Did you know Stockman is still alive? I didn’t until I ran across some “analysis” of his at The Brownstone Institute. Let’s look at his latest.
Stockman is troubled that Biden and his advisers wear masks when they meet (my emphasis):
Yet if the Vaxx is actually a spread stopper, why do they sit there in their masks? What’s the need to protect Biden from Fauci when the sainted doctor is armed to the teeth with vaxxed-in antibodies? And why is Biden festooned with the medical equivalent of Depends when he’s already got the accident-prevention protection of the Vaxx?
Or does he? That is to say, if it doesn’t work to stop the spread, the benefit is only private and not public and hence there is no earthly reason for mandating it against the will of millions of citizens who fear that the risks outweigh the benefits. And if it does stop the spread—despite the manifest evidence to the contrary—-why all the face mask virtue signalling on live TV?
Why is it so difficult for libertarians to understand that a vaccine can be somewhat effective at reducing infection and transmission? Maybe because this provides a reason (if perhaps not an overriding reason) for mandatory vaccination?
Stockman dismisses Biden’s proposal to distribute home testing kits as “crypto-socialists” “distributing a massive new round of free stuff”. Fair and balanced! He even criticizes Biden simply for urging people to get vaccinated:
Sorry, Joe. But it’s none of your business what people chose to do about a vaccine that does not stop transmission and infection from this latest mutation; and it is most certainly not the “patriotic duty” of Americans who think the risks are not worth the benefits to take the jab on your say so.
So on Stockman’s view, the government should apparently do nothing about Omicron – not distribute masks, or even urge people to get shots.
This seems a bit wackadoodle, but Stockman offers up two empirical claims that seem to justify his libertarian approach. First:
Of course, peek under the covers and what you have is the same old, same old. Not only is the Omicron variant far more transmissible and massively less lethal than earlier variants–for the inherent reasons that sensible virologists and epidemiologists have explained ad infinitum—but the propaganda contagion of the state’s Virus Patrol appears to be even more virulent.
It is possible that Omicron will be less massively lethal than earlier variants, but this is not at all certain. It is possible that hospitals will be overwhelmed, that schools will be closed, that concerts will be cancelled, and that many people will die. Given the stakes, it seems like short money to make home tests widely available and to urge people to get vaccinated. Here is an honest attempt to grapple with the data on Omicron, which makes a good contrast with the Stockman/Brownstone exaggeration-and-bluster approach. Acknowledging uncertainty doesn’t work for libertarians because it is inconsistent with whipping up moral outrage.
Stockman’s second empirical justification for his do-nothing approach is to raise doubts about the effectiveness of vaccines “for much of the population”:
The private benefit of the vaccination for the elderly holds up but rather than even acknowledge the rapidly fading risk/reward equation for much of the population—most especially the children—the powers that be trotted out a teleprompter reader in his dotage to stoke the public hysteria.
Seems like a perfect essay for publication at the Brownstone Institute.