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Liberty vs The Virus

Early computer models predicted the Wuhan Virus (Cornonavirus/ COVID-19) could cost the lives of over 2 million Americans. With these predictions and a fast rising number of infections, it was decided that extreme measures would be necessary to combat the virus. The American people deliberately shut down a $22 trillion economy, the most prosperous in history, in order to slow the spread of the virus. Americans voluntarily cooperated with these emergency recommendations and guidelines in order to prevent hospitals from being overrun, buying time for treatments to be tried. Several have been successful.

Those goals have been achieved; it is now time to reopen the economy. We have also discovered that many elected officials and bureaucrats believe they have the right to rule over us and enforce the otherwise voluntary quarantine. Is it time for a Second American Revolution (non-violent) to rescind government power and remind our would-be rulers of our inviolable constitutional rights?

(Cover photo credit Pastel Punk Pirate, contact designer for your graphic design needs)

We have been warned that the number of infections will sky rocket if the economy is reopened. Doom and gloom permeate the news cycle about the prospect. Yet, this is hardly a great concern for an illness where very few infected individuals develop symptoms and a tiny fraction die; usually of secondary infection, usually pneumonia or sepsis. Quarantine and social distancing have prevented hospitals from being overwhelmed and allowed time for treatments to be developed. Mission accomplished. It is impossible to prevent the spread of an airborne virus to any given population, but we now know how to slow the spread with proper hygiene and how to identify and treat those who become ill. Hydroxychloroquine and the Z pack seem to have helped slow the rate of death. Israel has developed a treatment that worked on all 6 seriously ill patients it was tested upon. Hopefully, tests will expand soon. There is an effort to draw blood from those who have recovered from the virus to use the plasma to bring antibodies to those who are severely ill. Our suffering, isolation, and economic pain have paid off.

Meanwhile, our economy remains largely shuttered. Tens of millions are unemployed, tens of millions of business owners are struggling with the prospect of their life’s work imploding, millions more despairing. Physical illness cannot be our only concern in this crisis. The suicide rate and the rate of drug overdose are beginning to rise. To prevent some from dying we have destroyed the lives of tens of millions of people. Until they can begin to work toward a brighter future and reap the rewards of their efforts, many will fall deeper into despair and depression. The suicide and drug overdose deaths will quickly outpace Wuhan Virus-related deaths if we do not take action. Some argue that reopening the economy is a question of lives versus money; in fact, it is lives versus lives with the greater death toll arising from the further delay of economic activity.

A bank employee lets waiting customers in, as others patrons leave, because of social distancing efforts during the coronavirus outbreak, at a Wells Fargo branch in the Atwater Village neighborhood of Los Angeles on Friday, April 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

American Liberty

The government has no authority to limit our constitutionally protected rights. In the American system, emergency measures implemented by the government are necessarily “extralegal,” such that they must be defended in court after the fact as having been “necessary” at the time. Martial law, is essentially, an illegal abuse of power that must go no further than needed to address a crisis. As with the British system little accommodation is made in our constitutional structure for extreme emergencies.

In his book Constitutional Dictatorship, the mid-20th century American scholar Clinton Rossiter points out that while some other countries have created legal mechanisms to declare emergencies, a state of siege, or to assume extraordinary powers in a national emergency, the Anglo-American system relies primarily upon the cooperation of a willing populace. In the United States, that populace is armed and very much attached to their personal freedoms. We, the American people, have taken it upon ourselves voluntarily to implement social distancing. We did this out of love for our fellow Americans and a desire to mitigate the danger. An airborne virus that is highly contagious and was already known to cause thousands of deaths? The threat certainly seemed grave. The computer models that predicted millions of deaths have proven to be entirely inaccurate. The anticipated total number of deaths in the United States started at some 2.2 million before dropping to about a quarter million, then 60,000 and now even that number is being revised downward.

With the number of deaths falling and treatments available and fast multiplying, the urgency is quickly abating. We The People have done our part, now it is time to go back to our lives. We must reopen our economy before any greater harm is done. If we reopen soon we can quickly regain the momentum of our formerly prosperous economy and begin to rebuild our lives. The suicide and overdose rates will decline saving thousands more lives. Right now, we can quickly get people back to work, especially thanks to the massive stimulus package recently enacted.

Is This Dystopia a Utopia?

The far left are pleased at what appears to be most Americans cowering in the face of government power. They are excited about the reduced carbon emissions from the shuttered economy. This lot believes their insane economic notions have been proven correct in this crisis: most Americans can stay home from work and continue to be fed thanks to government spending. Yet, this is entirely unsustainable. As with Venezuela now and the Soviet Union long before, the command economy, essentially state capitalism, is inefficient in the extreme and ultimately self-defeating. Without the freedom to make choices for themselves consumers must sate themselves with the goods and services offered by the government. Resources are soon allotted ineffectively. There will be a shortage of flour and an abundance of chocolate. A shortage of toilet paper and an abundance of potato chips. Sound familiar?

