It really can’t be questioned that the global response to this epidemic has been characterized by mass delusion and panic. I wanted to use a separate post to highlight this article which discusses that phenomenon. (ERPH Article) The authors delve into the phenomenon of mass delusion, as exemplified by the epidemic response. The authors come from Chile and Spain. Their thesis is that while many supposed that government is a force for better public health, its actions in promoting mass hysteria can actually harm the general welfare. The interplay of media, science, politics and government in the past and during this epidemic is studied. The authors suggest that government has actually encouraged the development of population-wide fear which is not supported by facts. This amounts to a massive infliction of psychological stress resulting in greater mental illness, as well as people missing needed health care. Modern governments have enormous powers and have grabbed even more by use of unlimited and indefinite “emergency” declarations. Those powers have clearly not been used for good.
This is very simple to me. Early on, partly out of a lack of dependable information, politicians and public health experts panicked. They did not act rationally, waiting for more reliable data, they simply panicked and took the most draconian steps imaginable. The public health experts relished their moment in the sun and could not resist the temptation to advocate extreme measures that failed to consider overall public health or welfare. Leaders mimicked each other and used what others were doing as an excuse for their own actions. When it became apparent that there had been an unnecessary over-reaction, both politicians and public health experts began twisting data and science to try to justify their behavior. Instead of acknowledging an excessive response, they doubled down, and spread greater fear. The traditional and social media were only too happy to aid in this process. This all could have been avoided by elimination or serious limitation of emergency powers. Forcing a truly democratic decision-making process on response measures would have resulted in a more rational response. If we are going to avoid this happening again, we must strip all governments of any emergency power lasting more than two or three days. And we must figure out a way to never again allow the kind of campaign of terror we have experienced in this epidemic to be imposed on Americans.