The Wisconsin State Supreme Court struck down the lockdown rules – to the intense irritation of the State’s Governor, Tony Evers. At which point the population headed out to the bars to celebrate that lifting of the state’s – and the Governor’s – power over them.
Or, there’s a different way to think about this. Which is to do that old economists’ trick of insisting that revealed preferences are more important than expressed. No one is going to say that a beer – even in pleasant company – is more important than Grandmother’s health. So, expressed preferences are that the lockdown should continue for there is nothing more important to us all than the lives of our Senior Citizens. Then we can watch what people actually do which is that Granny gets trampled in the rush to hoist a foaming:
So much for solid citizenship then.
After the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the state’s stay-at-home order, which immediately lifted restrictions on businesses and gatherings, some bars opened their doors (and taps) Wednesday night as patrons began trickling out.
The ruling applied to Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide order to lock down Wisconsin amid the public health emergency of the coronavirus pandemic. Evers intended to keep the order in place until May 26.
Yet while we can all make jokes about this there is the nub of an important point here. Who rules?
Instead, as Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) knew, they were just celebrating the apparent end of his power over them — at least for now.
There are various ways of running a country after all. For most of history it was that everyone damn well did whatever the bloke who’d slaughtered his way to the top said. And if you didn’t well, welcome to his method of getting to the top.
However, these days, we’re a democracy. That means we hire a few people to do society’s scut work for us. Plan who takes out the garbage, who gets to sit in a foxhole when the Canadians invade. The rest of us are thus able to enjoy the maximal freedom to get on with our lives as we see fit. This is the point of the system.
Which is where that revealed and expressed preference distinction is so important. What we truly want is revealed by what we do, not what we say. Thus politics isn’t the way to determine what we may not do, despite that obvious difficulty around that democracy thing.
The people in Wisconsin – or to be more accurate, some number of them – desire to be able to go have a beer. The job of the Governor there is to ensure that they can, not to ban them from doing so. You know, this is indeed a democracy, the point of which is that people gain more of what they want. And, as we can see, they want a drink.
And, after winter in Wisconsin, who can blame them?