Mises Wire

Good Logic Prevents Bad Regulation

Much onerous and harmful government regulation can be prevented by the application of well-known and well-understood principles of logic. I will use the recent regulations placed upon Americans in response to the so-called pandemic. I refer to the panoply of regulations that government enacted starting in 2020 as the covid control program. Application of proper logic would have eliminated the debate over the possible effectiveness of the regulations by allowing the individual to decide for himself, without harm to others, whether or not to adopt them.

There were four main elements to the covid control program:

  1. Mandatory vaccines
  2. Mandatory masking
  3. Mandatory social distancing
  4. Mandatory business lockdowns (and the completely arbitrary division of businesses into “essential” and “nonessential”)

Vaccines were hyped as preventive measures for those who took them. It follows logically that one gained full benefit, if any, from obtaining the series of vaccine shots. Not obtaining the shots threatened no one but oneself. The same logic can be applied to masking, social distancing, and lockdown mandates. Masks were touted as protection from catching the virus. Forcing others to wear masks did nothing for oneself, despite later propaganda that “My mask protects you. Your mask protects me.” This was never the case. In fact, the well-known medical efficacy of masks—knowledge that was suppressed by government, mainstream media, and social networks—never claimed that wearing a mask protects one from a virus. Even if it did so, wearing a mask would have been purely a personal decision, and forcing others to wear masks did not make one less vulnerable since one could always wear a mask oneself.

Social distancing, which eventually led to extremes of Plexiglas barriers, bleach wipe-downs, and six-foot marks on floors, was pure theater. To the extent that private businesses employed such nonsense could be attributed to their perception of what fearful customers expected, and therefore businesses complied. But there was no logical reason to force all businesses to adopt these measures. Absent mandatory measures, customers always would have had the option to refuse to patronize businesses who did not adopt these measures. Those businessmen who did not adopt these measures could not possibly harm anyone who did not patronize their stores. Those who did patronize their stores would have accepted tacitly the personal risk.

Perhaps the worst mandatory restriction was forcing “nonessential” businesses to close. Let’s ignore for now the idea that some businesses are essential and others are not and concentrate on the logic of the rule itself. All one had to do to protect oneself, if one wanted to avoid human contact as much as possible, was to stay home! Are you safer from a virus if your neighbor is forced to stay home? If the streets are slick with snow and ice, are you protected from a possible automobile accident if your neighbor is forced to stay home?

Flattening the Curve and Kant’s Humanity Principle

Another use of faulty logic was the “flattening the curve” propaganda. The reason advanced by government to force everyone to comply with the full covid control program was that the above four measures would reduce the overall incidence of covid. This was never proven, of course, and probably never can be proven, because it is impossible to replicate the millions of health, environmental, and natural factors that exist at a point in time. In any event, such a policy violated Immanuel Kant’s humanity principle (i.e., that man cannot be used as a means to another man’s ends because man is an end in himself).

A simple example illustrates not only the illogic of the “flattening the curve” propaganda but the evil that it can justify. Early in their reign of terror, the Nazis euthanized the handicapped, the terminally ill, and the elderly in order to purge Germany of “undesirables.” Later, after the Germans accepted these measures, the definition of “undesirable” was expanded to homosexuals, gypsies, Slavs, and Jews. You may say that it can’t happen here, but the covid control program measures adopted by our government violated all ten points of the post–World War II Nuremberg Code related to medical experimentation. Such is the conclusion of Nicholas Bednarski, MD, as explained in a series of articles.

Conclusion: Let Logic and Natural Rights Guide Public Policy

At the present time there is no way of knowing the full extent of the harm that our government’s covid control program inflicted upon us. Nevertheless, revelations of government crimes are starting to emerge. There never was a logical reason to force the covid control program on the entire population in the first place. It could have been a personal choice, because one protects only oneself and harms no one else.

This logic can be applied to much government regulation and long-standing public policy. For example, is a mandatory Social Security program the best approach to help retirees who have not saved enough to live decently? The same question can be asked of Medicare and many more programs that provide universal benefits and not targeted ones. It is time to start asking these logical questions or the world will experience more such unnecessary and completely avoidable disasters as the covid control program.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
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