Reprinted from Independent Institute
As of May 27, 2022, there are now nine confirmed cases of monkeypox in seven states in the United States, according to a US News and World Report article. Globally, the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota estimates that 22 of the 215 monkeypox-infected countries across 21 countries have the highest number of suspected global infections (tedious testing for monkeypox).
What does this mean?
Fortunately, monkeypox is not a fancy disease. The disease appeared in the late 1950s and did not affect humans until the 1970s. Monkeypox infections begin with chills, pain, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. Victims then often experience a rash that goes beyond five steps before tapping. The infection usually lasts two to four weeks. Estimated mortality rates range from three to six percent.
However, the outbreak of monkeypox is nothing new. The regions of West Africa have gained their experience over the decades. In 2003, the Midwest was hit by a monkeypox outbreak that infected 71 Americans. None of these cases were fatal. Even if the case continues to grow, treatment does exist. Smallpox vaccines provide effective cross-vaccination for monkeypox. It can also provide a number of effective antiviral treatments for already infected patients.
Sadly, much more worrying than the spread of monkeypox across the country is how our government will respond. Nazir is not promising for freedom.
Economist and historian Robert Higgs explains in his book Crisis and Leviathan, Any crisis gives the government a chance to exert its influence on its citizens. Governments can also use the threat of an impending crisis to maintain or re-establish powers given in the past.
Even minor threats like the MonkeyPix could prolong the state and continue to expand most of the power gained from the Kovid-19 epidemic. Many examples indicate that the consequences of providing and enhancing government powers during public health emergencies can last for decades.
In their paper on the title Infectious Diseases and Rise of Government, Nathan Goodman, Chris Quinn and Abigail Daveroux argue that government increases during disease outbreaks have a long-term negative impact on personal freedom. The author specifically mentions compulsory vaccination tests after the smallpox epidemic of 1902, the continuing racism in South Africa after the Bubonic plague epidemic in 1901, and the increased use of zoning laws and town planning in the United States after cholera and tuberculosis outbreaks.
The Covid-19 epidemic provides further cause for concern. As I wrote earlier, unfounded eviction suspensions, random use of executive orders, and foreign spending bills became commonplace during the epidemic. The use of public-private partnerships to consolidate the capacity of public health agencies and to finance the use of vaccines is unlikely to ever end.
As far as the public health crisis is concerned, MonkeyPix is not in the same league as Covid-19. They are completely different. But they share a frustrating similarity – the possibility of expanding their power and helping to retain government power. And this seems overwhelming.