In this blog site, I frequently discussion my own fantasy government that I called a dedomenocracy. One key feature of this government is that instead of asking the population to democratically choose policy, it asks the population to demographically define how to measure the greater good. When some future crisis occurs, what does the population prioritizes and what is the population willing to sacrifice. In such a government, I can not imagine that we would agree to sacrifice our younger people (and especially not our young women) for the benefit elderly people (and especially not old men). We do not live in a dedomenocracy.
The grocery store still has the area for the salad bar, but they use it now for shelving of featured products. They could replace it with a more efficient and standard shelving but they keep the bar along with the side rails for holding the clamshells while filling them, when that was possible. Perhaps they are hopeful that the salad bar will be open again. Another reason is that it is an ideal spot to feature products, a lot of people will look at the salad bar with recollection of a better time.
The government must quit. Certainly there will be new cases, and new deaths. The rate will fluctuate over time, location, and demographic. The important information is whether the population is tolerating this, and whether they are adapting. To get this information, the government needs to stand down and watch.
There is a case that the first prohibition failed because it was based on a moral justification and people can argue about what is moral or not. This second prohibition is on more solid ground based on a scientific justification. The justification now is scientific assurance that everyone will end up knowing someone who will die from this disease if the disease doesn’t kill them. We can’t deny science.
I envision a distant time when a dedomenocracy has been operating for multiple generations so it has good data about human responses to crises. That data should tell the algorithm that humans are prone to fear reactions. It will also tell the algorithm that an over protected population lacks the experience of handing real fears.
A dedomenocracy fears nothing while a democracy fears everything. In this context, everything refers to the collective library of scientific knowledge. Nothing refers to the empty space that may harbor plans that we will can only learn by paying close attention to the present, allowing observations to contradict theories we accepted in the past.
There is a benefit to opening our processes to the possibility that the reality may be changing, where the changing is from an evolving intelligence or even from a plethora of competing intelligences that have transitions of power much like our political systems. Admitting dark data into our algorithms blinds us to this possibility, especially when we allow dark data to have priority over observations.
A government by data could consider the observations of iatrogenic complications and deaths. The public’s fear of a virus could grant this government permission to impose some new authoritarian policy that would do something, but that something would exploit the opportunity to improve the future prospects based on all observations of the current world. Such a government would be free to decide to tackle the problem of iatrogenesis instead of the problem of the virus. Fixing the overextension of medicine may ultimately benefit more people than overreacting to a virus that is not as threatening as the population perceived.
In a democracy, the declaration of an emergency is a declaration to freeze science, particularly in those areas that tend to predict the most pessimistic results if nothing is done. I suspect this is inevitable because a democracy selects specific individuals to be leaders, and human leadership demands steadfast determination to see a policy to completion and the install confidence of the population. Given the recent experience, this particular property of democracy raises doubts about a democracy’s ability to handle a new emergency that is inconsistent with established theories and the operational plans based on those theories.
The failure of the modern democratic governments is that none of these fundamental perspectives of the population were debated democratically. The irony is that the democratic government of elected officials presiding over unelected bureaucrats imposed these answers on the population. Instead of assessing the population’s sentiments on these questions, the democratic government cajoled the population into following the science, and to listen to the doctors. The science may be correct, and the doctors may be wise, but they might be answering the wrong questions.