One of the great mysteries of the progressive-programmed electorate is how it can forget so quickly one rationale for a policy (“flatten the curve” so as not to over-burden hospital infrastructure) and then embrace nebulous, unrealistic rationales (“beat the virus”). Mosts people are just too distracted and foolish to follow this crucial giving away of the moral high ground and intellectual respectability. Instead, they take it on faith.

And it really is faith.

But unlike faith in God, which puts you in an almost-impossible-to-test realm of epistemic extremity, faith in Salvation by Government is easy to show up as idiotic and disproven by facts and the unfolding of events.

Still, the faith is strong. Especially among moderately bright people. And why, you may ask? Well, I have mused upon this quite a lot. And evolutionary anthropologist Edward Dutton has investigated this sort of thing scientifically. But part of what we are dealing with is explained by class incentives: the moderate brights take up positions in the culture that have been heavily co-opted by technocrats using, chiefly, credentialist mechanisms — higher education — and the thing about moderate brights is that they excel at test taking and passing through low-end scholastic hoops. It’s very easy to navigate a world arranged by academics.

But it is not at all efficient, and it subverts the market order, for instead of using profit and loss as a test, other tests of efficacy come to dominate. And the domination of society by this class of people, these moderate brights, in a regulatory context, can be quite domineering.

Of course those domineering moderate brights don’t see it, because they have faith. It is the faith of statism. It is the major feature of intellectual life today.