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Monday, August 30, 2021

Covid: How the West Embraced Central Planning and Abandoned Human Rights


Covid: How the West Embraced Central Planning and Abandoned Human Rights

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08/27/2021 | 

In January 2020, Hubei and more than a dozen other provinces in mainland China implemented totalitarian lockdown measures, such as the closure of schools and workplaces, and strict restrictions on travel and mobility, including the suspension of all public transport, the cancellation of flights, blocking train and bus routes, and closing highway entrances. Efforts to bring the outbreaks under control in these provinces also included mask mandates and strict stay-at-home orders. By the end of February 2020, the pandemic was largely under control in most Chinese provinces, which led the government to start easing many of the oppressive lockdown measures the following month. The lockdown was officially lifted on April 8, 2020, seventy-six days after it was initially implemented.

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared that the covid-19 outbreak was being upgraded from a public health emergency to a pandemic. In response, government officials in many liberal countries, along with a handful of unelected medical experts, did not hesitate to adopt containment measures similar to the ones imposed in China, including internal and external border closures, and “extremely coercive and restrictive lockdowns and physical distancing measures for the stated purpose of bringing the pandemic under control and preventing future outbreaks.” That means, instead of managing a situation that spontaneously emerged with the tools of spontaneous order (also known as free and open societies), which F.A. Hayek described as a self-generating, self-regulating, and self-correcting system, these politicians and their unelected medical experts consciously chose to implement an artificial order that was imported from China. This was done despite the fact that, historically, these countries have been persistently critical of artificial order (also known as designed, involuntary or exogenous order), which refers to the deliberate central planning of all aspects of a society by a head of state (or a group of people) for the purpose of attaining predetermined ends. Hayek warned that states that turned to artificial order in order to achieve their predetermined goals would inevitably resort to coercion and the imposition of a set of practical rules that would dictate the actions, conduct, and values of individuals in public, as well as in their private spheres. According to him, all totalitarian regimes, including Bolshevist Russia, Nazi German, and Fascist Italy, were artificially ordered societies. Contrary to a spontaneously ordered society, where there are no predetermined and intricately planned large-scale collective goals to be achieved by a superior authority, and each individual executes their own plans based on their own will, values, and choices, in an artificial order, “the planner's own plan” replaces “the plans of his fellow-men.”1 In other words, the planner seeks to “deprive all other people of the power to plan and act according to their own plans. He aims at one thing only: the exclusive absolute pre-eminence of his own plan.”2

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