Let’s get one thing out of the way from the start. I do not deny that the coronavirus is a truly serious threat. The fact that its death rate for the elderly is so high should be enough for us to unite against it, act responsibly, and take the appropriate precautions willingly. Unfortunately, a combination of people not taking it seriously and government seizing on what they consider a mandate to live out their nanny state fantasies has created a very dangerous scenario.
It’s a Catch-22 for some patriots. On one hand, we see people acting haphazardly and we wish they’d be less selfish. On the other hand, we (should) recognize that government invariably seeks to fill every power vacuum and the huge one surrounding the handling of the coronavirus is the opening many of them have been seeking. Many in government, particularly on the left, look for every opportunity to flex their muscles over the people. It’s a natural side-effect of an ideology driven by the need for people to rely on government to solve their problems.
The last time we saw anything even approach this level of a “save us” attitude was following 9/11. The Patriot Act and wars without appropriate predication followed. Today, most Americans realize both were terrible mistakes. But at the time, the masses demanded to be protected and America hasn’t been the same since. The coronavirus is much worse. No, the death toll is nowhere near what happened on 9/11, but a similar fear of hidden threats is present and government is in the process of taking away our rights for the greater good.
Many, perhaps most, will say it’s only temporary. They’ll say keeping people from going to bars and restaurants is just a short-term precaution that will allow us to get ahead of the virus and obliterate it before it becomes much worse than it already is. If that’s the case, I’ll be very relieved. But I fear that won’t be the case. I fear the creeping authoritarianism we’ve been seeing on every level of government is being rushed forward to deal with a pandemic that has the nation paralyzed. If it succeeds, it will be a case study of how government control works well for the people. If it fails, it will generate a greater desire for government to somehow save the day.
In other words, we’re being taken down a dark path in which reliance on government is the status quo. Do I believe the restrictions against us now will eventually be lifted once the coronavirus is no longer a major threat? Yes. But I also fear the aftereffects of this dark path, one which we won’t be able to walk back completely.
Many Americans are acting irresponsibly about the coronavirus. Some are being silly and taking their response to the coronavirus to the extreme. We all know about the toilet paper lunacy. Others are being silly and not taking this seriously enough. Those who are out partying on Saturday night in crowded bars are being vilified, but more important they’re prompting responses from government that are slicing into our freedoms.
The saddest part is we, as a people, are learning that we can’t trust our fellow Americans to act responsibly so we’re turning to government to mandate appropriate precautions. This will be seen as a good thing by many. It is not. It’s an unfortunate response to stupidity that will allow government to make similar decisions in the future.
What does this mean to those of us who value our freedom? Should we be fighting against these restrictions? No. What’s done is done. What’s going to happen is going to happen. The coronavirus has made paranoia and overreaction popular, so trying to tell the people to defy government over their responses is futile. But when the coronavirus has run its course and life is starting to get back to normal in America, it is incumbent on patriots to reinforce our rights and demand that all measures prompted by the pandemic are reversed. Many in government will try to let things linger. They will try to quietly hide away some of the excess power they’re accumulating during this crisis. It’s just part of their nature.
The nanny state must not be the new normal.
The coronavirus must be taken seriously. Precautions are necessary. But let’s not excuse away the authoritarianism that’s clearly emerging from all of this. Even a partial, temporary embrace of the nanny state normalizes government control over our lives.