If Americans Can't Work, They'll Need Government

How quickly the soft tyranny of good intentions by the government becomes crushingly oppressive.  For those who weren't paying attention, there was a buildup to state governors' issuing orders that American citizens are to remain in their homes, leaving only for "essential" purposes, as Gavin Newsom just ordered all Californians to do. 

It began with a simple travel ban, of which even progressives questioned the necessity.

Rosie Spinks, on February 5, argued at the New York Times that Trump's travel ban with China was "unjust and doesn't work anyway."  "Respiratory infections ... know no borders.  The virus has spread regardless of extreme measures taken by governments around the world," she wrote.  She cited Erin Sorell of Georgetown University, who said resources would be better used in "treating sick patients and developing vaccines and other countermeasures."

Keep in mind that back then, she wasn't talking about a global shutdown of commerce that would kill the economies that provide the "resources" that could be better used by "treating patients" and "other countermeasures."  The pandemic was little more than a tourism disruptor at that time, and even still, Rosie Spinks was compelled to argue that numerous "experts have said that the majority of people who contract coronavirus will experience it as a respiratory infection they will fully recover from.  But the extreme reactions," she continued, like canceling flights and level-four travel warnings, "seem more appropriate for something much worse."

The disease hasn't become deadlier since then.  Quite the contrary, it's become apparent that it is far less deadly than originally thought. 

As more information becomes available, it seems that at least 80% of people who are infected with COVID-19 have mild symptoms and will recover without any treatment at all.  And there appears to be a tremendous amount of deceit in other numbers offered for public consumption.  Fatality and hospitalization rates for COVID-19 are often referenced as some multiple of the seasonal flu, for example.  But with the seasonal flu, those rates are calculated using an estimated number of cases, which is much higher than the number of instances where the flu is reported and identified.  Since we know so little about this novel virus, it might make sense that current hospitalization and fatality rates are often based upon known cases of infection, but since the actual number of infections is likely many times greater than the cases of known infection, it doesn't take a epidemiologist or statistician to realize that the numbers being bandied about, like one- to four-percent fatality rates, are wildly inflated.

The media used all this to drive Americans' hysteria to unbelievable heights, reporting worst-case scenarios as likelihoods and questionable data as facts (which is the most generous way that I'm able to frame what the media have done in all of this).  This was carried to social media, where emotions are intensified beyond anything seen in real life, which fostered an unreasonable fear among the public.

"Social distancing."  "Flatten the curve."  These phrases became the only acceptable dogma with regard to this pandemic, recited by everyday Americans with an almost religious zeal.  On March 14, Queen Millennial Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez admonished Americans for not staying in their homes as government officials had advised, tweeting:

For those in NYC but ESPECIALLY healthy people & people under 40 (bc from what I'm observing, that's who needs to hear this again):  PLEASE stop crowding bars, restaurants, and public spaces right now.  Eat your meals at home.  If you are healthy, you could be spreading COVID.  

Not everyone was happy with Ocasio-Cortez's scolding.  Katie Williams, who's apparently a Board of Trustees candidate for the Clark County School District, responded to her, saying: "I just went to a crowded Red Robin and I'm 30.  It was delicious, and I took my sweet time eating my meal.  Because this is America, and I'll do what I want."

The tweet drew a lot of attention.  #CoronaKatie began trending, and there were countless suggestions that, by choosing to eat at a restaurant, she was "killing people."  Almost overnight, we had reached the point of catastrophizing everyday activities.  By choosing to defy the government's recommendations, you weren't just risking your health and the health of others who chose to be in that restaurant.  No, you were killing people. 

Government edicts began to replace the early recommendations from government officials and grew more restrictive.  We first saw gatherings of over 250 people were banned, then 100, then 10.  Then all restaurants and bars and gyms had to be closed.  That led to the directive to have no physical contact outside your family, with California's governor, Gavin Newsom, issuing a statewide "shelter in place" order, which means I'm not to leave my home except for "essential" needs, like groceries.

And, just like that, I no longer have the freedom to associate with my community, the local gym owner, or restaurateurs.  All of a sudden, a state governor is talking about the feasibility of instituting martial law to enforce quarantines.  The morning news anchors are telling me it's not so bad, though.  After all, I "can still go to the grocery store, or go for a walk."

