As Congress pushes forward with a TikTok ban, Senior Fellow at the Market Institute John Tamny argues in a new piece at Real Clear Markets why Americans should not be so quick to support this move.

He writes:

“”Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – Ben Franklin

As of May of 2020, more than 40 million Americans had filed for unemployment. The 40 million represented one quarter of the U.S. workforce.

There’s a tendency even now for people to say that the novel coronavirus was the source of all the aforementioned economic desperation, but such a view is nonsensical. Economies don’t just collapse; instead politicians intervene in the natural doings of the people who comprise what we call an “economy.” Government intervention was the collapse. Correcting a narrative that will forever need correction, in the spring of 2020 panicky politicians chose to make going to work and operating one’s business largely illegal, thus the unemployment. It was to protect us from getting sick or dying from the virus, they said.

Which was a stupendous insult. Seriously, who needs to be forced to avoid sickness and death? And assuming the possibility of sickness and/or death related to a virus, what sentient being would look to a politician or a collection of politicians as the source of wise counsel about how to avoid anything that threatens?  

Despite this, nailbiting lawmakers in both parties, right on up to President Donald Trump, chose a massive national taking of freedom in the form of lockdowns as the primary strategy for protecting us. Yes, they quite literally chose economic contraction as their virus-mitigation plan; this, despite the fact that economic growth has always been the biggest enemy of death and disease, and poverty the biggest enabler of both. Historians will marvel at their abject stupidity.

Please keep the bipartisan decision in 2020 to rob you of your freedom and concomitantly crush the economy as a way of “protecting” you well in mind in the here and now. The alleged new existential threat to the American people is said to be TikTok. 170 million Americans think a little or lot of the app enough to have downloaded it, so much so that regular users of it spend quite a bit more time on it than they do on Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, or name your social media site. The politicians who didn’t trust us to make wise choices about how to deal with a spreading virus have decided to insult us yet again.

They claim that TikTok, a remarkably innovative company created by Beijing-based ByteDance, is actually just a front for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). As the reasonably rational surely already see, the very assumption underlying the political class’s justification for seeking a ban on TikTok is self-discrediting. And the source of its discredit comes from the conservatives cheering most loudly for TikTok’s ban. As they’ve long so correctly pointed out, nothing any government operates or controls is ever popular, anywhere. Translated, no one enjoys going to the DMV, the passport office, or the Post Office, among other government creations. TikTok is presently lapping U.S. giants like Facebook and Twitter in terms of mass American appeal, yet conservatives want us to believe that the CCP is controlling the very business Americans can’t get enough of? From this rhetorical backflip, are we supposed to believe government officials in China are somehow different because, well, they’re Chinese?

Logic says no, and not just because government is always and everywhere incapable of operating as a business, let alone one capable of producing a product that Americans plainly adore. More evidence of the shocking foolishness all around us right now can be found in China itself. The country is dense with symbols of American capitalism like Apple, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s in every city, and the latter is a consequence of the passion within the Chinese people for all things American. Yet we’re supposed to believe the CCP is capable of creating propaganda that will drive American hatred of America in a way that it plainly cannot even with its own people…?

Of course, it’s not just that the proposed ban of TikTok insults the American people. Worse than the political class’s implied view that Americans are too malleable to handle what politicians imagine to be propaganda is a similarly implied view within the elected that the American way of life is so unworthy that an app could somehow turn the American people against their country. Where’s the outrage?”

Read more at Real Clear Markets by clicking here.