As Minnesotans – among whom Covid has taken a fairly minimal toll, in population-wide terms – start to protest the economic toll of government’s response, New Yorkers, who’ve suffered relatively terribly, may be showing the real end-game of the government’s shutdowns – ignoring the whole thing and seeing to their own survival, medically and econmically:
On my “essential walks” which I take daily to the grocery or the bodega, I traverse an overpass above the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. For the past month traffic has been spare, an emergency vehicle here and there, not much more. That too has changed. While it has not returned to the soul crushing bumper-to-bumper standstill that makes the BQE infamous, the number of cars coursing to and from Staten Island has built up everyday.
What is important and telling about the differences in people’s behavior this week is that no city or state government policies have actually changed. The people of New York themselves, and from accounts across the country in other places as well, have simply decided to loosen the guidelines for themselves. We tend to think of the idea of the government existing through the consent of the governed as being about elections, but it is about more than that, the successful lockdown of New York City was not enforced as much as it was consented to.
This phenomenon is something that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo seems to understand. Cuomo was asked during one of his daily press conferences this week if he is worried that his steady stream of good news about the number of deaths stabilizing instead of increasing and the decrease in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations could give New Yorkers a false sense of security. His answer was basically that he has to tell citizens the truth or he loses his credibility.
Ninety years ago, Prohibition was basically a dead issue by the time Congress got around to repealing the 18th Amendment.
I can easily see that happening with some of the more draconian government responses.
Indeed – being ignored may be the best that some executive pols can hope for.