Governments and politicians sometimes believe they have the power to solve any problem. Such a belief system tends to see politicians bringing their powers of their office (both real and imagined) to bear on a host of issue far removed from the affairs of state.

One such example comes – not surprisingly – from California. The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors believes it has the ability to tackle loneliness:

…the supervisors took on a problem that is typically private and put it in the public eye.

They voted unanimously to ask staffers to research how residents are affected by loneliness and isolation and how the county can help — particularly during a pandemic where in-person contact has often been off-limits.

“The increase in social isolation has been driven, in part, by the pandemic, when we were abiding by the safer-at-home order, spending time apart and away from loved ones,” said Supervisor Hilda Solis, who introduced the motion. “I do believe this issue is very pervasive — it might even be one of those ‘silent killers.’”

And so the county must help. But the county may very well be the culprit:

Stay-at-home orders that forced people into isolation during the pandemic are major contributors to loneliness. So are long-term, systemic issues like economic insecurity and social and racial divisions, according to Cole and other experts.

“That’s the tragedy of lockdowns,” Cole said. “It really does make people feel frightened about the virus. It strips them of their chief safety resource: the presence of other people.”

In locking down the economy – forcing businesses to close, requiring schools to teach remotely, and so on. Those government mandates helped make an existing problem even worse. At least there’s an admission of that role:

“We didn’t mean to do it,” Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said during the board meeting. “We don’t mean to cause isolation. But we are, in some cases, a part of the problem.” Indeed. Government officials don’t mean to cause many of the problems they do cause, which is good reason to at least show skepticism next time they want to save us from something.

Exactly. The state is not the source of all our problems. But it has a habit of making some problems worse…which require more fixes, creating their own problems needing even more fixes.