We spend a lot time on the potential casualties and the physical ravages of the virus.  What we don't talk about is the millions who may lose their jobs or their homes, or retire much more uncomfortably, or shutter their businesses forever.  The government has made the choice that the freedom of the latter is expendable, because the danger of the former is simply too great.

But truly free people are free to make choices.  If I were an elderly person with a respiratory ailment or compromised immune system, there would be absolutely nothing stopping me from reclusively sheltering in my home like Howard Hughes.  I would be free to make that choice as a precaution. 

Inversely, if I go to a restaurant, as I did with my family on the same day Katie Williams was accused of killing people by doing so, it is our choice to go there.  We were not alone on that day.  There were many other people in the restaurant that day, and many older people.  As a result, the cooks earned a wage, the hostess and waitresses made their tips, and we were all able to enjoy our meal and our liberty.

If an older person became infected that day, whose fault would it be?  He also chose to be there.  The government's response to that question is that it doesn't matter.  Since some people may make the wrong choices, in their estimation, there must be no choices at all.

As a result, the waitress is now stuck at home, forbidden by the government to work and earn a living.  I cannot patronize her industry with the money I've earned by my living, because the government has forbidden that, too.  Her livelihood is in peril, and both of our lives are generally diminished.

Every American should bristle at the suggestion that the government has a right to tell people they are forbidden to engage in lawful, voluntary commerce in order to preserve their self-maintenance, and especially when the threat is invisible, the casualties thus far are mild in comparison to similar pandemics of the past, and the extent of the danger it poses is profoundly uncertain. 

If the government will not allow you to care for yourself, you have no choice but to rely on the government for your maintenance.  Today, as I watch the world descend into chaos, while private wealth is being destroyed by government policy, and governments are calculating how to forcibly keep healthy, law-abiding citizens unproductive and in their homes, it strikes me that it's far easier to argue that we are subjects of this government than it is to argue that we're free Americans.

There was a time when Americans saw death as preferable to these circumstances.  Today, instead of complacently accepting the government's shackles, we must stand up and demand, as the rightful sovereigns of our states and nation, that our government let us get back to our lives and livelihoods.  This insanity cannot be allowed to go on much longer, and if we lack the will to stand up against these open attacks on our liberty, we risk losing everything that once made America the land of the free.

How quickly the soft tyranny of good intentions by the government becomes crushingly oppressive.  For those who weren't paying attention, there was a buildup to state governors' issuing orders that American citizens are to remain in their homes, leaving only for "essential" purposes, as Gavin Newsom just ordered all Californians to do. 

It began with a simple travel ban, of which even progressives questioned the necessity.

Rosie Spinks, on February 5, argued at the New York Times that Trump's travel ban with China was "unjust and doesn't work anyway."  "Respiratory infections ... know no borders.  The virus has spread regardless of extreme measures taken by governments around the world," she wrote.  She cited Erin Sorell of Georgetown University, who said resources would be better used in "treating sick patients and developing vaccines and other countermeasures."

Keep in mind that back then, she wasn't talking about a global shutdown of commerce that would kill the economies that provide the "resources" that could be better used by "treating patients" and "other countermeasures."  The pandemic was little more than a tourism disruptor at that time, and even still, Rosie Spinks was compelled to argue that numerous "experts have said that the majority of people who contract coronavirus will experience it as a respiratory infection they will fully recover from.  But the extreme reactions," she continued, like canceling flights and level-four travel warnings, "seem more appropriate for something much worse."

The disease hasn't become deadlier since then.  Quite the contrary, it's become apparent that it is far less deadly than originally thought. 

As more information becomes available, it seems that at least 80% of people who are infected with COVID-19 have mild symptoms and will recover without any treatment at all.  And there appears to be a tremendous amount of deceit in other numbers offered for public consumption.  Fatality and hospitalization rates for COVID-19 are often referenced as some multiple of the seasonal flu, for example.  But with the seasonal flu, those rates are calculated using an estimated number of cases, which is much higher than the number of instances where the flu is reported and identified.  Since we know so little about this novel virus, it might make sense that current hospitalization and fatality rates are often based upon known cases of infection, but since the actual number of infections is likely many times greater than the cases of known infection, it doesn't take a epidemiologist or statistician to realize that the numbers being bandied about, like one- to four-percent fatality rates, are wildly inflated.

