It is officially time for the Conservatives and the Right-Wing to stop the irresponsibility of just living normally with COVID-19 as they use Sweden as their example.
At first, one can blame ignorance, willfully or not. Once presented with the carnage, one’s adherence to a failed ideology becomes evil, dangerous, and downright fatal.
Those right-wingers who praised Sweden’s response to COVID-19 are looking pretty stupid now
It seems 2020 was the year that the political right fell into a weird love affair with Sweden. This “high-tax, welfare-loving country” with a universal healthcare system took a unique, “hands-off” approach against the novel coronavirus, much to the delight of Libertarians and anti-vaxxers eager to sow distrust of governmental actions on Facebook. Even traditional “conservatives” such as Newt Gingrich and Tucker Carlson reflexively jumped at any chance to capitalize on the public’s discomfort with social distancing and inconvenient business lockdowns imposed in this country.
The Swedish model, as it became known, eschewed business closures and relied entirely on the personal responsibility of Swedish citizens to demonstrate appropriate risk-avoidant behavior during the pandemic. Essentially, in Sweden, large public gatherings were banned—but bars, restaurants, shops and many schools remained open, with no specific guidelines regarding social distancing, beyond voluntary “common sense” measures. So the protocol in Sweden was, in practice, not particularly different from those being put into place by Republican governors in states which relied on their citizens’ “good judgment,” rather than mandatory face mask orders and of the shutdown of certain businesses.
And for about two months, into late April, the rest of the world could still gaze with wonder at the carefree Swedes who had inexplicably beaten the virus through their own volition, without any irksome mandatory orders or restrictions. Though harshly criticized by many scientists and medical professionals within Sweden itself, the methodology chosen by Stockholm found some very visible champions. Folks like Anders Tegnell, that country’s chief epidemiologist, declared rather presumptuously at that time that “Many countries are starting to come around to the Swedish way.” In the same interview, Tegnell candidly disavowed any knowledge of the economic consequences of Sweden’s efforts.
Sweden’s champions in this country drew heavily from the Libertarian right, including Republican Senator Rand Paul who always seemed to include a favorable reference to Sweden in his scripted exchanges with Dr. Anthony Fauci. One would generally expect a snooty ignoramus like Paul to make an idiot of himself every time he opens his mouth, but in this particular circumstance he was hardly alone. Indeed, for a brief moment the Swedes seemed the victorious heroes in the global war against COVID-19.
Unfortunately, that is no longer the “enlightened consensus.” As reported by Peter Goodman for The New York Times, not only does Sweden now have a fatality rate six to 12 times higher than its Nordic neighbors Denmark, Finland, and Norway (all of which imposed mandatory lockdowns and enforced quarantines), it has virtually nothing to show for these sacrifices from an economic standpoint.