Being Scared – Punishing Liberty
Maybe you are not scared of COVID-19 but most people are. People fear each other, because this virus can be spread through the air and from surfaces touched by a person who doesn’t even know he is infected. Although we have been told the death rate is much lower than expected, no one wants to be a part of that statistic.
To keep hospitals from being overwhelmed by the pandemic, politicians have imposed restrictions ranging from social distancing to prohibiting the opening of a business deemed “nonessential,” to closing churches, to turning back out-of-state-travelers, and even arresting a parent for playing catch with his child in an empty park.
Most of the conversation about the restrictions are either rooted in fear of the virus or rooted in disgust at the many crazy restrictions.
Several states are seeing protesters who are upset with arbitrary rules and who want to go back to work to feed their families. But fearful people reply, “Don’t listen to the protesters. If you loosen restrictions you are a murderer.”
We can’t help but think that 99% of the social distancing effort could have been accomplished without arbitrary restrictions by simply asking people to follow the guidelines of the medical experts. But even if that had been effective, it would not have been good enough for those who want politicians to “fix it” no matter how much of a power grab it takes and no matter how much liberty is violated.
On April 15, Tucker Carlson of Fox News interviewed New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) Tucker Carlson asked about restrictions mandated by the New Jersey Governor. Carlson asked, “By what authority did you nullify the Bill of Rights in issuing this order, how do you have the authority?” Governor Murphy responded, “That’s above my pay grade, Tucker. I wasn’t thinking of the Bill of Rights when we did this.” The New Jersey Governor still isn’t thinking about the Bill of Rights.
There have been some lawsuits filed against pandemic orders of various governors, but liberty may lose. The courts have been busy for two hundred and twenty-eight years explaining away our rights and making up exceptions to our rights. It won’t be the words of the Bill of Rights that will be the measuring stick used by judges, it will be the judicial precedent of limiting those words that will be used. And the judges — they are not immune from being guided by the fear of the virus instead of the Constitution.
We want to follow the guidance of the medical experts in trying to slow the pandemic. We don’t want to lose liberty.
“If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.” ― Ronald Reagan