December 22, 2020 Reading Time: 4 minutes

It’s been said here before and it should be said again: every new American business is a bit of a miracle. That’s the case because the conceit of a new commercial endeavor is that the people in the world’s most capitalist country haven’t fully met the needs of their customers such that a new operation rates creation.

If the correct definition of an entrepreneur is someone who believes deeply in an idea despite near universal skepticism about same (never forget that Jeff Bezos and his early Amazon shareholders were broadly ridiculed….), then the creator of a new business of any stripe is similarly revealing impressive courage. Implicit in any start-up is that some of the world’s most energetic people are not doing enough.

The tragedy right now is that the energetic are seeing their visions and dreams suffocated around the U.S. Even though the pre-Covid success of their businesses was a happy sign that they possessed an expertise when it came to fulfilling the wants of a customer base with voluminous choices, politicians gulled by experts decided the past didn’t matter. The very governmental concept that gave us the DMV, the passport office and the Post Office decided that customer service experts couldn’t be trusted to serve their valued patrons whose wants and needs had arguably been changed by the introduction of a virus. They would be told what to do by the commercially inept. That businesses smacked around by force died and continue to die was and is a statement of the supremely obvious.

This has to stop. It’s wrong. Imagine the helplessness business owners and employees feel right now as they see all they’ve worked for taken away from them. The previous point is not just about money. There’s joy and dignity in doing well by customers that extends well beyond earnings. It’s a reminder that what’s happening is inhumane in addition to economically tragic as cities and states across the U.S. re-impose lockdowns. It once again has to stop. It’s time for President Trump to end the madness and announce his readiness to pardon any business owner or employee who chooses to operate and serve against the decrees of city and state politicians.

To all this, it’s reasonable to speculate at this point that some readers are perhaps properly mystified. What are we missing here, they might be asking? Alarmist as even the New York Times has been the last 9 ½ months, the simple truth that the newspaper has routinely reported is that nearly half of the virus’s lethal qualities are associated with nursing homes. Others will point to the essential Holman Jenkins’s recent point at the Wall Street Journal that 88% of those with the virus either don’t know they have it, or don’t feel sick enough to find out if they have it. Others will cite the endlessly excellent Jeffrey Tucker’s observations about a survival rate from the virus that well exceeds what’s hard to exceed: 99%.

The arguments all make sense, but with the exception of the reporters at the New York Times, all of the above who’ve provided this information would probably agree with what has been said here all along: numerical arguments win in the near-term only to lose big in the long-term.

We know this firstly because the more lethal a virus, the less of a case there is for political force to combat it as is. Assuming Neil Ferguson’s prediction of 2 million American deaths had been realistic, or the New York Times’ of 6.6 million, government decrees would have been utterly meaningless. And arguably insufficient. If millions are going to die, Americans who are innovative in all ways will come up with ways to avoid contraction along with ways to vanquish what kills that politicians could never dream of. Translated, we don’t need a law to avoid sickness or death, nor do scientists and doctors need government prodding to divine cures to killers. Markets work.

But the main thing is that compelling as the numerical arguments may be, they’re weak relative to the joy so many in politics derive from the raw expression of power. To them, numbers and common sense don’t matter. Which is why the only argument that can stand up to the desire of politicians to control how we do things is freedom. People should be free to operate their businesses and employees should be free to work simply because they were born with that basic right. And just the same, customers should and do have the right to not patronize businesses if they don’t feel compelled

Freedom must be the first, middle and last argument. It’s wrong for politicians to take away our businesses and our right to work. Period. End of story. Everything else loses.

We’re witnessing this right now as evidenced by the re-taking of the right to one’s business and the right to work just as Christmas hits. It’s sick-inducing to watch. Miracles across the U.S. being destroyed. The latter is magnified when we imagine the agony for so many that this latest cruel expression of power is happening during the Holidays. What’s sick-inducing reveals the problem with numerical arguments. Politicians will work around them. Always. “This time is different” was made for them. Statistics, no matter how compelling, are weak up against the kinds of individuals who aspire to a life of power over others.

Which brings us back to President Trump. If he were more introspective, he would acknowledge that he erred mightily in March of 2020. He should have made plain that while cities and states are autonomous, his Administration would fight daily and campaign daily for the right of every American to work and operate his or her business. But since he did the wrong thing then, no better time than now to make up for what he did wrong. Donald Trump should announce right here and now that he promises to pardon anyone who chooses to work and be open for business despite the decrees of the power hungry.

What a way to leave the White House. What a legacy of freedom.

Reprinted from RealClearMarkets

John Tamny


John Tamny, research fellow of AIER, is editor of RealClearMarkets.

His book on current ideological trends is: They Are Both Wrong (AIER, 2019)

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