Remember all those times Americans were told we needed to give up our liberties so that our government could keep us safe? Look around, it didn’t work.
One by one, they picked them off, each time assuring us the tradeoff would be worth it. The right to privacy? It simply couldn’t work in the era of technology. If we wanted to catch terrorists we had to make some concessions, and really, so long as you weren’t doing anything wrong in the first place, you had nothing to worry about.
The right to bear arms? It was laughable. You honestly think you would be able to fight off the U.S. government with your little AR15? You wouldn’t stand a chance, and you only risk the lives of children by owning it. Give it up already.
State’s rights? How has that worked out for the country in the past? We needed a strong central government to ensure everyone was treated fairly and to fend off outside threats.
Through their snark, their fear-mongering, and their hyper-tendency to label any opposition to their goals of government expansion as immoral, the powers that be slowly convinced a majority of Americans to follow them off a cliff.
Now, as millions of us sit quarantined inside of our own homes — some voluntarily and others by force — we’re being held prisoner by an avalanche of government failure to, in any way, keep us safe. All those liberties we gave up along the way? The tradeoff didn’t enable government to protect us, it enabled them to enslave us — as anyone who has studied history could have predicted all along.
In the course of a month, the rights to assemble, to move freely, to worship, even to make a living, have all been wiped out with the stroke of a pen. Governments are using our cellphone data to track us and ensure we’re following social-distancing guidelines. Health departments keep tabs on those who cross state borders and coerce health information from them. Pastors are arrested for holding church services. People are fined for gathering too closely. The few businesses allowed to remain open are dictated what products they may sell and what hours they may operate. Whole factories are being threatened with takeovers by the president.
Along with the immediate infringements we are experiencing, our government is also laying the groundwork for future power grabs.
While congress struggles to pass any meaningful reform during times of peace, they quickly came together in a bipartisan show of corruption, to pass the largest stimulus bill in our history as a response to the disaster they created in the first place. Contained in that $6 trillion behemoth were the usual crony suspects — bailouts for big business and pork for special interests, along with the inevitable pet projects of respective parties. Democrats slid in some language about the wall, Republicans about sexual abstinence. In the end, only about $420 billion will go to individual Americans, while we will all bear the brunt of the debt.
Never are people more willing to give up their rights than when they are afraid, and leaders know that. Once again, we’re seeing that reality play out as only a select few are calling foul on these actions by our government or bothering to ask the obvious question: Why should we believe that continuing to give up our rights will make us safe when it has failed to work in the past?
If the government were capable of protecting us, surely in the face of a threat like COVID-19 we would have seen those actions transpire.
If central planning worked, how is that we cannot obtain enough ventilators, or even paper masks for our healthcare workers? If all their spying meant that we could pre-empt threats, why weren’t we able to take actions months ago that would have prevented the spread of the disease and maintained an open economy?
Instead, in spite all of their spying, and meddling in our healthcare system, and regulations on our products, our movements, and our workforce, here we sit in our homes as we’re told to expect (at best) 100,000 to 200,000 deaths over the coming weeks and an economic downturn that could rival the Great Depression.
Everything we gave up was supposed to ensure we were never faced with outcomes like this.
Worse still than the government’s inability to prevent this catastrophe is the ample evidence that its interventions have compounded the problem. Anti-capitalist laws like Certificate of Need laws ensured our hospitals did not have enough beds for the coming wave of patients. The CDC and the FDA have consistently stymied the development of desperately needed COVID19 tests. Bureaucracy has limited the production of ventilators in many states for decades.
Laid bare in the wake of this pandemic is the truth, none of their regulations or encroachments on individual liberty were ever about safety, they were always about power and protectionism. Our founders knew what Americans have largely forgotten and need to remember — the government cannot protect you. It can only guard your rights or trample them. If we keep allowing the latter, we’ll end up with neither security nor freedom.