By Mike Cronin
In this time of uncertainty, the great concern is that COVID-19 cases will overwhelm our hospitals with more patients than the system can handle. Therefore, we are admonished, or even compelled by executive order, to stay home, close our businesses, keep our distance, wear masks, and so forth. This is supposed to “flatten the curve.” In other words, we are to forfeit our rights in order in order to slow down the spread of the virus, so that the hospital system can keep up, and thereby save lives.
Indeed, if “life” consists solely of beating hearts, breathing lungs, and the continuation of other biological processes, such measures may indeed be effective in keeping the body count down in the hospitals.
But human life is more than mere biological functioning. Shutting down the country may keep the COVID body count down, but the nation is no better-off because of it. In fact, the closure of the economy is causing, and will continue to cause, untold destruction to lives, livelihoods, and indeed, the American way of life.
Consider: our Founders encoded the concept of individual rights into our national DNA when they wrote the Declaration of Independence. They said that we are endowed with the rights to “…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and that the purpose of government is to “secure these rights.”
How can the government secure our rights by violating them? I submit that it cannot. The old saying goes that the “road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Well, the lockdown may have been well-intended, but it is quickly becoming apparent that the final destination will be hell to live with. Stupidities and absurdities have already emerged before we’ve even reached the first mile-marker:
- The police department that sent its unmasked officers to affront common sense and violate social distancing rules to arrest an isolated surfer (even as people were advised to seek exercise and get fresh air during their isolation) because the beach was closed.
- The politicians who stand shoulder-to-shoulder during COVID-19 press conferences.
- The tone-deaf celebrities and politicians who, surrounded by more luxuries immediately to hand than most Americans will experience in their entire lives, offer well-meaning “public service announcements” about enriching ourselves while staying at home – in many cases without any means to pay for the mortgage or rent.
- Mal-designation of some businesses as essential and others as non-essential – by politicians who don’t have any idea how an economy works. (e.g. The designation of veterinarians in Georgia as non-essential – as if pets’ lives aren’t essential to the morale of their owners, and as if vets are only for pets. What about working animals? Livestock? Might not food and dairy ANIMALS need veterinary care? Should we now add Mad Cow disease to this mess?)
- The COVID-19 relief bill that provides 15% more aid to hospitals per COVID-19-related death, thus incentivizing medical systems to declare every death to be COVID-19-related.
- The politician who threatened to extend the lockdown to punish everyone if some individuals violate it.
- The nosy Nelly who threatened to call the police to inform them her neighbor is violating the lockdown – when the neighbor was going to work at her job as a 911 dispatcher.
- The nurse with mask-marks on her face charging lockdown protesters with being selfish because they might infect someone, thereby causing even more strain to the medical system.
That last point may not sound all that absurd to you, but consider what it means: For ~240 years or so, Americans have held their military in high esteem because some of its members (many of whom were drafted) have been maimed or killed defending our rights and freedoms.
There is a grass-roots campaign by medical providers to urge people to stay home. Urging others to stay home is rational and violates no one’s rights. But it’s not enough for some; a few want to destroy those very same rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness by using the coercive power of government to compel people to stay home – because some doctors and nurses are getting marks on their faces from wearing masks all day.
Anyone who has ever worn a gas mask for an hour or two has had similar marks. Manual laborers and tradesmen get blisters, cuts, zaps, pokes, gouges, blunt trauma, chopped, and mangled. Ranchers walk in animal dung all day. Athletes get sprains, breaks, and concussions. I mean no disrespect to the medics enduring this battle; in fact, I salute you. But it is a battle. A few lesions go with the territory; earning them is no justification to curtail individual rights!