President Donald Trump during daily White House Briefings

The American left is clinging desperately to this dystopian, apocalyptic situation. To them, this is a utopia. The propaganda media, or fake news, as the has President so concisely dubbed them, is full of doom and gloom about the prospect of reopening. They began in recent weeks to spread a false narrative that President Trump had acted too late, when the experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, were saying there wasn’t much to be concerned about as late as early March, a full month AFTER the President instituted an unprecedented travel restriction from China and quarantine of US citizens returning therefrom, an action for which the President was condemned by the media. No President has ever taken such action. At a recent daily briefing, Dr. Fauci clarified that the President has followed his recommendations and has not hampered efforts to combat the virus. On the contrary he has managed the federal government with the skill of a proper CEO.

The President had a montage prepared of media personalities downplaying the threat of the virus over the course of the previous months. A montage the media is attacking as propaganda and a campaign ad. How can a montage be propaganda when it is merely quoting the media personalities themselves? The attacks on the President were launched in order to sustain the shutdown. We all know that when the President and his team of experts begin to recommend the reopening of the economy, the media narrative will be hostile: every death from the virus will be a murder committed personally by Donald Trump. To the media and American left, discrediting, weakening, and defeating Donald Trump in his reelection bid are more important than the lives and livelihoods of the American people. The left seems determined to extend this misery so long as they can to increase their chances of unseating the President. Despicable as this agenda is, it must not go unnoticed. As we go back to our lives we must hold the left accountable for their malfeasance and malice toward average Americans.

Signing of the Declaration of Independence circa July 4th, 1776
at Independence Hall, Philadelphia

A Second American Revolution?

In the Anglo-American tradition, revolution is couched in terms of resistance to tyranny. Unlike socialists or anarchists who seek to unmake whole societies and turn the world upside down, we prefer to maintain what degree of the rule of law we can. During the American Revolution, not once did any general declare himself dictator, even as an emergency expedient. Not once did a city or state descend into utter lawlessness. The founding generation even went out of its way to try to protect the rights of Loyalists, those Americans who sided with the British. There was no reign of terror, no collectivized farms, nor bloody purge. Americans did not seek to unmake government, only to return it to the consent of the governed. We hold that government exists to protect the natural rights endowed to us by our creator.

Government is closing businesses, churches – synagogues – and mosques, and arresting individuals for leaving their domiciles. In several states, Michigan in particular, the draconian measures taken to “enforce” social distancing have gone far beyond the pale of voluntary cooperation. In several states and cities residents have been forced to produce “papers” to demonstrate their “right” to travel. Anyone not deemed to be working in an essential industry is turned about to remain at home. Papers…? Are we living in the United States or the Soviet Union? This is an especially surreal and egregious violation of our freedoms. Several political leaders have demonstrated beyond question that they truly believe they have the power to rule over us as despots in any “emergency.” Of course, anything can be drummed up into an emergency from supposed climate change to the lack of universal healthcare. In silence there is assent, if we do not push back against this abridgement of our rights this episode will be repeated. The actions of these would-be rulers are unforgivable.

As we rise from this shut down, as we return to our lives, let each American glance about and contemplate his or her civic surroundings. Consider whom you have elected to office and how they perceive their power and their role in your life. Consider the mounds of regulations, ordinances, and the preponderance of copious laws enacted at all levels of government. How much of this is truly necessary? How much is beneficial to our society? What laws and spending benefit us and protect our rights, and what harms us and undermines our rights? Take a moment to notice that as an American you are not ruled by a King claiming divine right or by a socialist cult dedicated to orthodox Marxism and the destruction of humanity. You are citizens of a democratic-republic established under a unique constitution born of the struggle for liberty. That document constrains the government to serve us, not us to serve the government.

Bill of Rights, Amendments I-X to the Constitution of the United States

From taxes to school choice, from trade deals to environmental regulations, from labor laws to gun control laws we must open our eyes and resist. It is time to rescind the authority of government in favor of our own unique individual choices. Let us choose leaders who celebrate liberty, who respect our right to make our own choices, and who answer to our weal rather than seeking  to impose their will on us. At all levels of government, inefficiency, ineffectiveness, and corruption are rampant.

It is time for a non-violent Second American Revolution–this one to be achieved by voting for freedom, protesting government overreach, and otherwise resisting unnecessary and tyrannical authority. As this crisis abates, let us turn it into something positive: a new rebirth of liberty, an opening of the fountain of human entrepreneurship and ingenuity. Liberty will not die this day. It has overcome slavery, Fascism, Communism, and Islamic Terrorism; has lived on through great depressions and great recessions; through extreme weather and viral epidemics. Liberty will survive this crisis, too, and lead us to happiness and prosperity anew.

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