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When we win this war, what will we have lost? Let’s face it, eventually we’ll beat the Chinese Virus. The incidence of new infections will abate; the sick will recover; and, tragically, a small percentage will die from it. We’ll ‘flatten the curve,’ ‘get ahead of the wave,’ or do whatever the latest buzzwords are for kicking the virus in the ass. It happens with every disease, even those much more serious than COVID-19 (which most are).
Government will pat itself on the back for its ‘leadership.’ You’ll hear all about how politicians saved the planet (all except for President Trump, of course). They’ll cite the success of actions like ‘social distancing,’ ‘shelter-in-place,’ ‘self-isolation,’ and ‘stay at home orders.’ Will the claims be accurate? Sort of. After all, slowing the spread of any disease is effective, and these measures will have slowed the China Virus considerably.
But will the ends – the destruction of a virus – justify the means – the broad application of (perhaps unconstitutional) executive authority by fiat? I’ve watched in amazement (terror, really) as governors and mayors issued orders under questionable authority to shutter private establishments, decided where we can eat a meal, ordered private citizens to remain in their homes, and in some cases, infringed upon Second Amendment rights with respect to the sale, possession, and carry of firearms and ammunition.
I’m no Constitutional scholar, but Robert Barnes is, and he’s written about the very same concerns I’ve had since this ‘crisis’ erupted.
Quarantine 2020 is the new Martial Law, de facto for sure, but it passes as such with little or no challenge. Local politicians act by decree, like princes and kings, and make decisions that not only impact lives, but which take a wrecking ball to local economies, our national economy, and strip away freedoms at will. People lose jobs when our enlightened masters make decisions like these, and with job loss comes a loss of benefits, like health insurance. That seems like a particularly perverse outcome to a health crisis.
Under what authority do local leaders act when they order the closure of private sector businesses? What remedies are available to local establishments when they are told to shut down? Will these same leaders write checks (funded by taxpayers, no doubt) to heal the economic damage they’ve caused? What happens when a private citizen leaves the confines of his home and government deems the reason insufficient and in violation of the chief executive’s directive?
Rights come from God and government has a duty to protect our rights at all cost, not to engage in their usurpation. The right to peaceably assemble, engage in free speech, and to keep and bear arms, among all the others, mean something still. Yes, there is a sense of urgency to combat the virus, but it should not come at such a cost that state and local governments upend the Constitution in the process.
Bullies often intimidate their victims a few times with the threat of force so that in the future they merely need to glare at them to gain compliance. We’ve witnessed entire cities and states willingly comply in lap dog fashion with the orders of a few. I now worry about the next time governors and mayors decide there’s a new crisis and they need to suspend the Constitution. After all, this exercise was easy, wasn’t it? Millions obeyed when government issued orders due to a virus that, on the scale of diseases over the course of mankind, was near the low end of the threat spectrum. How heavy will be the boot of government the next time, when a crisis is even more severe (and chances are it will be)?
That Democrats on the one hand fan the flames of hysteria over a crisis that must be fixed at the speed of heat, but on the other hand obstruct legislation designed to do just that in order to lard it up with pork, should tell you all you need to know. The virus created opportunities. There’s the opportunity to expand the size, scope, and power of government. There’s the opportunity to test the malleability of Americans to unconstitutional power grabs. And then there’s the opportunity to hurt working Americans, damage the economy, and paint President Trump in as bad a light as possible to increase Democrat party chances this November.
Yes, we’ll defeat this virus. But will its destruction also amount to a kill shot to our Constitution? Is the temporary sense of security from benevolent dictators worth that price?
Colonel Michael (“Mike”) is retired from the United States Air Force, a published thriller author, and a conservative writer who fashions himself as Attila the Hun with a laptop. Mike wrote for Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government and Big Peace blogs before the Breitbart consolidation, receiving superb feedback and kudos for typically weaving in pop culture references with his far right perspectives. He enjoys writing about military affairs, national security issues, and politics and is an avid Second Amendment advocate.