It’s interesting how the response cycle on the Wuhan flu has been so different for Democrats and Republicans. I’m speaking in generalities, of course, but in general, Republicans were the first to become alarmed over the news coming out of China. Trump closed down travel from China while Democrats were still urging people to travel and to visit Chinatown. Republicans were urging people to wear masks and avoid crowds while Democrats were saying that masks don’t help and urging people to go out to bars and ride the subways.
Then when the news became really bad–thousand of deaths in Italy–the Democrats finally became alarmed and we had all of the lockdowns. Soon mask-wearing and social distancing became mandatory in Democrat-controlled areas, just as Republicans were starting to talk about the fact that some studies seemed to show that the virus wasn’t as deadly as originally feared.
The Democrats, meanwhile, insisted on extending state-wide quarantines with the most draconian restrictions they could enforce when Republicans were starting to say that the virus was really only dangerous for the very old and people with certain health problems, so just quarantine those people. Meanwhile, Democrats were forcing nursing homes that didn’t have the staff or facilities to quarantine patients to take infected patients, thereby spreading the virus to the most vulnerable people.
Eventually, weeks after Republicans warned about this, Democrats stopped sending sick people into nursing home to kill old people. Meanwhile, Republicans became more and more convinced that the lockdowns were doing more damage than the virus, so they resisted the lockdowns more and more, and the states that ended the lockdowns showed few ill effects from it. Now, Democrats are starting to say that the lockdowns need to be ended and that masks don’t help much.
What is interesting is that at each step, the Republicans responded to the evidence first and the Democrats lagged weeks behind, eventually taking in the evidence and responding to it weeks after the Republicans did.
What caused this? Democrats aren’t less intelligent than Republicans, so why does it take them so much longer to see evidence and respond to it? My hypothesis is that we are seeing another aspect of the well-documented failures of centralization (see Why Socialism Must Always Fail, and The Cathedral and the Bazaar). The Democrats are a highly centralized political party controlled by activists and the mainstream media (MSM) which are in turn controlled by a few highly influential billionaires who either own media companies or fund activist organizations.
Reporters in the MSM aren’t allowed to pursue whatever story interests them; they have to get approval (through their employers) from the Democrat party hierarchy. During the early days of the Wuhan virus, the people who control the Democrat party were entirely absorbed in the effort to impeach Donald Trump and then to make as much political benefit as they could from the impeachment (they never thought they could actually remove him from office).
Since there are only a small number of decision makers in the Democrat party there wasn’t enough bandwidth to follow other news, such as the fact that a deadly new flu had appeared in China. When Trump closed down flights from China, these decision makers were caught completely flat footed and did not have enough time to familiarize themselves with the evidence before they had to make a decision, so they took the default decision which is always to oppose whatever Trump does. That’s why Democrat politicians were encouraging people to keep doing things as usual and to take no safety precautions.
By contrast, the conservative media that Republicans read is entirely decentralized. Each organization (and to a large extent, each individual) works on whatever story attracts their attention. When the impeachment was the only news in the MSM, conservatives were looking for other items of interest to report on, other things that would attract clicks and make money. That’s why Republicans knew about the Wuhan flu while Democrats thought the only thing going on in the world was Trump’s impeachment.
Then when the Wuhan flu struck Italy and people apparently started dying in mass numbers, for some reason the people who control the MSM decided to go all-in on a hysterical take on the problem. I don’t know why they did that–maybe to distract from the fact that Trump had defeated them again, maybe to distract from the fact that they had been late to realize the danger, maybe to distract from Joe Biden’s increasing signs of failing mental capacity, or maybe the leadership really panicked and they were just spreading the panic that they were feeling. In any case, the entire MSM took up the same refrain: “OMG the Wuhan virus is going to kill us all!”.
Some conservative news sources were saying the same thing, but unlike the MSM, the conservatives do not all speak with one voice, so Republicans were also hearing from other conservative sources who were saying, “Hey, very few people died on that cruise ship, it looks like a lot of deaths are being attributed to Wuhan flu that were really due to something else, evidence from other countries shows that the Wuhan flu is not that dangerous.”
Not only does the MSM all speak with one voice; they also do their best to silence all news that disagreed with them. Twitter and YouTube actually censored voices that contradicted the MSM narrative. This meant that the only people who ever saw those voices were the conservatives who saw them first, before they got big enough for the censors to see and shutdown. If not for the censorship, these stories would have grown big enough for Democrats to see them too–which is why they were shut down; can’t have Democrats thinking for themselves.
So as Democrats became ever more hysterical, Republicans became ever more skeptical. Soon they were worrying that the lockdown was doing more harm than good. Conservative news sources emphasized stories about people losing their jobs, about supply chains being disrupted, about resources being destroyed. Republicans were starting to be more worried about economic issues than the Wuhan virus and so they started to agitate against the lockdown while Democrats were still in full panic mode.
Now, it seems that the Democrat powers have finally begun to take in what a lot of Republicans have known for weeks, and they are starting to climb down from their panic reaction, having done far more damage to the economy than was necessary. If more Republican politicians read conservative media, more states would have reopened earlier, but unfortunately, though the Republican base reads conservative media, most Republican politicians still get their news from the Democrat-controlled MSM.
Even though this entire affair has been a fiasco of first neglect and then panic by the Democrats, they control the mass media and so most American will never know about it. Democrat control of the MSM will keep Democrat party from ever paying the price for their failures.