We Have Sacrificed Our Constitutional Freedoms to Fight a Virus; Will We Ever Get Them Back?

Shoppers visit a Costco Wholesale in Tigard, Ore., Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, after reports of Oregon’s first case of coronavirus was announced in the nearby Oregon city of Lake Oswego on Friday. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)

Smarter people than me have noted over the years that totalitarianism always arrives wearing a smiley face. Ronald Reagan was fond of saying, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.” I fear we are on the cusp of totalitarianism taking root in America and it has not come on the strength of $100,000 in Facebook ads bought by a Russian troll farm. It has been propelled here by a virus that most likely represents an interspecies jump of an everyday virus from some pre-soup bat at a live market in Wuhan, China, to a human.

The extent to which the government, at all levels, driven on by the frenzied bleating of our national media has used this virus to lay siege to our civil liberties has been nothing short of astounding. The degree to which Americans have gone along with this slow-motion revolution has been shocking.

Ridiculous shelter-in-place orders are zealously enforced:

City ordinances are forbidding the sale of merchandise in otherwise open stores based on bureaucratic whim:

Pastors have been arrested for holding services:

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has threatened to permanently close any church that holds services.

Senior officials openly muse about their fantasies of a nationwide shelter-in-place order.

And attempts are made to shame Americans into submission:

The official government slogan of 30 Days to Slow the Spread has been in effect for 32 days, as of today, and shows no signs of an end in the near future.

Don’t be deceived. We will not be allowed to return to the status quo ante after this bug is just part of the ecosystem any more than Germany was allowed to return to the status quo ante after Marinus van der Lubbe kept his appointment with the fallbeil. We have been fundamentally changed as a nation.

This pandemic has shown that our government not respect civil liberties or recognize any concept of personal agency. The First Amendment, which guarantees our right to peaceably assemble, has been absolutely shutdown by politicians and bureaucrats declaring that it was illegal to do so. It is no more permissible to forbid people from going to the beach because of some inchoate and ill-defined risk to themselves than it is to prevent them from holding political rally…something which would also be forbidden. This is power that Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon never dreamed of exercising during the height of the Vietnam War protests and the “Days of Rage.”

If churches are locked, with the complicity of their clergy based upon government fiat and pastors are arrested for holding church services (sadly, no Catholic priests have yet stepped forward to do their duty to their flocks in the face of the obeisance of their hierarchy to Caesar), then freedom of religion has been defined down to a personal hobby from a human right in a way that Barack Obama could never have dreamed.

If a mayor can forbid a store to sell merchandise because of Wuhan virus, then he or she can forbid a store from selling merchandise for any other ‘public health crisis.’ And let’s be serious here, the limiting of merchandise that can be sold has zero to do with transmission of the Wuhan virus and everything to do with government staking out its right to control your life. Once you are in the store, your risk of spreading or contracting the virus neither increases nor decreases based upon the goods you buy any more than a 9 p.m. curfew keeps you safe.

And this is the start. The people pushing this are watching and observing and taking notes and are very happy with what they see.

The course of action charted by the federal and state governments here have inflicted hardship all out of proportion to the damage potential of the virus. And they have done it in a way that guarantees we go through this again in November. Widespread infection, when some 80% of everyone catching the virus recovers completely with few or no symptoms would build the herd immunity we need to render the Wuhan virus irrelevance. The social distancing nonsense simply preserves a large population with no immunity that will be as susceptible to the virus in the autumn as it is now and give rise to yet another round of social controls. (Amazingly, in short, we’ve devastated the economy and spent trillions of dollars and sacrificed our liberties and our birthright and we have nothing to show for it, not even the proverbial mess of pottage.)

Now that government knows that it can do this and that our elites and our media will stand idly by…along with the great mass of the citizenry as well…as precious liberties are sacrificed on the altar of ephemeral fear, fear will be our constant companion as government refuses to give up its newly won power.

streiff
Managing Editor at RedState
Former infantry officer, CGSC grad and Army Operations Center alumnus.
RedState member since 2004.
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