3 Lessons From the Pandemic and the Lockdown

June 10, 2020 Updated: June 14, 2020

Commentary

The pandemic and subsequent government-mandated lockdowns and their devastating economic effects have affected Americans differently.

The relatively affluent and financially secure have been free to engage in introspection and personal growth. While that might not have been their first choice, for most it wasn’t nearly as challenging a period as it was for Americans who have been scrambling (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) to keep from going broke.

Regardless of the impact of this cluster of crises, this spring has taught us (or should have taught us) three major political lessons that will affect us all going forward.

Lesson No. 1: The CCP Threat

The threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to our country and the whole world has become impossible to overlook or ignore.

With varying degrees of clarity and concern, Americans have been aware of the CCP’s ruthlessness. Most of us recognized that China has been waging war against American businesses, stealing their intellectual property, and targeting them for destruction.

A smaller group of Americans know about the CCP’s persecution of their Muslim Uyghur minority—the arrest of over a million of them without trial, forcibly separating them away from their families and depositing them in “re-education” camps. Similarly, too few Americans have heard about the CCP’s horrifying practice of killing political prisoners by harvesting vital organs from their bodies. A higher-profile example of CCP evil has been its naked attempts to trample and extinguish the rights and freedoms of the residents of Hong Kong since last summer.

But now, there’s no excuse for the mass of Americans to be oblivious to the unmistakable malevolence and the clear and present danger posed by the Chinese regime. So arrogant have the Chi-coms become that they no longer even try to hide their aggressive goals. The way they have conducted themselves during this global pandemic should remove all doubts about them.

The CCP made a cold-blooded policy decision not to warn the rest of the world about the emerging coronavirus; instead, they allowed infected citizens to travel and to spread the virus around the world. What was that, if not a hostile act?

The contempt that the Chinese communists have for everyone else is unmistakable. It has gotten so blatant that the editor of The Global Times (a mouthpiece for the CCP regime) responded to Australian concerns about the Wuhan/CCP virus by publicly insulting Australia, writing that that free nation is “like chewing gum stuck on the sole of China’s shoes.” Their public relations offensive against the United States has been even more offensive—making the outrageous claim that the United States spawned the pandemic.

None of this hateful behavior should surprise us. Remember: Vladimir Lenin himself openly taught, “Hatred is the basis of communism.” Some naïve people think all we have to do is be nice to the Chinese regime, and they will respond in kind. Sorry, but communists aren’t like that—it’s against their (atheistic) religion. American food aid averted mass starvation in the Soviet Union in the early 1920s, and the Soviet regime repaid our kindness by marking us as their No. 1 enemy.

Lenin once scornfully asserted that the capitalists would sell the communists the rope with which the latter would hang the former. But communists would not be so foolish as to sell us things that we vitally need, such as crucial pharmaceutical drugs or masks needed during a pandemic.

The bottom line: We need to understand that the communist virus is many times more lethal than COVID-19, and we need to rethink every aspect of our relations with China.

Lesson No. 2: Incompetence of Socialism

The U.S. government’s policy response to the pandemic illustrates the clumsy incompetence of socialism in practice. Central economic planning simply isn’t viable. Unsurprisingly, then, the implementation of emergency relief measures has been a veritable comedy of errors:

1) Tax-paying Americans have been given stimulus checks, but then ordered to avoid most stores, resulting in money sitting in bank accounts—unless the recipient has become unemployed and is using the checks to pay the rent and other expenses that would have been spent anyhow.

2) Unemployment benefits for many workers exceed their take-home pay. This has created massive disincentives to return to work, which, in turn, jeopardizes the survival of the small businesses (and the jobs they provide) that Congress hoped to save.

3) Thousands of loans were issued to ineligible recipients. The Small Business Administration alone issued more loans in 14 days than it had in the previous 14 years. Can you imagine how many billions of dollars were wasted and dispensed inappropriately?

4) Lending institutions were ordered to suspend collection of mortgage payments without any guidance for how they were to be made whole at some future time, and with meager protection against future prosecutions to punish them for doing what Congress ordered them to do.

5) American business owners were arrested for daring to open their businesses before getting a government green light, at the same time those governments were releasing convicts from jail to protect them from the virus.

The bottom line: Socialism is economic poison, not some mythical panacea for people’s economic needs.

Lesson No. 3: Radical Greens

Lesson No. 3 is related to No. 2. It was both stunning and appalling to hear how radical greens exulted in this spring’s economic slowdown.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres publicly stated in late March that “the pandemic could create an opportunity to rebuild the global economy along more sustainable lines,” Scientific American reported.

In other words, in the name of their destructive obsession with reducing carbon dioxide emissions (emissions that are environmentally beneficial), greens would like to slow down economic activity to an even greater extent than what we have experienced as a result of the pandemic. It doesn’t concern them that economic prosperity goes hand-in-hand with fossil fuel consumption.

The bottom line: If you like living like you have the past few weeks, then vote for green politicians. But if you prefer healthy economic growth, then the greens aren’t for you.

The coronavirus and its aftermath have highlighted vitally important lessons about the dangers of the Chinese Communist Party, domestic socialism, and green fanaticism. These are dear-bought lessons. Let’s not squander the benefits of these lessons by ignoring them after having paid so dearly for them.

Mark Hendrickson, an economist, recently retired from the faculty of Grove City College, where he remains a fellow for economic and social policy at the Institute for Faith and Freedom.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.