But because we most certainly will know the terrible consequences of our effort to forestall an outcome that never unfolded in reality and was merely an imaginary scenario based to a considerable extent on highly informed but also anxiety-infused guesswork, the naysayers will always be able to make a powerful argument against those who did the guessing, and those who listened to them.
Get ready for it: “We deferred to the geniuses for no good reason, and now they have the blood of the economy on their hands.” The saddest thing about it is that had things gone the other way — if public-health officials had downplayed the danger and encouraged people to go about their lives without adjusting their behavior — a lot more people would have died, and likely the very same critics would be taking the experts to task for the opposite failing. Heads we win, tails they lose: Whatever happens, average everyday non-expert opinion gets to flatter itself, and those who use expertise to try to guide that opinion knowledgeably and wisely get the abuse.
Americans have long tended toward insubordination against intellectual elites, and now President Trump is right there to encourage and manipulate it for his own purposes. Isn’t it obvious that he’ll be cheering on the hecklers if the body count stays on the lower end of estimates while the unemployment rate rises well into the double digits?