The media used all this to drive Americans' hysteria to unbelievable heights, reporting worst-case scenarios as likelihoods and questionable data as facts (which is the most generous way that I'm able to frame what the media have done in all of this).  This was carried to social media, where emotions are intensified beyond anything seen in real life, which fostered an unreasonable fear among the public.

"Social distancing."  "Flatten the curve."  These phrases became the only acceptable dogma with regard to this pandemic, recited by everyday Americans with an almost religious zeal.  On March 14, Queen Millennial Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez admonished Americans for not staying in their homes as government officials had advised, tweeting:

For those in NYC but ESPECIALLY healthy people & people under 40 (bc from what I'm observing, that's who needs to hear this again):  PLEASE stop crowding bars, restaurants, and public spaces right now.  Eat your meals at home.  If you are healthy, you could be spreading COVID.  

Not everyone was happy with Ocasio-Cortez's scolding.  Katie Williams, who's apparently a Board of Trustees candidate for the Clark County School District, responded to her, saying: "I just went to a crowded Red Robin and I'm 30.  It was delicious, and I took my sweet time eating my meal.  Because this is America, and I'll do what I want."

The tweet drew a lot of attention.  #CoronaKatie began trending, and there were countless suggestions that, by choosing to eat at a restaurant, she was "killing people."  Almost overnight, we had reached the point of catastrophizing everyday activities.  By choosing to defy the government's recommendations, you weren't just risking your health and the health of others who chose to be in that restaurant.  No, you were killing people. 

Government edicts began to replace the early recommendations from government officials and grew more restrictive.  We first saw gatherings of over 250 people were banned, then 100, then 10.  Then all restaurants and bars and gyms had to be closed.  That led to the directive to have no physical contact outside your family, with California's governor, Gavin Newsom, issuing a statewide "shelter in place" order, which means I'm not to leave my home except for "essential" needs, like groceries.

And, just like that, I no longer have the freedom to associate with my community, the local gym owner, or restaurateurs.  All of a sudden, a state governor is talking about the feasibility of instituting martial law to enforce quarantines.  The morning news anchors are telling me it's not so bad, though.  After all, I "can still go to the grocery store, or go for a walk."

We spend a lot time on the potential casualties and the physical ravages of the virus.  What we don't talk about is the millions who may lose their jobs or their homes, or retire much more uncomfortably, or shutter their businesses forever.  The government has made the choice that the freedom of the latter is expendable, because the danger of the former is simply too great.

But truly free people are free to make choices.  If I were an elderly person with a respiratory ailment or compromised immune system, there would be absolutely nothing stopping me from reclusively sheltering in my home like Howard Hughes.  I would be free to make that choice as a precaution. 

Inversely, if I go to a restaurant, as I did with my family on the same day Katie Williams was accused of killing people by doing so, it is our choice to go there.  We were not alone on that day.  There were many other people in the restaurant that day, and many older people.  As a result, the cooks earned a wage, the hostess and waitresses made their tips, and we were all able to enjoy our meal and our liberty.

If an older person became infected that day, whose fault would it be?  He also chose to be there.  The government's response to that question is that it doesn't matter.  Since some people may make the wrong choices, in their estimation, there must be no choices at all.

As a result, the waitress is now stuck at home, forbidden by the government to work and earn a living.  I cannot patronize her industry with the money I've earned by my living, because the government has forbidden that, too.  Her livelihood is in peril, and both of our lives are generally diminished.

Every American should bristle at the suggestion that the government has a right to tell people they are forbidden to engage in lawful, voluntary commerce in order to preserve their self-maintenance, and especially when the threat is invisible, the casualties thus far are mild in comparison to similar pandemics of the past, and the extent of the danger it poses is profoundly uncertain. 

If the government will not allow you to care for yourself, you have no choice but to rely on the government for your maintenance.  Today, as I watch the world descend into chaos, while private wealth is being destroyed by government policy, and governments are calculating how to forcibly keep healthy, law-abiding citizens unproductive and in their homes, it strikes me that it's far easier to argue that we are subjects of this government than it is to argue that we're free Americans.

There was a time when Americans saw death as preferable to these circumstances.  Today, instead of complacently accepting the government's shackles, we must stand up and demand, as the rightful sovereigns of our states and nation, that our government let us get back to our lives and livelihoods.  This insanity cannot be allowed to go on much longer, and if we lack the will to stand up against these open attacks on our liberty, we risk losing everything that once made America the land of the free.