“A world power embarrassing itself.”
That’s how one prominent German magazine described the US’s decentralized, state-based approach to COVID-19 last year. The fact that the US government didn’t prescribe a national lockdown strategy, but left the decision on restrictions to the states, seemed bewildering and chaotic to many in Europe.
One year later, the tide had turned and Germans under stay-at-home orders watched in disbelief as the US started to return to normal life with a vaccination speed four times that of Germany.
A Top-Down Approach
Similar to the US, German law left the responsibility for imposing stay-at-home orders and other drastic restrictions in the hands of the states. Unlike in America, however, the restrictions were almost identical throughout the country. An informal, politically powerful gathering of the minister presidents of all German states together with Chancellor Merkel handed down all policies on lockdowns nationwide.
Think of it as akin to all governors and the president meeting and deciding a uniform COVID-19 policy for all of the country. It’s federalism in name only. The international media lauded Merkel’s response, with The Washington Post praising Germany as “one of the envies of the Western world” for its handling of COVID-19.
In the US, however, the restrictions in response to the coronavirus varied across the states. Some red states never closed down, and many like Georgia and Florida reopened early. Many blue states on the other hand, like California and New York, locked down longer and harsher.
And that’s federalism at work: State governments assessed the situation differently, some saw less risk in reopening to their citizens than others, some may have placed freedom and self-responsibility ahead of other concerns, or the simple fact that states are just vastly different, e.g. some more rural, others more urban.
A federal top-down one-size-fits-all approach would have neglected all of that. More importantly with state policy, unhappy citizens can always ultimately choose to vote with their feet and leave the state: For a substantial number, it was indeed the final straw to move out of certain blue-governed states like California.
The Harshest Lockdown Ever
While Germany eventually reopened in the summer, it closed down again just weeks before Christmas, cutting short the usual Christmas shopping. At the same time, the US was already administering the first vaccine shots. The new phase of restrictions in Germany was meant to be only a temporary time span of four weeks but ended up lasting for almost half a year. Amid the harshest lockdown ever in Germany, with restrictions like curfews, surpassing that of even the early days of the corona outbreak, the feds pushed state governments to agree to take it to the next level: Over Easter, for five days everything including supermarkets would close. Only on one of the five days would citizens be able to buy food for half a day. The announcement backfired and under public backlash, the decision was reversed within a day.
But days later, when some state governments began toying with the idea of “model openings,” a trial reopening of certain regions with low infection numbers, Merkel threatened a federal takeover of the corona-policy setting. More than one year into the pandemic the German parliament approved the power grab from the states and new, federally mandated stay-at-home orders ensured no state could deviate from the national strategy.
All the while, the American vaccination campaign was full speed ahead and several US states, including Texas and Florida, had returned to normal life.
A Sudden Admiration for the ‘Chaotic’ US
By now, Germany’s view of the US had dramatically shifted. Gone was the earlier view of a chaotic American Corona-Wild West. Instead, many Germans began to envy the pictures of American drive-through vaccination sites and Americans returning to normalcy, unthinkable in Germany, with slow, overly bureaucratic vaccination centers and restrictions harsher than one year before.
So what do we learn from this?
Just because decisions are made by a central government body, it doesn’t mean they’re the right decisions. The long phase of lockdowns in Germany may now be coming to an end, but it doesn’t look like it’s fully catching up to America’s progress on reopening and vaccination any time soon. And one can be pretty confident that many Texans or Floridians are probably not too keen on switching places with a German.
Decisions on drastic interventions in the daily life of everyday citizens are made best at the most local scale possible: ideally at the individual level, or at least at the local or state level, and not by federal officials far away contriving a one-size-fits-all plan.
Sebastian Thormann is a Young Voices Contributor and a student at the University of Passau, Germany. He has also written for the Washington Examiner, The National Interest, CapX and Townhall.com.
This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.
New Conservative Network Seeks Crowdfunding Help
They say we have to go big or go home. We’re trying to go big and bring the patriotic truth the the nation, but we need help.
Readers may or may not realize that over the past year, we’ve been bringing more conservative news and opinion outlets under our wing. Don’t take our expansion as a sign of riches; all of the “acquisitions” have been through sweat and promises of greater things to come for all involved. As a result, we’ve been able to bring together several independent media sites under a unified vision of preventing America from succumbing to the progressive, “woke,” Neo-Marxist ideologies that are spreading like wildfire across America.
The slow and steady reopening of America is revealing there was a lot more economic hardship brought about from the Covd-19 lockdowns than most realize. While we continue to hope advertising dollars on the sites go up, it’s simply not enough to do things the right way. We are currently experiencing a gap between revenue and expenses that cannot be overcome by click-ads and MyPillow promos alone (promo code “NOQ” by the way).
To overcome our revenue gap and keep these sites running, our needs fluctuate between $3000-$7000 per month. In other words, we’re in the red and hemorrhaging.
The best way you can help us grow and continue to bring the truth to the people is by donating. We appreciate everything, whether a dollar or $10,000. Anything brings us closer to a point of stability when we can hire writers, editors, and support staff to make the America First message louder. Our Giving Fuel page makes it easy to donate one-time or monthly. Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal as well.
As the world spirals towards radical progressivism, the need for truthful journalism has never been greater. But in these times, we need as many conservative media voices as possible. Please help keep NOQ Report and the other sites in the network going.
Thank you and God Bless,
We Often Feel Like David Taking on Giants
Today’s Goliath is the Mainstream Media Industrial Complex that brainwashes the masses.
Our mission is very straightforward: To counter the false narratives and nefarious agendas destroying America today. It isn’t easy for obvious reasons; despite incredible growth over the last year we are still a very tiny fish in a huge media pond. But we’re fighting and we will continue to do so, Lord willing, for as long as we possibly can. The battle for America’s present and future is too important for us to back down to the giants that stand in our way.
We need help. I don’t want to say “desperately,” but the need is definitely great. If you have the means, please donate through our GivingFuel page, PayPal, or our Substack page. Your generosity is what keeps these sites running and allows us to get the truth to the masses. We’ve had great success in growing but we know we can do more with your assistance.
Thank you, and God Bless!
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