March 5, 2021 Reading Time: 3 minutes
The Great Reopening

The lights on civilization dimmed and nearly went out starting March 12, 2020. That was the day the federal government began promulgating guidelines for closing schools, businesses, international travel, and all public gatherings. It was an action without precedent but most states went along – out of ignorance, fear, and folly. 

In those days it took tremendous courage and tenacity to resist the prevailing mania, which was all about a new virus rumoured to be unlike anything we’ve faced in generations. The politicians panicked, and many people did too. Irrationally, the prevailing belief was that government could manage us out of the pandemic through a level of compulsion that disrupted lives as never before. 

From the beginning, even two and half months before the lockdowns, the American Institute for Economic Research explained that this would be a catastrophic course. Since then, you have come to rely on AIER’s work as the essential guide to the science, to news others were unwilling to report, and to the intellectual case for maintaining social and economic functioning during a pandemic. 

Our work has been discussed in thousands of venues around the world and been seen by tens of millions of people. We’ve faced smears, censorship, and denunciation. We’ve also been gratified by floods of notes of thanks and a large number of new members and financial supporters. 

One year later, we are thrilled to see governments responding to public pressure to open up. Not every government yet; that will come in time. But some states are doing their best to undo the enormous damage they did to their citizens’ health and well-being. That’s very good and encouraging but there is a remaining problem. Government budgets have blown up. The Federal Reserve is printing money like crazy. And citizens are scrambling to move out of lockdown states into open ones. 

We still have a multitude of possible crises ahead of us. We cannot know precisely what shape they will take. The economic weight of the debt will be a drag on private investment and productivity. Inflation is a possible major risk. We’ve got a real labor crisis too, with so many leaving the workforce to take care of children who were locked out of their schools. Houses of worship around the country have shattered communities. Whole industries, particularly in arts and hospitality, are wrecked. And people are demoralized. 

Recovery will take years, even decades. 

The rebuilding effort will require as much intellectual guidance as we needed over the last year. AIER found itself in a position of leadership and that will persist in the months and years ahead. Our new audience base and credibility for having been so early and so correct about this pandemic have created this opportunity for us. 

We at AIER appreciate so much your support over the last year. We write, make videos, publish, and hold events. It is you who drives our influence. You have shared our articles, tweeted and retweeted us, posted the material you found compelling to your friends, family, fellow students, and business associates, It’s how we got the word out. It’s how ideas managed to break the terrible lockdowns. Ideas will continue to inspire the reopening, and, crucially, put in safeguards so that nothing like this will ever happen again. 

My friends, we are all in this together. And we are all survivors, not only of a pandemic but also of an unprecedented attack on life, liberty, and property. Let us use our reclaimed rights to build a better world. Your support for our work is what keeps us inspired and working for peace, prosperity, and freedom. We’ve been doing this for 88 years. In these last 12 months, AIER has not only been a sanctuary of truth; it’s been a beacon to the world. 

Please do not give up hope. We have not yet won but look how far we’ve come! In the Spring of last year, all seemed lost. As the Spring comes again, we are again reminded that history is nothing more than what we make of it. We are not its victims but its authors. Your support of AIER is essential to making the voice of reason extend as far and long as possible. 

Freedom will return!

Edward Peter Stringham

Edward Peter Stringham

Edward Peter Stringham is President of the American Institute for Economic Research,  Davis Professor of Economic Organizations and Innovation at Trinity College, and Editor of the Journal of Private Enterprise. He is editor of two books and author of more than 70 journal articles, book chapters, and policy studies. His work has been discussed in 15 of the top 20 newspapers in the United States and on more than 100 broadcast stations including MTV. Stringham is a frequent guest on BBC World, Bloomberg Television, CNBC, and Fox. Rise Global ranks Stringham as one of the top 100 most influential economists in the world.

He earned his B.A. from College of the Holy Cross in 1997, his Ph.D. from George Mason University in 2002. His book, Private Governance: Creating Order in Economic and Social Life, is published by Oxford University Press.

 

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