Homo Avoidcovidus

(Don Boudreaux)

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:

Editor:

Thanks to Dr. Nicole Saphier for explaining that Americans are so close to herd immunity against Covid-19 that the case for mask-wearing will soon disappear (“Dr. Fauci, Tear Off These Masks,” April 3). She correctly decries Anthony Fauci’s unjustifiably high benchmark for unmasking – an error that Fauci commits by inexcusably disregarding evidence that large numbers of Americans are already immune owing to prior infection.

Fauci, alas, isn’t alone in finding – or concocting – reasons to keep Americans hysterically fearful of Covid. After its chief, Rochelle Walensky, told Rachel Maddow on Monday that “Our data from the CDC today suggests that vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don’t get sick. And that it’s not just in the clinical trials, it’s also in real-world data,” the CDC later walked back, apparently on the absurd grounds that there isn’t 100 percent proof that vaccines protect 100 percent of vaccinated people 100 percent of the time.

Too many people today – especially in government and the media – are homo avoidcovidi. Each of these persons, like the infamous homo economicus of economics textbooks, blindly and without balance pursues one narrow goal to the exclusion of all others.

Yet homo avoidcovidus is even worse than homo economicus. While the latter pursues exclusively his own narrow material welfare, he at least recognizes that this goal is not achieved by maniacally doing only one specific thing, such as working as many hours as is physically possible to earn monetary income. Homo economicus values, and takes, leisure. In contrast, homo avoidcovidus does indeed maniacally do only one specific thing: reduce his risk of exposure to the coronavirus. For homo avoidcovidus, no cost is too high to pay for even the most minuscule reduction in the risk of contracting Covid.

A homo economicus holding public office is an unpleasant fool; a homo avoidcovidus holding public office is a deranged tyrant.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
and
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

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