“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”Benjamin Franklin
I’m writing this article from one of the first U.S. cities to order public lockdowns, San Francisco. This local government isn’t really known for doing anything right, but even fools get things right on occasion. Luckily, we have bright people running local tech businesses who thought it best to play it safe and ordered their workers to work from home. The city of San Francisco then followed suit.
Now, we find ourselves in a city whose makeup will be changed after this event winds down. The major concern that I have relates to the unintended consequences of shutting down economies out of an abundance of safety all while I have internal conflicts with these mandates for the sake of liberty.
Personally, I don’t think the government has the constitutional authority to force businesses to shut down over something like this unknown and novel event. There are governments across this nation depriving business owners and private citizens the right of pursuit of happiness(free enterprise), the First Amendment by punishing citizens for worshiping their religion, violating the Second Amendment by discriminating against gun shops from operating during a time of crisis when protection is vital, violating the Fifth Amendment by depriving those of liberty with house arrest and property without due process without market rate compensation, the Eighth Amendment by issuing excessive fines for not wearing masks or sitting in a parking lot outside of a church, and scores of other violations of liberty. And for what? Safety? Is it safe to release criminals from jails but then threaten to arrest people going to parks or beaches and take them to jail for getting fresh air?
None of this makes rational sense.
The reality is that people are justifiably scared. There is an unseeable threat lingering among the population and making people ill, but that doesn’t justify creating other threats by overreacting with heavy-handed government mandates or regulations.
Entire industries have been shut down arbitrarily through edicts. Even Elon Musk isn’t immune from this. The local county officials have resisted efforts to allow him to reöpen the only U.S.-based Tesla assembly plant in Fremont, California. There are around 10,000 people who work at that factory who are not able to go to work and it’s putting an entire manufacturing company at risk.
People need to work and the notion that we can have on-going lockdowns is simply untenable. The lockdowns may have been well-intended, but they ultimately will cause more harm than good in the long term. We have gone along with them in the early days because it was reasonable to try and avoid overrunning our healthcare system and causing a breakdown in services. Through this preventative measure, we have slowed the rate of infections to a controllable rate where we aren’t facing hospitals going over their capacity.
However, we have continued to see the voices of little tyrants calling for more government restrictions and asking for the bankrupting of Americans on a whim. Take for example, California Governor Gavin Newsom. The rates of infection have been lower here than what were expected, yet he’s upset with the fact that people are going out to parks and beaches after two months of lockdowns. Who is he to put citizens on house arrest without committing a crime? No one. He still insisted on singling-out Orange County and Newport Beach for individuals going out and behaving responsibly, for the most part, by keeping their distance from others even though they were at the beach, away from their hamster cage at home.
Fortunately, patriots in Orange County resisted the shutdown and staged a protest in Orange County along the beach and Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes publicly stated that he wouldn’t use his deputies to enforce Governor Newsom’s threat because he hasn’t seen those patrons as presenting a threat and that he takes his sworn responsibility of ensuring the liberties of his fellow citizens seriously. This public statement was heartening to see in a time where we are seeing many being forced to stay at home under defacto house arrest.
It’s time that we hold our mayors and governors accountable. These local entities have a much greater impact on our daily lives than larger government entities, but they are all still required to follow the U.S. Constitution. If they are insisting on lockdowns then what’s needed are metrics to base the decisions on. With metrics, a baseline is established for what has been documented and goals can be set for future rollback.
Government can’t force citizens into bankruptcy by depriving them the liberty to earn income or operate their businesses, especially upon purely arbitrary reasoning or gut feelings. That’s now how liberty works. We need to start releasing workers back to their jobs while wearing masks. Business owners and employees can make these choices for themselves and don’t need government to dictate to them how to behave. The majority of this social distancing is voluntary behavior. So, stop forcing closures which threaten people with increased financial and health risks.
I suppose a silver lining in all of this is that maybe our citizenry will reëxamine the civil liberties that they’re entitled to and defend them more actively. We aren’t serfs to tyrants. We are pervicacious Americans and this aggression won’t stand.