COVID19 lessons: More ways to govern, work and live smarter


In my last column, I tried to give people some happy thoughts (from a pro-liberty perspective) while we all wait to see how the COVID19 pandemic plays out, stuck as we are in isolation; furiously Googling designs for homemade masks and for good ways to prepare freezer-burned foods; bitterly resenting the necessities of life that made us leave so much of our old camping/survival gear behind us; and spending a lot of time on social networking platforms asking ourselves “why on Earth did I ever decide to follow this person?”m

As I wrote last time, five bright spots in the aftermath of COVID19 will be the death of the war on automobility; the war on decentralized transport/delivery services like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart, and the dozen other types of non-cartel services that we’re realizing we value much more than we may have thought; and (hopefully) the death of the absolutely horribly non-hygienic low/no-cubicle “shared workplace” arrangements. Finally, I pointed out that what used to be known as Smart Growth, should in future be seen as “concentrating potential plague victims, and the concept should be relegated to the biological waste bin of history. Finally, I had dared to hope that we might see the end of the dreaded “all-hands meetings,” so beloved of managerial types, but I fear now, that we’ll just wind up with so many open Zoom windows, that we’ll each be in our own little postage stamp. Though I suppose, as the system evolves, some people will get more luxurious postage stamp windows through which to peer at their staffs.

But that was yesterday (last week, actually), and this week I have still more things that we can focus on with optimism as we consider who is going to get the last of last year’s Halloween candy that nobody wanted to eat before.

First, we can hope that COVID19 will put an end to an insidious French cultural institution that was negligently allowed to infect both the US and Canada, which is the far too intimate (or faux-intimate) cheek-touch/air-kiss style greetings. The main purpose of this greeting seemed to be a bid for dominance because only the French (and Europeans) know which cheek you’re supposed to kiss first, and it makes everyone who doesn’t know feel stupid. As a left-hander, this drove me nuts. Oh, and it’s germy, so ick.

Another small, but very annoying non-liberty-loving annoyance is the dreaded group pizza lunch, in which nearly every kind of pizza on earth is laid out for everyone to touch, sneeze on, etc., but which never includes the kind of pizza you’d actually order if you had the option of selecting your own damn lunch.

Still another optimistic thought (though admittedly, a mixed bag from the libertarian perspective) is that the war over border walls has probably just about died. It’s like an old joke: Anti-wall Bob tells his friend Jim that he’s terrified of infectious hordes from abroad coming into his country. Pro-wall Jim says, “Quick, close the gates in the border wall!” Anti-wall Bob yells, “What gates, in what wall?” Pro-wall Jim looks at him and says… “Ah-hah!”

Finally, (again, perhaps contentious among die-hard libertarians), we may actually have the discussion about whether you can really engage in free-trade with mercantilist, faux-free-market states. Yes, I mean China. Suddenly, some people are wondering if perhaps the discount we get from relying on China for the production of critical necessities might be less well thought of if they decide to shut down the flow.

Of course, at the end of all this, there won’t be enough hand sanitizer or detergents to clean off the brand name of The People’s Republic (snort) of China. The face mask has been torn off the face of what is, at the end of the day, a predatory communist regime with values that are anathema to anyone who is part of Western Civilization.

So, while things are looking pretty glum right now, there’s a lot to look forward to. And I haven’t even mentioned the end of the war on plastics, and the possibility of seeing the last of Saint Greta of Climageddon. At least, we can hope.

  • Kenneth Green has studied energy and environmental policy at free-market think tanks in North America for over 20 years. He holds a Doctoral degree in Environmental Science and Engineering from UCLA, and has over 850 publications to his credit.

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