by Jeffrey A. Tucker
The American Institute for Economic Research
The phrase “fog of war” is attributed to Carl von Clausewitz. It has come to refer to the confusion and uncertainty felt by everyone in the midst of conflict. It is often unclear who is making decisions and why, and what the relationships are between the strategies and the goals. Even the rationale can become elusive as frustration and disorientation displace clarity and rationality.
In 2020, we’ve experienced the fog of disease mitigation.
The initial round of lockdowns was not about suppressing the virus but slowing it for one reason: to preserve hospital capacity. Whether and to what extent the “curve” was actually flattened will probably be debated for years but back then there was no question of extinguishing the virus. The volume of the curves, tall and quick or short and long, was the same either way. People were going to get the bug until the bug burns out (herd immunity).