At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, some Democrats opposed lockdowns. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi encouraged visitors to “come to Chinatown” in San Francisco while New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told residents “to go on with your lives” and “get out on the town.” Positions have since aligned politically, though, with Democrats now favoring extended lockdowns with no release dates in sight, while conservatives, Republicans, some libertarian thinkers, and even a few Democrats are demanding we all be freed to make our own decisions. As puzzling as it might seem, there’s an obvious explanation:
Democrats realized lockdowns could be the transformational crisis they’ve been pursuing for decades.
There’s a reason the lockdowns are being called a “free trial of socialism.” They’re crushing the economy. And this creates the perfect opportunity for the political left to move in and “save” advanced economies in the U.S. and elsewhere with socialist/statist/collectivist policies favored by Democrats.
Free-market capitalism, they’ll tell us, just isn’t working. Indefinitely prolonged lockdowns might achieve exactly what Democrats have been attempting to accomplish for decades, that is overwhelm commerce and enterprise with taxes and regulation, claim that market economies have failed, and then set up their version of a socialist paradise.
Emile Henry Jr., a former assistant Treasury secretary and current chief executive of an equity firm, expects that President Donald Trump will soon be facing “the inevitable propagandizing that will flow from forces of the far left who will lay many resulting economic inequities, real or perceived, at the feet of free markets and capitalism.”
During the last economic downturn, the crisis of 2008, the press, which is largely the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party, developed what author Virginia Postrel called “Depression lust.”
“If anyone should fear a Depression, it should be journalists, who are already the equivalent of 1980s steelworkers. But instead, they seem positively giddy with anticipation at the prospect of a return to ’30s-style hardship – without, of course, the real hardship of the 1930s,” she wrote nearly a dozen years ago.
“Oh the thrill of imagining a Great Depression,” she continued. “It’s an opportunity for Great Design and Really Cool Government.”
Today the lust is for a long run of coronavirus, and if not the actual disease at least a paralyzing fear of it, that will keep the economy in shackles. Just this week, a little more than a month into the lockdowns, Townhall columnist Kurt Schlichter wrote that the Democrats “totally” want another Depression. He’s not wrong.
“A happy, prosperous America is something the Democrat dudes can’t abide,” he wrote.
“If they can wreck the economy, perhaps they can create the conditions” for a sort of “dystopian blue state future,” says Schlichter, which without a doubt would include climate policies such as the Green New Deal that will drive the economy and living conditions to ugly depths not seen in a century or more.
Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is already talking about using the current troubles to “transform the country.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has, as one would expect, taken the Democrats’ coronavirus lust to an even more hellish level by encouraging workers to refuse to go back to work when restrictions are lifted.
“I think a lot of people should just say no. We’re not going back to that. We’re not going back to 70 hour weeks just so we could put food on the table and not even feel any semblance of security in our lives,” she said this week.
It doesn’t take deep thinking to realize AOC’s “strike” would produce greater suffering. But that’s fine with Democrats, because it’s yet another way to overload the country’s economic stress and give the left further leverage to expand central planning, wealth redistribution, and government intrusion in health care.
For the well off, which includes multimillionaire Pelosi, who recently showed off her $24,000 refrigerators and plentiful stash of expensive boutique ice cream to fawning “Late Late Show” host James Corden, the lockdowns are but a minor nuisance. They have the resources to withstand the economic decline. Those with more meager financial means, though, become more desperate every day.
Of course that’s not a bug for the Democrats, it’s a feature.
— Written by J. Frank Bullitt