Joe Biden climbed out of his basement last week. Twice! Once to deliver a brief but well-received address at the Democratic National Convention, and once to give a socially distanced interview to ABC News with his wing-woman Kamala Harris. The big news out of the interview is that Biden said he would shut America down again if scientists told him to.
If this is true, then I have a question. Why are we even bothering to consider Biden? Why not just elect Dr. Anthony Fauci, or Dr. Deborah Birx if we want to smash glass ceilings in the process?
This is really not a facetious question. Shutting down America again would not only cripple America, but it would also make any other policies that Biden might have in mind utterly pointless. A jobs program when nobody can go to work? An education program when nobody can go to school? An infrastructure program with no construction workers? I mean, how does this work?
The big giveaway in Biden’s answer is that he openly would give away the power of free citizens in a democratic-republic to make their own decisions and not be dictated to by “experts.” I recently interviewed Brown University economics professor Glenn Loury, who put this very well. He said experts should be on tap, not on top. On tap for us, but not on top of our lives. You can see the clip here.
“Experts don’t get to make decisions in a democracy, the people do informed by experts. Experts should be on tap, not on top.” –@GlennLoury pic.twitter.com/mPEtfbcivE
— The Federalist (@FDRLST) August 17, 2020
This cannot be stressed enough. It is the great tragedy of our response to the Chinese virus. Nobody has clean hands on this — not Trump, not conservative media, nobody. Very early on we all made a decision as a society to hand our freedom to a small group of people because they have lab coats with fancy logos. It’s shocking. It is something that America needs to come to terms with because what we did can never happen again.
The misery, joblessness, loss of life, addiction, destruction of businesses, suicides — they all happened. It wasn’t people wanting manicures and brunch, it was peoples’ lives being destroyed. Did we have to do it? Maybe. Maybe we did have to do it, maybe that heavy human toll had to be accepted to stop the spread.
But we didn’t even have a conversation about it. We just pretended the downsides didn’t exist. When President Trump or anyone else said, “Wait, this is gonna hurt people too,” they were called grandma killers.
Biden just told us that as president of the United States he will do whatever the science bureaucracy tells him to do. Then why have a president? What good is he? Literally anyone could do that. If the new rule is that nobody gets to go outside or go to church unless Dr. Fauci says so, then why have a president? Why have a Constitution? Let’s just have a medical board that sends out decrees. Also one for the environment and racism. It’ll be easy, we just do whatever they say while we watch Netflix and order stuff from Amazon while having Zoom drinks.
Call me old fashioned, but I like the idea of elected officials actually making decisions. I thought it’s why we elected them. If scientists can just tell us at every turn what the right decision is like some supercomputer in Willy Wonka predicting where a Golden Ticket is, then why have a democratic system of government at all? The reason, as Gen Xers found out in the movie, is that supercomputers actually can’t predict very much at all. If they could, there would be no gambling.
Biden’s answer to this question is telling, and the tell is that he has no answers. What has been lacking with precious few exceptions throughout this entire crisis is adults willing to make hard decisions and not defer to experts to cover their asses. There were no perfect answers to this crisis. But we failed to even take into consideration legitimate competing interests against the lockdown.
Biden just promised to do that again. If that’s how he plans to lead, it’s not leadership. If that’s how he plans to govern, it’s not governance. He just told us exactly why there is absolutely no reason to vote for him.