Left-leaning states are extending lock-downs while conservative states are pushing for opening their economies quickly. Why would this economic and public health issue be divided so distinctly along partisan lines? I suggest three reasons.
Most obviously, liberals oppose any idea originated by President Trump. Liberals tend to think in terms of vague associations rather than logic. In particular they mimic the behaviors and belief systems of people they admire. They bond through group-think and consort to take advantage of those outside the group.
The politically powerful, the social elite and the academic intelligentsia have viewed Trump as belonging to a social group consisting of racists, misogynists and other undesirables. Hence, anything associated with Trump must be resisted at all cost (especially when most of the costs are borne by others). Since Trump is pushing to open the economy it makes sense to them that they should keep the economy closed. Perhaps they wish to crush the economy temporarily and win the 2020 elections.
Freedom lovers tend to derive their belief system logically and analytically. Their opinion of when the economy should be opened is based on their analysis of the likely consequences (intended and unintended) taken as a whole and viewed prospectively. They value their independence from control by others.
A second major reason for the divide between leftists and conservatives/libertarians regarding how quickly to re-open the economy is that today’s liberals are far more accepting of authoritarianism than residents of red states – especially economic authoritarianism. Modern liberals do not hesitate to impose their preferences regarding recycling, gun control, restrictions on “hate speech”, employer-employee relationships, workplace practices, taxation, government spending, college dating, and any other “cause-du-jour”.
Liberals possess the hubris that they are crafting a better world. They enjoy forcing others to obey them. They see no downside because they have limited awareness of any unintended consequences to their totalitarianism. They are confident that if there are unintended consequences they can be handled by increased authoritarianism under their tutelage.
Freedom-loving people eschew authoritarianism. The motto “Don’t Tread on Me” symbolized the thirst of all 13 colonies during the American Revolution to be free of authoritarian rule. American freedom-lovers see the Constitution as protecting American citizens from government overreach. Liberals see the Constitution as a living document that serves as a framework for administering their constantly-changing prescriptions for improving society.
Modern liberals are in love with centralized control – given, of course, that they are the ones in authority. Classical liberals should be horrified by these progressive liberals.
The third and final major reason for the divide over re-opening the economy centers on the incredible ignorance of liberals about how economies work. Liberals are absolutely clueless as to what makes an economy thrive, what it takes to create value, how markets improve our lives and how market prices signal the ever-changing information necessary for a large population to cooperate and be efficient. They associate free markets with evil and believe that free markets threaten their lives and their ability to control others.
Liberals tend to infest densely populated areas in which essential items seem to simply appear on store shelves. They have no idea what is necessary for people to be productive. Thus, they have no idea of what keeps people fed. Liberals survive from the bounty of a thriving economy much like the ancient Hebrews survived through manna. Liberals see production as mystically occurring much like ancient manna – except for the part about God being involved.
Most young liberals have jobs that do not directly produce tangible essential items. Liberals oppose large farms, modern agricultural equipment and long-distance transportation of food items. They do not see conflict between those beliefs and their belief that tofu, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, good wine and brown rice should be available year-round in their local Bodega. Most progressives probably believe that these items appear in their local stores through the actions of legislators and community organizers rather than through the actions of businesses and shippers.
Liberals push for America to be a welfare state in which those who have not developed employable skills receive monthly welfare checks and free food, medical care and healthcare. Simply put, liberals encourage people to consume much and produce little. As more and more people consume more than they produce, the government must force other people to produce increasingly more than they consume. If unchecked, the folly of progressives will destroy the world’s best hope for enduring freedom.