Intelligent Design

Government is a Blunt Instrument

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Government is good at imposing overarching regulations. Making finely tuned (or even roughly tuned) adjustments to fit particular circumstances? Not so much. This is nowhere more apparent than in the government’s decision to shut down “elective” procedures everywhere, even though the need to so so varied in the extreme from place to place. This article provides some details on the fiasco.

a friend who works in a cardiac intensive care unit (ICU) in rural Virginia called recently and told me about how they had reorganized their entire system around caring for coronavirus patients. They had cancelled most “non-essential” procedures, imposed furloughs and pay cuts, and created a special ICU ward for patients with COVID-19. So far, they have had only one patient. One. The nurses assigned to the COVID-19 ward have very little to do. In the entire area covered by this hospital system, only about 30 people have tested positive for COVID-19.

Government official 1: We have a pandemic! We need to impose some regulations.

Government official 2: Great. But let’s treat rural Virginia the same way we treat Manhattan.

6 Replies to “Government is a Blunt Instrument

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    polistra says:

    The need to do so did not “vary from place to place”. The need for lockdowns was precisely 0.0000000 everywhere. Lockdowns are not a public health procedure. Lockdowns are a public death procedure, fully intended as such from the start.

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    kairosfocus says:

    Poli, actually, here, I agree with the lockdown. Too many were refusing to take lesser measures seriously. A full lockdown with police checks seemingly everywhere have made some difference. KF

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    EDTA says:

    And for an overview of the science/math/logic behind the fact that government is always a blunt instrument, see NECSI:

    https://necsi.edu/complexity-rising-from-human-beings-to-human-civilization-a-complexity-profile

    (Ignore the occasional evolvo-speak. It’s not necessary for the validity of the central claims.)

    The summary is that any system that needs to grow in complexity also needs to grow in freedom. When freedom (free markets, e.g.) is taken away, and a command/control government takes over, only blunt-force things can happen. This is because control and coordination functions (that once happened freely and cut across all hierarchies) are constrained to only the government-approved channels, finely-tuned things can no longer happen. Edicts from Washington (Moscow) apply to everyone with no nuance possible. From the article:

    “A more familiar example…is the problem of food supply to a metropolitan area… In a metropolitan area there are hundreds to thousands of small and large supermarkets, thousands to tens of thousands of restaurants, each with specific needs that in the optimal case would be specified by immediate requirements (on demand) rather than by typical or average need over time. The suppliers of foods are also many and varied in nature… The market-based system achieves the necessary coordination of food supply without apparent hitch and with necessary margins of error…

    One can also understand why in a centrally controlled system, consistent and adequate food supply would be a problem. In order to have any hope of controlling such a supply problem it would have to be simplified to allow for only a few products in only a few stores. These were well-known characteristics of food supply in communist regimes. They were seen to reflect the general economic ineffectiveness of such forms of government.”

    A very good read. It will further arm you to explain to others why free markets are essential and why larger central governments are always bad.

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    BobRyan says:

    Those who support the lockdown don’t care about loss of life. They care about government power and nothing more. Criminal activity has not slowed down at all, which means you do not have a complete lockdown in any major city. Highly populated cities, like Mumbai and Tokyo, cannot socially distance under any circumstances.

    As is always the case with socialists, the ends will always justify the means. There is no value in truth to socialists. There is only value in governmental control over the masses. Socialists do not value people, they see people as animals and nothing more.

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