Make no mistake, many politicians would love to impose lockdowns again, and indefinitely. After all, the power to micromanage the behavior of every business and household in the manner of Covid lockdowns is a power undreamed up by even the most despotic emperor of old. It’s not a power a regime would abandon lightly.
But could they get away with it? This is a question every pro-lockdown politician is asking. To the extent that lockdowns have been scaled back and lessened, we cannot thank any enligtenment or change of heart on the part of politicians. If lockdowns now seem to be receding it’s because policymakers fear another round of lockdowns would be greeted with resistance rather than obedience. In short, the retreat of lockdowns is a result of an uneasy truce between the anti-lockdown public (which is by no means the whole public) and the pro-lockdown politicians. The politicians have conceded nothing in terms of their asserted authority, but they nonetheless fear greater resistance in the future.
Regimes Continue to Threaten More Lockdowns
Although they’re slowly backing off on full lockdowns for now, governments have been very careful to maintain that they retain the power to re-impose thems—including full-on strict and ruthless lockdown—at any time. In some areas, this has already been done, such as in southern Australia and in New Zealand. In Victoria state of Australia, for instance, residents in recent weeks have been subject to strict curfews and even road closures preventing residents from traveling more than a few miles form their homes. Those who dissent—such as a pregnant mother who was arrested for merely discussing an upcoming protest —are brutalized. Meanwhile, military personnel enforce martial law, dragging people from their cars and demanding they show their “papers.”
China continues to impose regional and partial lockdowns. Belgium, meanwhile, insists it may yet still impose “total lockdown.” Back in July, the UK’s Boris Johnson told the nation’s residents they had better follow the social-distancing rules now, or face harsher lockdowns in the future. Last week, Boris Johnson’s government announced strict new social distancing rules, prohibiting any gatherings of more than six people in most cases.
Nor have American politicians abandoned these newfound powers. In Utah, which did not impose a lockdown in March or April, the authorities are still threatening a possible future “complete shutdown.” Governors in states including Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York, and Michigan have all threatened new lockdowns if the residents don’t do as they’re told.Governments Will Impose New Lockdowns If they Think they Can Get Away with It