The COVID 19 crisis has revealed many truths that should have been realized long ago. In no particular order, it has revealed that the people of the various States have become so conditioned to instant gratification and direction from the state that they cannot, out of their own volition, take the proper steps to mitigate exposure to a virus which has no cure or vaccine. That seems like two diametrically opposed positions, but consider the Spring Break twits who knowingly threw caution to the wind in pursuit of hedonistic moments being followed by authorities in Miami deciding that they have to exercise authoritarian power to put a stop to such risky behavior. To avoid this, all that was needed was some rational thinking on the part of the brats, but instead, there had to be a typical government response: zero tolerance.
The other aspect revealed by this situation is that any desire to hold on to the bare threads of the governing system that existed before have been extinguished in favor of “government action.” In short, any libertarian sentiments that existed in the body politic prior to COVID 19–and believe me, there was not much of it–have been robustly laid in its grave. Consider that the one national political party that even entertained such notions, the Republican Party, has delivered to the President’s desk a $2 trillion “emergency” package aimed at doling out tax revenue from the U.S. Treasury to the people. Keep in mind that it was just a decade ago–almost exactly–that a movement emerged bemoaning large bailouts that spurred the GOP back into power. Now that same GOP is applauding a package that makes the one from a decade ago look like pocket change. And there was not even a debate about what this will mean for the rule of law, the power of the general government, or the prelude to future exertions of extra-constitutional powers by the general government. No, the biggest fuss was that the Democrats in the House sought to put other spending measures in the bill that had zero, ziltch, nada, to do with COVID 19.
In this current crisis, the people find themselves having to be told to basically stay away from public places as much as possible and even being threatened with detention by the state if they should dare take individual steps they think necessary for their immediate needs. The Department of Justice (DoJ)–you know that organization just a few months ago may Trump supporters were wanting to burn to its foundations for being a tyrannical arm of the Deep State–is seeking to have Congress grant it power to indefinitely detain individuals who would be in the midst of justice grinding away yet the courts in which they would be turned to grist are closed due to “any natural disaster, civil disobedience, or other emergency situation.” But that was only the beginning. Now the DoJ is seeking to detain people who “purposefully” spread COVID 19. “Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen [stated], ‘Because Coronavirus appears to meet the statutory definition of a ‘biological agent’… such acts potentially could implicate the Nation’s terrorism-related statutes.'” That is correct sports fans, if the DoJ suspects that you are “deliberately” trying to spread COVID 19–how that is defined we will have to stay tuned–you could be brought up on charges of terrorism! Oh, but do not fret my pet, I am just being a paranoid libertarian. Surely our masterful overlords would never abuse such a power if granted. Just like they would never abuse things like the FISA Court, domestic surveillance, or the rights of people who deposit $10K in their bank accounts.
For those of you who cheer the death of Libertarian sentiments in the good ol’ US of A, let me just explain to you why we are an important piece to the political world–because of the examples just listed above! If you did not have us around to point these types of things out in the first manifestation, then you would be completely taken by surprise when you notice that these things are being used well outside their sell by date. After COVID 19 passes–and it will pass–how many of you seriously believe that the DoJ is going to say, “Okay, crisis is over. All this power we were handed can be given back”? I know there are some of you out there who are thinking that very thought, so that is more of a rhetorical question. The fact of the matter is that those of us who still think that liberty for the individual is the second greatest gift from God are what allows those of you who are conditioned to think “It can never happen here” to be informed when you realize that it did happen here.
It was recently posited that leaders have tough decisions to make in this current situation, and believe me when I say that those are decisions that I am glad I do not have to make. But that piece also mentioned the pain that goes along with those decisions. It is the Republic’s old debate: security or liberty. I am not saying that one cannot have a balance of both, but I would think it foolish to say that we currently have such a balance. The scales are heavily tipped toward security, but given the conditioning of the people as evidenced by some here, I suspect that is what is desired.
Despite the battle having been won by the forces of tyranny, just know that not all of us liberty minded folk have been bayonetted on the field. We may not be able to constitute a force with which to continue the fight, but we still breath. In the meantime, those of you who no longer have any use for Libertarianism–such that you ever had any use for it–can comfort yourselves with this: