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By Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, March 16, 2020
State leadership and decentralization work better in a crisis than nationwide measures decreed by a dictator-like authority.On Saturday afternoon, Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, put the 47 million people living in his country under a partial “lockdown,” closing retailers, shops, restaurants, and gymnasiums. That very evening France’s prime minister, Emmanuel Macron, announced the imminent shutdown of restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and nightclubs. It followed barely a week after Giuseppe Conte, Italy’s prime minister, announced a series of escalating closures in affected regions of Italy and the whole country. As I write, Angela Merkel is announcing “never seen before” measures including closing shops (while allowing certain categories of shops to be open on Sundays) and banning all gatherings including religious ones.
And so people are asking questions such as, “Why didn’t the U.S. federal government shut down restaurants and bars the way France and Spain did?” Or they are kvetching about the president. Writer Molly Jong-Fast complains, “So the states are basically governing themselves because our president doesn’t know how to president at all?” ….