Opinion Piece by Josh L. Ascough
For the past couple of weeks, the United Kingdom has been on a lockdown in an attempt to counter the spread of COVID-19.
This has ranged from businesses being forced to close, a government allocated, one exercise per-day outside, hospital appointments not deemed “essential” by the central powers that be, and police issuing fines, using drones to spy on citizens and overall adopting an Orwellian method, all under a catchy dystopian slogan; ‘Stay At Home. Protect The NHS. Save Lives.’
There are also the Keynesian Economic models the government has adopted: Bailing out industries with taxpayer money, setting interest rates lower than the market rate, looking to cover 80% of wages, which, with a country on an economic shutdown, no new revenue will be brought in by plundering wages or businesses not in business, so the only means will be expanding government bonds furthering debt, or, as has been suggested and is the usual method by the central bank; printing more fiat money. These put us at great risk of pushing ourselves into another recession, or worse an inflationary recession; a devalued currency occurring due to printing money without wealth creation (we must remember that money still falls under supply/demand; more within the supply decreases the value), alongside devalued capital which starts, as stated above, with the central bank expanding credit and setting rates low; giving false signals to capital investors, leading them to grasp for resources when there are too few. This lasts until the bank reaches shaky ground and raises the rates, causing the capital to go bust, which ultimately leads to living standards falling. The worst financial enemy of the poor during this pandemic is not “income inequality”, which is a redundant terminology, but a money which can buy less. You can’t grow an economy through the printing of money, plundering money through taxation, decreasing rates or by bailing out industries; growth is production of what people demand; that’s entrepreneurship.
You may be wondering why I started with such emphasis on the economic costs of the lockdown.
While many who are sceptical of the lockdown will claim the economic and social ramifications are separate, they must be seen as one and the same, as the economy is not a car with an engine to be repaired as a separate object from the driver; no expert can “fix” the economy as there is no “it”. the economy is us, it is organic; based on the actions, choices and subjective values each of us holds with them meeting in equilibrium; to lockdown the economy or the social liberties of society we exist within is the same; they are both intruding on choice, claiming which of our values are “essential”, and who’s needs are more “legitimate”.
That is the realm I will focus on: Choice.
I do not deny the seriousness of COVID-19, and I find the emotional arguments (if they can even be called arguments) of “How many deaths is enough?” and “You’re selfish”, to be repulsive ways to simply dehumanise those who wish to be responsible for themselves, without threats from the state and who dare to question whether restricting liberties is the best cause of action to take, or whether there were other options on the table. My position on COVID-19 is the same as my position on climate change: Is it serious? Yes. Is the best solution through government control? No.
People can only flourish when free to find passion, profit, charity and love; through the shaking of a hand and the ability to identify their own risks, gains, values and needs; not through a steel boot. We need to recognise that the economics and the social aren’t things that can be mastered, planned or engineered, and to believe otherwise is the pretence of knowledge.
The crucial risk to our liberties is that it will lead to social engineering, similar to China with its so called “social credit”. We are already seeing signs of this being an easy success for the government, with neighbours snitching on neighbours, when they do not know the reason, risk analysis, or circumstance of the individual.
It was recently suggested that the government could completely ban all outdoor exercise; again, the shoe doesn’t, and cannot fit all feet. Many people within our nation suffer with depression, and for some, going out for a jog can help. Even if a person doesn’t have depression, going out can be good for clearing ones head from stress; so to use the emotional argument so often used against the sceptics of force: how many suicides from stress and depression have to happen before restrictions are seen as at least, not the best cause of action. Everyone should be concerned with our situation for two reasons:
(1) It shows how easy it is for the government to shut down society.
(2) The Income Tax was meant to be “temporary”. So how many of the new restrictions will be “temporary”.
I will finish by quoting the words to a rap song by Emergent Order:
“Let’s unite people from every nation, in peace, exchange and cooperation.”
Josh L. Ascough is on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/j.l.ascough/