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Thomas Gallatin / November 3, 2020

Lockdowns and the Fundamental Divide Over Role of Government

COVID has exposed which side of the political aisle prioritizes protecting American Liberty.

The government response to the COVID-19 pandemic in many ways mirrors America’s debate over the very role of government. Those on the Left see greater government control over the lives of Americans as the best means of bringing an eventual solution to the novel virus. However, concerns about trampling individual rights are ignored if not derided as “selfish,” all for the greater “good” of “protecting Americans’ health,” even if it comes under the heavy hand of the government and its “experts.”

On the other side, conservatives see the greater government “solution” as more dangerous than the virus, as it comes at the steep price of individual liberty. Besides, the government doesn’t exactly have a great track record. Conservatives prize Liberty and reject the idea that individual rights should be sacrificed for the agenda of the governing elites.

The greatest way in which this divide has been displayed in 2020 is the ongoing debate over the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of economic lockdowns. President Donald Trump has repeatedly exhorted state governors to end their lockdowns, as he contends that he doesn’t want the cure to be worse than the disease. Of course, on the other hand, Joe Biden hits back by pointing to more than 231,000 dead Americans, while claiming (without evidence) that the number will double if Trump gets his way and lockdowns are lifted too early.

There’s no question the lockdowns have had massive economic consequences and, thus, devastating effects on people’s lives. It’s hard to make a living when you’re not allowed to work. Furthermore, the red states that have opened their economies find themselves in much better economic shape and, importantly, have not faired significantly worse from the pandemic than those that have remained stubbornly closed. To make matters more contentious, there’s little concrete evidence supporting the argument that the lockdowns have significantly hampered the spread of the novel virus.

So, as Americans go to the polls today, they’re not merely voting for whether Trump deserves four more years or whether he should be replaced by Joe “The Big Guy” Biden. They’re voting on two very different visions of government. This includes the question of whether or not to lock down.

Trump is, of course, the pro-economy candidate who will trust the American people to make choices for themselves, while Biden is the candidate of Big Government who will expand the lockdowns and trust the experts over the American people. We’ll soon learn what vision Americans choose.

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