You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.Rahm Emanuel
As the number of cases and subsequent deaths from the Coronavirus continue to climb in the United States, local and state governments across the country are rapidly expanding their power and trampling over rights all the while.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed an executive order authorizing state police to commandeer from any New Jerseyan: N95 masks, gloves, ventilators and any other item healthcare facilities “badly need.”
Seattle, Washington’s police chief Carmen Best encouraged residents to report “racial name calling” at a time when Seattle police have had difficulties confronting burglary and assault.
The Agency of Commerce and Community Development in Vermont banned “big box retailers” from selling “non essential items” in an attempt to reduce the number of shoppers in stores (for public health of course).
While some citizens may cheer these measures on as necessary steps to combat a deadly virus, it is important to keep the ramifications in perspective. Giving the government unbridled ability to control the lives of citizens in the name of public health provides appointed bureaucrats and elected officials with a method to force any agenda they please on the public.
Since the government can determine what is or is not a public health emergency, the basis on which the standard public health emergency procedures are enacted can be applied at whatever frequency is yielded by their arbitrarily set criteria of what a public health emergency is. For example, if some local and state governments decide that influenza constitutes a public health emergency, then the citizens of those localities will be subject to the same policies used to fight Coronavirus every flu season.
So long as the standard public health emergency procedures permit unrestrained control over citizens, the government can confiscate any property, restrain any meeting/form of contact, quell any speech, and ban any item at any time by means of the guidelines set by the government itself.
Taking into account the elected officials and appointed bureaucrats who have (1) visions of how their jurisdictions ought to be and (2) knowledge of the groups and institutions that pose a threat to their visions, the methods employed to protect public health double as a vehicle to further ulterior goals and mitigate factors that get in the way of those goals. One could only imagine what foods an anti trans fat crusader could deem unessential, what speech patterns a special interest leader could consider dangerous, what/how many guns a gun control advocate would need to seize for community safety, and so on.
What is also concerning is the lack of incentives (outside of the proverbial moral compass) the government has to actually help anyone. So long as the government can coerce money from the public through taxes (and imprison those who dare not “contribute”), the government will have the funding needed to carry out their plans, regardless of how much their actions benefit the public or how miserably their attempts fail. This means that no matter what the results of the government’s public health measures are, the outcome in regards to the government is virtually the same. The government risks practically nothing in the face of failure. If an entity has no “skin in the game” then there is little if any incentive to strive for optimal performance.
The ongoing actions taken by governments to fight the Coronavirus are laying the foundation for tyranny. Placing faith in and surrendering rights to an entity that has its own agenda(s), barely any incentive to help others, the ability to coerce vast sums of money, and a military not only jeopardizes freedom, but gives a foothold to usurp every aspect of personal life. While the Coronavirus will doubtlessly end, the precedents established during the Coronavirus could stick around for a while longer and wreak its own form of havoc.