Between an economic recession and civil unrest in every corner of the country, perhaps it should come as no surprise to see heated exchanges between public officials on national television.
In a spirited parley on Wednesday with Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) delivered a much-needed condemnation of the political elite and the hubris Americans have grown so tired of hearing from Washington.
“It is a fatal conceit to believe any one person or group of people has the knowledge necessary to direct an economy or dictate public health behavior,” said Paul. “It’s important to realize that if society meekly submits to an expert, and that expert is wrong, a great deal of harm may occur.”
In the short time that has passed since, pundits and commentators have reacted in a multitude of ways. While many of the usual detractors pounced on what seemed like an opportunity to lambaste Paul, others proudly took to social media to defend him.
As refreshing as the senator’s input is, however, this sentiment is but an echo of what numerous scholars and thought leaders have been saying for decades: No one — not even the most brilliant “experts” in the world — holds the foresight or wisdom to make such far-reaching decisions over the daily lives of ordinary people.
In his Nobel Prize Lecture in December 1974, world-renowned economist Friedrich A. Hayek condemned the economic theories that had, for generations, dominated global commerce (namely, the Keynesian school). In an excoriation of what he called the “pretense of exact knowledge,” Hayek issued a timeless warning against the “scientistic” approach to economic policy, that is, the habit of applying the immovable axioms of the hard sciences to the spontaneous fluctuations of the market, which he argued “will hardly ever be fully known or measurable.”
And now, as the unholy alliance between scientism and economic policy marches toward reunification, the warnings from generations past are perhaps even more relevant today than they were then,
Even as COVID-19 deaths finally approach a long-desired decline, 20 states (including ruby red strongholds like Texas and Kansas) have implemented orders requiring residents to wear masks in public. Meanwhile, California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom just issued yet another order requiring businesses in 19 counties to shut their doors. And after months of enforcing some of the country’s harshest stay-at-home orders, Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has once again ordered bars in lower Michigan to shut down (including those in the Detroit area).
Additionally, the city of Chicago just passed a public health order requiring travelers from a list of 15 states to quarantine upon arrival. Failure to do so is punishable by “fines of $100 to $500 per day.”
Of course it’s no secret just how out of touch the political class is from the headaches their policies inflict on the good, hardworking men and women of this country. But how much longer are we really prepared to tolerate their efforts to subdue our civil liberties and economic well-being? Will it really be (as they’ve promised us again and again) just a few more weeks when the virus is, according to their “expert” definition, “under control”?
The question Paul is ultimately trying to ask is this: Should solving society’s most pressing issues really be left to an unelected bureaucrat or entrusted to everyday people? One thing is for certain. We either believe in liberty in times of crisis, or we don’t believe in liberty at all.
That’s why I stand with Rand.