Hot Air posted an article today that included a recent quote from a Washington Post article:
Hot Air reports:
Over at the Washington Post, Keith Humphreys ended the week on a pessimistic note, opining that no matter how much testing and contact tracing is required to get us fully past this pandemic, America will never do as well as several other countries that seem to be taming the virus more quickly. The reason? Because Americans love their “freedom” too much. (Please note for the record that it was Humphreys who put the word freedom in scare quotes, not me.)
We love our “freedom” too much?! You mean that same freedom that men died for in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1912, World War I and World War II? You mean that same freedom that men and women today serve in our military to defend? You mean that same freedom that men and women spend months away from their families to protect? You mean that same freedom that allows you to post really dumb things in your newspaper?
The article continues:
He begins by quoting medical professionals who insist that the only path toward the new normal relies on our ability to “test, isolate, contact trace and quarantine.” He then lists a few examples of countries where those practices appear to be helping them tame the virus, including Germany, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. But, the author argues, we may never succeed in the same fashion because such programs would require not only a willingness to surrender considerable privacy rights and freedoms, but also a general attitude of trust towards the government which doesn’t exist in the United States today.
The article concludes:
I suppose we should examine this analysis with two questions in mind. First, is Humphreys correct? And second, even if we assume that he is, should we really be envious of people living under harsher authoritarian rule and emulate their behavior if it gets us past the pandemic faster?
As to the first question, I have no argument to offer. The author is absolutely correct. Americans are probably just about the orneriest group of curmudgeons on the planet when it comes to bending to the will of the government. That’s because we are arguably the freest people on Earth. We were born of generations of people who had experienced life under the rule of a monarch without any serious assurances of God-given rights. And they wound up telling that monarch to go stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. We’re not all that different today.
…In the end, we’re probably doing the best we can do in our fight against the novel coronavirus. Every nation has to come up with their own solution and ours will wind up being uniquely American, framed around both our scientific capabilities and our values. If that means that we can’t get our virus numbers down to nearly zero as fast as some other nations, so be it. Heck, we still don’t know with 100% certainty if this virus can ever be eliminated or if we’ll ever have a vaccine. But if not, we’ll at least go down swinging.
I wish we still taught civics in school. If we did, Keith Humphreys might realize that America was founded by people who had just fought a war against a tyrannical government. They set laws in place to protect what they referred to as ‘God-given rights.” The laws were to limit the government–not to limit people’s freedom. Anyone who wants to live under a more tyrannical system is free to move to another country–there are many out there that fit that description. Meanwhile, Americans like their freedom and are generally willing to protect it.