IT’S the big political story of the day in the US: Harvard professor Jason Furman, former top economic adviser to Barack Obama, says the US economy will roar back to life in a manner and at a pace never seen before: “We are about to see the best economic data we’ve seen in the history of this country,” he told a Zoom conference of influential policy-makers in April. This is why the Democrat Party is stridently opposed to the re-opening of the economy. They want it to remain shuttered until Joe Biden – or his medically necessitated replacement – wins office, whereupon a Democrat administration will be associated with the economic surge.
Pavs and Pav nots
The left’s love of lockdowns is not all driven by the politics of the 2020 presidential election, of course. Voodoo zealots for an indefinite suspension of business have different psychological predispositions. Some are just lily-livered hypochondriacs; others, like the NHS-clappers in Britain are converts to a cause – they don’t want this period of secularist piety and phony togetherness to end. But it’s fair to say that leftists, generally – including, by definition, the Karens and Brads of the Liberal Party – see lockdowns as a political weapon against everyman (the deplorables) whose ‘freedoms’ they regard with contempt. For them, this is a chance to entrench reflexive docility, à la Pavlov: the state declares a ‘crisis’ and proposes liberty-suspending ‘measures’ to ‘combat’ it. The ploy can be used over and over again, chiefly in relation to ‘climate change.’
If the bullish economy revivalists succeed – most especially in America under Donald Trump’s auspices – they would regard it as a missed opportunity. What the lockdown left wants, then, is the permanent suspension of normal, accountable democracy. For reasons that transcend one nation’s election, the re-opening of America ASAP matters to the broader Western world – matters world-historically.