Greetings from another day of lockdown!
Is your state beginning to open up or make plans for opening?
I read an article last night that I thought I’d mention. It’s about deregulation in the face of COVID-19 and why governments are being forced to admit that their heavy-handed policies cause harm.
Most of us already know this is true. I’ve written books about it. F.A. Hayek wrote books about it. Murray Rothbard wrote books about it. Concerned economists and freedom-lovers have been writing and talking about it ‘til they are blue in the face for centuries.
And yet here we are again—in mid-2020, still talking about it.
Sometimes, there are events or times in human history where concerned citizens awake to a common realization and vow to never let “that” happen again. My hope is that we could be entering just such a time. I’m encouraged when I see people recognizing and speaking out about government regulations and red tape delaying testing, prohibiting private companies from using their resources to assist in a timely way, and delaying individuals from using their time and talents and ingenuity to help save lives.
What we’ve seen happen is governments being forced to temporarily shelve a lot of their rules and restrictions in the name of saving lives or allowing the needs of citizens to be met.
Restrictions on nurses and doctors traveling to other states to assist in times of crisis have been lifted, restrictions on licensing requirements for food and alcohol delivery have been lifted or significantly eased, restrictions on what types of tasks nurses are allowed to perform have been lifted, as have restrictions on what types of foods and drinks can be transported together.
The easing of these restrictions and rules haven’t caused mayhem and anarchy—quite the opposite! They’ve allowed the market to better provide for the needs and wants of individuals and communities. When this is all over, I believe it will be clear that the market is what ended up saving many of us—not the government’s central planning.
Not surprisingly, there has been a ton of pushback from groups that don’t want to see the easing of any restrictions. Government, and those who benefit from government, never want to loosen their hold on the people. In New Hampshire, lawmakers bristled at stories of people cutting their own, or each other’s hair—even within families—and reminded folks that the state requires proper licensing to cut hair. Facepalm.
So what’s going to happen when things finally begin to return to normal? Are people—even though they now have clearly seen how all of this government regulation ends up causing harm—going to sit back and let all of the red tape go back up? We know that’s what governments are going to want to do, so what are we going to do about it?
It can—and should—be argued that if restrictions on freedom can be lifted in times of crisis, then they can—and should—be lifted permanently. As we begin to win the war on COVID-19 let’s not get complacent. Now is the time that politicians are going to start jockeying for their special interests and governments are going to look to reclaim the controls they’ve “lost.”
Let’s make them fight us every inch of the way, shall we?
As a parting thought, let me answer the question I will no doubt receive in reply to this email from many of you: “so what exactly can we do?”
Each person has different talents and circumstances and opportunities, so I don’t have a single answer. But as the founder of a think tank working to change laws that restrict people from doing what they want, I suggest each of you take a moment to look up the right-of-center think tank operating in your state (you can use this directory to find it). Visit their website, sign up for their email list, follow them on social media, and see what they are doing in your neck of the woods to help. Connect with them and see if you can team up to work together!
Groups like mine are going to need all the help we can get to push back against the growth of government that inevitably occurs during times of crisis. Let’s each do our part!