In this series of posts, I’m going to sketch what I view as four probable futures coming from this. Mind you, I’m a fiction writer, not a prophet. These futures would probably all have bits of each other in it. Because people are mixed up and messy.
Only one of them — this one — is unalloyed “good” (as much as anything is in the real world) and I start with it, partly because I don’t want to send you into the weekend depressed. Also because I’m doing my best to avoid bottoming out on depression, because last night’s presidential weaseling of guidelines solidified for me that we now live in a socialist economy. Our only choice is between national-socialists (no, not like Hitler. Hitler was an aberration. The others, by and large, didn’t kill their own people in batch lots, just in lost of opportunity, despair, poverty.) and international socialists. The economy will never be free, and your ability to pursue happiness will never be your own again. Not unless….
In this scenario people set themselves free. At some point, they get tired of the disaster porn the media is feeding them and get out of their basements, and look around to realize that no, we’re not all dying like flies, there are no bodies on the streets, the hospitals are so far from overwhelmed that doctors and nurses are choreographing dance numbers in the hallways, all while grandma’s cancer gets worse, and mom goes without heart surgery because the government closed the hospitals, to make way for a surge of COVID-19 deaths that never happened.
Then people get angry and jam the streets and start screaming and yelling and refusing to be arrested. They, in fact, become the America Hong Kong thinks we are.
The governors, in terror, realize they’ve gone too far, and lost all plausible cover.
If this happens soon enough, it will be tight this winter, but not outright famine. If this happens soon enough, and Trump realizes it (if he has a talent, it is reading people) he puts the blame squarely where it belongs. He denounces “governing by “experts”” and does a 90 degree turn and tells us how we were fooled. And what the media and the DNC (BIRM) did to the country, all to put their spokeszombie in charge.
He wins in a landslide, but with the other side completely discredited. At which point he cleans house, the Dems fall apart (I told you it was a dream) and the election in 2024 is between Republicans and Libertarians. And I don’t know for whom I’d vote, at least if Pence is the nominee, because as head of the Covid-19 task force he seems to believe experts and reach for the authoritarian lever, given a choice. I don’t like his personality as seen in this response, and his personality is all we have to go on. So it would depend on how wild-eyed open-borders the Libertarian was. (Because open borders are a bad, bad idea when the rest of the world is largely unfree.)
If it happens soon enough, say no later than mid May, the winter will suck like living hell, but America recovers. America recovers fast. Regulations that impair the opening of factories and America doing for itself are struck down. Everyone goes to work, and Welfare becomes a distant, bad memory. The economy takes off like a rocket, because bad as we’ll be we’ll still be way better than 90% of the world.
And because people have seen what schools and colleges are doing to their kids, homeschooling grows exponentially. Perhaps not everyone, but a vast majority of parents in jobs that work from home opt to teach their kids from home. Because the job market is so tight, kids are encouraged to join the gig economy as soon as they’re able (and laws are relaxed. Look, our laws are insane, okay. 15 year olds have never been “children.”) College becomes less relevant, and what remains is real scholarship and real training.
Eventually — I’d like tomorrow, but I know it’s more likely to be ten years — the stupid tax collection laws online are done away with, and people can trade and work across state lines, start up their own sales sites and not be dependent on vast, increasingly unresponsive corporations.
In ten years, from a happy, prosperous America starting to colonize space, we look back at this moment of utter insanity and say “yeah, but without it, the breakage of the old institutions would have been slower, more painful, and we’d have ended up in a more centralized and less free society.”
And 2020 initiates the beginning of the Liberty century, one in which individuals become more and more free each year, until the crazy theories of that angry inkblot, Marx, are no more than a bad memory and referred to in wondering confusion, as we talk about phrenology.
Sure, people still need to fight to KEEP their freedom, but the corner will have been turned, and we’ll be undoing the closing of minds and opportunity of the 20th century.
No, I do not believe it is likely. But I WANT to believe.