Hoppe on the Lockdowns!

Thomas Jacob: Professor Hoppe, you are known as a critic of the state and of political centralization. Doesn’t the coronavirus prove that central states and central government regulations are necessary?

Hans-Hermann Hoppe: On the contrary.

Of course, the various central states and international organizations, such as the EU or the World Health Organization (WHO), have tried to use the covid-19 pandemic to their own advantage, i.e., to expand their power over their respective subjects, to try out how far one can go with ordering other people around in the face of an initially vague and then systematically dramatized danger of a global epidemic. And the extent to which this has succeeded, up to and including a general house arrest, is frightening.

But if the course of current events has demonstrated anything, it is not how necessary or efficient central authorities and decisions are, but conversely how critically important decentralized decisions and decision-makers are.

The danger emanating from an epidemic is never the same everywhere, for everyone, at the same time. The situation in France is different than that in Germany or Congo, and conditions in China are not the same as in Japan. And within diverse countries the threat level differs from region to region, from one city to another, between urban and rural areas, depending on the demographic and cultural composition of the population. Moreover, there is a whole range of greatly differing assessments and proposals concerning what and what not to do in the face of this threat level, all put forward by equally “certified scientific experts.” Therefore, any centralized, nationwide (in extreme cases, worldwide) measure to avert danger—a “one-size-fits-all” model—must from the outset seem absurd and inappropriate.

In view of this situation, it was only natural that, in addition to the representatives of the central governments, various provincial and local leaders everywhere quickly and increasingly became involved in the business of danger prevention. The epidemic offered them the perfect opportunity to distinguish themselves from the central state and its representatives and to expand their own sphere of power. They ignored, exacerbated, mitigated, delayed, or otherwise modified their central government’s measures for their respective regions, always with an eye on public, or rather published, opinion, and often carried by the hope of eventually qualifying for the office of central dictator by becoming a popular regional dictator.

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Πηγή: mises.org

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