COVID-19, freedom and the free market

  • Written by  Jože Biščak
  • Comments:DISQUS_COMMENTS
Jože Biščak Photo: Demokracija Jože Biščak Photo: Demokracija

The problem of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) is not only a matter of individual well-being and public health, but also a broader social, economic and political issue. The last one is very important because it is the politics that, in an emergency conditions (and these, whether you want it or not, are already today), to be able to act quickly and decisively or not to. Sarac’s government has proven to be completely incompetent. I do not know what caused this, I can only conclude that they either waited for matters to be resolved on their own and the virus would stop at the border, or they be counted wrong in the threat assessment.

But now, of course, it is not the moment for error analysis or for ideological and political reckoning, but the situation as it is must be accepted seriously and the consequences mitigated. And this is what the new government did first; this principle of dealing with infections is the only logical thing: limiting social contacts and self-protection. In other words: We must all act as if we are infected. Only responsible individuals can stop the spread of the virus. No decree of the virus can curb it, no government can eliminate it and it can only take some unpopular measures that (temporarily) restrict personal and economic freedom.

Believe me, me too (as in the economic sense the sworn classic liberal from the Hayek Cafe) it hurts my heart to see restraints. But the advent of the COVID-19 virus is similar to a war, where much of the logic fails and drastic measures must be taken. Therefore, regardless of the political and economic situation in Slovenia (and in the whole world), much is needed to get through this challenge. The fear (or careless urging of political opponents of the new government) that Jansa might use these difficult times to revive the old ways of operating left-wing governments, at the expense of liberties, is also superfluous.

This government coalition is based on the fight against the all-encompassing state, the bureaucracy and the structures of the deep state that has, in recent years, really governed our homeland. The health crisis should be an opportunity to end this practice, as well to put the country where it belongs: to care for the internal and external security of citizens, not to interfere in relations between free individuals and not to interfere with relations in civil society.

However, in these days it is fashionable for socialists and leftists of all colours to say that the outbreak is only a testament to how quickly free-market liberals give up their principles. I don't know where they see this. Those who wish to have a large country in peace, restrict freedom and dictate the way of life of an individual, speak it now, but in an emergency situation, such as today, they rather escape and speak of a dictatorship. I tell you that it is the free-market economy that will help us survive the virus nightmare that has already hit all countries globally.

From stocked merchandise shelves to medical supplies it is all the credit of the private sector, the merit of the free market. The prosperity of most countries is not the result of a government official pushing a button and ordering it. True, there is a lack of masks, respirators and more, but could anyone have predicted a pandemic a year ago? In times of peace, stocks are in line with needs and this crisis will teach us to be better prepared for the next one. Certainly, democracy and freedom will not continue with the quarantine. At most we will have more of them.

Finally, this to conclude it: The editorial board of Demokracija Magazine asks you to follow the instructions of those responsible and stay at home. We will survive, so don’t worry. Not without scratches, though. As individuals and nations, we will endure this global disaster because of the incredible resilience of the Slovenian people. We have this gene built in. Economically, we will recover fairly quickly with the help of free-market capitalism. We will mourn the dead in this battle, we will celebrate the memory of them and the wounds will heal. So stay safe, patriotic, and proud of your population. May God bless you and protect you in this great ordeal.

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