In this time of crisis, many exclaim how impressed they are by the “swift and decisive” actions by the Chinese regime. Instead of recognizing the abhorrent disrespect for human life, the Chinese response is put forth as an exemplar for combatting a pandemic.These hailers conveniently forget the many weeks of silencing and censorship that preceded the brutal shutting down of the city of Wuhan and the whole Hubei Province. They also turn a blind eye to the nature of hierarchy and bureaucracy, pretending what is needed to choose proper action is simply power and that access to accurate, reliable information is of little concern.
What does this have to do with a virus pandemic? It illustrates the false promises of centralization, which is a costly and inadequate solution that in fact makes a society more vulnerable. The same argument applies whether it is the national defense, centralized education, or the monopoly of the CDC. A centralized command structure offers only a false sense of security.
None of what is appropriate action during an outbreak or pandemic requires central command. The downsides of centralization in fact make matters worse and is what made us vulnerable to begin with. The many calls for increased centralization, and their outright dismissal of libertarianism and freedom as “impotent,” are fundamentally confused. Rather than being reasonable and rational, these outcries are emotional and contrary to fact. They are but symptoms of the strongman ideology.