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The Price of Panic: How the Tyranny of Experts
Turned a Pandemic into a Catastrophe
by Douglas Axe, William M. Briggs, and Jay W. Richards
For the first time in history, the world shut itself down — by choice — all for fear of a virus that wasn’t well understood. The government, with the support of most Americans, ordered the closure of tens of thousands of small businesses — many never to return. Almost every school and college in the country sent its students home to finish the school year in front of a computer. Churches cancelled worship services. “Social distancing” went from a non-word to a moral obligation overnight. Moral preening on social media achieved ever new heights.
The world will reopen and life will go on, but what kind of world will it be when it does? It can’t be what it was, because of what’s just happened. We need to know what and how it happened, to keep it from ever happening again.
Professors Jay Richards, William Briggs, and Douglas Axe take a deep dive into the crucial questions on the minds of millions of Americans during one of the most jarring and unprecedented global events in a generation — the COVID-19 pandemic.
● What will be the total cost in dollars, lives, and livelihoods of this response from governments, on advice from
● How did science bureaucrats, relying on murky data and speculative computer models, gain the power to shut
down the global economy?
● How did politicians, who know nothing of the science, decide whom to trust?
“When modern Americans think of tyranny, we picture dictators of the recent past: Stalin, Hitler, Mao,
Mussolini. When the American Founders thought of tyranny, they pictured kings, and parliaments, and mobs. They knew from their study of history to fear the tyranny of the majority. We got a taste of this in 2020. In their panic, most Americans supported the lockdowns.”
“We had plenty of options between ‘business as usual’ and ordering 95 percent of the public to stay at home. So, we still have to ask: First, did we have good reason, even at the start, to think that lockdowns as actually practiced would save millions of lives? And second, with the benefi t of hindsight, do we have good reason to think they did?”
“The protests and riots exposed the naked hypocrisy of the press, politicians, and public health offi cials. They exempted and even encouraged protesters and rioters while scolding everyone else.”
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
—C. S. Lewis