As China Retreats From Covid Lunacy, Lunacy Returns to the U.S.

covid restrictions
Ro Khanna, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

By John Tamny for RealClearPolitics

China allegedly faces dark days ahead. Why, you may ask? Because of freedom from coronavirus mandates.  

Who fears too much freedom in China? American reporters and corona-experts. Supposedly it will lead to death. You see, the view stateside among experts like Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel is that while China employed “extreme measures” before finally letting up, these measures limited hospitalizations and deaths related to the virus. Can the experts truly be serious?

To answer this question it’s useful to return to March of 2020 when locking Americans into their homes was justified for the latter allegedly protecting us from sickness that would overwhelm hospitals, and worse, death.

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Even libertarians bought into what was absurd, and plainly inimical to our health. The libertarian nailbiters who fell for the crushing of freedom know who they are, while the experts were plain wrong with their insults of the American people.

Regarding the experts, their thorough insult was in assuming that free people would act irresponsibly and engage in activity that would sicken them and kill them. Shame on them.

As for way too many libertarians, missed by the situationally freedom loving was the simple, but crucial truth that force is superfluous when a virus billed to be serious threatens. Really, who needs to be forced inside and away from people if the act of being out and about might result in sickness or death? Which is why the more threatening the virus, the more crucial is the freedom libertarians normally fight for.

Better yet, free people produce information. By doing as they wish, we find out from the freedom what activities threaten and what don’t. In hiding behind “there’s no libertarian answer to pandemics,” libertarians chose a horrid taking that blinded the population to the virus answer.

Bringing it all back to China, Emanuel worries about the country’s “Let-It-Rip Covid Reopening.” He starts with the laughable assertion that “China put the world in peril with its coverup and slow response to the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 three years ago.”

Yes, somehow Chinese leadership in the age of smartphones, internet, sophisticated intelligence services, and even more sophisticated equity markets was going to hide a rapidly spreading virus from the rest of the world. Goodness, the Soviets couldn’t even hide Chernobyl in 1986, but the Chinese had the ability to hide a virus that was spreading faster than the flu? No, not remotely serious.

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Importantly, Emanuel unwittingly happens upon the shallow nature of his argument in total with his acknowledgement of China’s “slow response to the emergence” of the virus. Which is the point, or should be. Perhaps unknowingly, China already employed a “Let-It-Rip Covid” strategy back in 2019 and early 2020. Did people die en masse amid all this freedom? Of course not.

To the latter, some will respond that the Chinese covered up mass death, but what politicians might try to hide markets expose. Never forget that the U.S.’s largest, most valuable companies had and have enormous exposure to the Chinese market. As I point out in my 2021 book about the lockdown tragedy, When Politicians Panicked, if the virus had been a major killer (or even hospital-izer) of the Chinese people, this would have quickly revealed itself through a collapse of U.S. equity shares to reflect a shrinking market in China, and a soon-to-be-shrunk market stateside.

Instead, and as a very-much-in-the-news virus spread, U.S. equities reached all-time highs.  

All of which brings us to the present. Emanuel and the lockdown crowd he caucuses with lament that the return of freedom to the Chinese people “could have been done responsibly.” Too much freedom too fast according to Emanuel et al. He writes that rather than gradually giving it back with experts like him fully in charge, “China ended zero Covid in the most dangerous way possible – precipitously.”

Basically, Emanuel is reviving the insulting arguments used by experts and politicians back in March of 2020 in the U.S. The Chinese people, like the American people before them, cannot be trusted with freedom. Emanuel contends that freedom in China “could overwhelm hospitals and could cause a million deaths.”

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The above could be true, but it’s near certainly not true given the human instinct to avoid sickness and death. Translated for those who need it, free people will protect themselves much more effectively than governments. Someone should inform Dr. Emanuel of this simple truth, along with an even bigger truth about government power and its much more correct correlation with death.

John Tamny is editor of RealClearMarkets, Vice President at FreedomWorks, a senior fellow at the Market Institute, and a senior economic adviser to Applied Finance Advisors ( His latest book is The Money Confusion: How Illiteracy About Currencies and Inflation Sets the Stage For the Crypto Revolution.

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