November 15, 2020 Reading Time: 2 minutes

Here’s a much-modified reply that I earlier posted on Facebook to a sympathetic Facebook friend who recently lost her father to Covid-19:

Dear F.W.:

I am truly, deeply sorry for your and your family’s loss of your father to Covid-19, and for his suffering on account of this awful ailment. For the record, however, what I call Covid Derangement Syndrome is not the justified fear of, and prudent responses to, a disease that is undeniably real, painful, and abnormally lethal for the elderly.

Instead, what I believe is deranged is the failure to put Covid-19 in proper perspective. This failure, alas, is both chronic and calamitous. What I am certain is deranged is the current practice of treating everyone as being as vulnerable to Covid as are the elderly. And I am no less certain that the resulting mass hysteria is equally deranged.

Yet even more deranged is the trust that so many Americans today put in executive-branch officials, at all levels of government, to exercise unchecked dictatorial powers to respond to this mass Covid hysteria. Acceptance of this dictatorship is deranged – I’m sorry, I do not know a more descriptive term. And it is deranged to behave as if the risks that Covid poses to kindergartners, to college students, and to healthy young people are indistinguishable from the risks that Covid posed to your elderly father, or poses even to me, a 62-year-old.

I go further: This current derangement is a disgraceful disservice to people such as your father. To treat Covid as an indiscriminate dispenser-of-death is to diminish – to mask – the uniqueness and significance of the suffering endured by people in your father’s demographic by lumping their very real and intense suffering in with the unwarranted emotional over-wroughtness of people who are at no real risk from Covid.

You are rightly distraught that Covid shortened your father’s life. As such, you should be distraught also that healthy people – people young and vigorous, people who are at no real risk of suffering from Covid – are being misinformed by the media and by politicians that they are as likely to be struck down by Covid as was your father. You should be distraught that these (non)victims of Covid are encouraged by institutional lies to believe themselves to be “victims” comparable to your father.

If I were you, these lies would have me incensed.


Reprinted from Cafe Hayek

Donald J. Boudreaux

Donald J. Boudreaux

Donald J. Boudreaux is a Associate Senior Research Fellow with the American Institute for Economic Research and affiliated with the F.A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University; a Mercatus Center Board Member; and a professor of economics and former economics-department chair at George Mason University. He is the author of the books The Essential Hayek, Globalization, Hypocrites and Half-Wits, and his articles appear in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, US News & World Report as well as numerous scholarly journals. He writes a blog called Cafe Hayek and a regular column on economics for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Boudreaux earned a PhD in economics from Auburn University and a law degree from the University of Virginia.

Get notified of new articles from Donald J. Boudreaux and AIER.