Americans need to shake off the shackles of obeisance to technocrats
As the pandemic grew, instead of endlessly debating Trump, more Americans should have asked, What questions need to be answered here? Had they done so, they might have realized that neither public health experts nor economists have a monopoly on how to respond. The former know how to fight diseases, but they know little about how to get supply chains to deliver a testing infrastructure on an unprecedented scale. The latter know how to revive a flagging economy, but they know little about which alternatives to stay-at-home orders are effective at controlling a disease. At a time when there was a need to take in advice from two silos of experts and make an integrated judgment, Americans settled into camps, defending the monofocal perspective of one category of expertise or another.
If you have any thought that authoritative national governments (up to and including "authoritarian" national governments) are really the best way to make sure that society effectively confronts and overcomes a national crisis - if you think, in fact, that such centralized structures of governmental power are a better way to deal with the problems of ordinary life than the decentralized, state and local governments that are given primacy of place in our democratic system - please consult recent newspaper accounts of how well our federal government, under the current administration, has handled the coronavirus crisis. It is not an inspiring set of stories.