitmer, Newsom, and other authoritarians will say that they had good intentions and just wanted to keep people safe. The trouble is that whatever their intentions, the results were disastrous. Politicians should not have such power.
Bovard concludes, “In reality, Cuomo’s speech relied on what Hegel called “the truth which lies in power.” As long as politicians are exalted, the actual details of their decrees are irrelevant: they have been coronated as saviors. Cuomo assured his fellow Covid-profiteering governors that ‘this will happen again.’ This is why Americans must recognize the catastrophic failure of political iron fists during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Yes, this will happen again, maybe another health scare, maybe some other reason for politicians to act like dictators. We need to learn from COVID and stop the abuse of power.