07 Dec 2020 The Evil Trade-Off: Freedom for Security Amid the COVID-19 Crisis
The American people should be alarmed by the growing restrictions created by our government officials in response to the COVID-19 health crisis. In mere months these rules, supposedly implemented for our good, have threatened freedoms for which our forefathers fought and died.
Our nation was founded by patriots who refused to comply with tyranny and the unceasing quest for centralized power. Planted deep into the philosophical nature of who we are is the notion that government is subordinate to the natural rights of individuals and that the government’s sole purpose is to protect these rights from being violated.
Our founding fathers cherished the belief that our rights did not come from humans, but from our Creator or from nature itself. These rights, as our founders believed, are unalienable. That is, they cannot be taken away or infringed upon because they are provided to us from a source greater than human power.
Humans’ common nature includes the vital governing tool of reason. Hence, humans have a right to exercise this reason without being infringed upon as long as it doesn’t violate or hurt another’s ability to do so. They believed the government was the protector of these rights, not the source of controlling reason for us.
The lives taken by COVID-19 have cast a dark tragedy upon our nation that no one can downplay. But like every decision that is made in times of tragedy, we cannot let the solution lead to results worse than the problem itself.
When making tough decisions, our solutions can’t be based purely on the worst possible outcomes. Of course we want to limit the number of COVID-19 cases, but the measure to do so must be weighed with the consequences it will have on other aspects of life.
What are the consequences of lockdown policy and other obnoxious COVID-19 restrictions? We are only told the price of no lockdowns or restrictions: more people will die.
However, more people die when we raise speed limits. More people die when our country goes to war. More people die because we allow alcohol to be legally sold. Yet, we still decide to do these things – Why?
Every decision that is made must have a cost and benefit approach. Raising the speed limit allows our citizens to travel more efficiently. Going to war protects our country from being conquered and our national ideals gain more global influence. Legalizing alcohol provides human enjoyment and a way to relax and socialize with our neighbors. We can’t purely make decisions about whether people will die or not. That is insufficient policymaking.
The real cost of lockdown policy and heavy restrictions is the threat it poses to our liberty. Giving away one’s individual freedoms is much easier than getting those freedoms back. Every time we allow the government to continue to impose more restrictions that tell us how to live our lives, even in the face of tragedy, we are walking down an irreversible path.
In America, tens of thousands of people have been financially and psychologically suffocated by the lockdowns and COVID restrictions. Adults have lost the ability to pay taxes, parents have lost the ability to provide for their children, and business owners have been unable to keep their doors open and maintain a steady cash flow. The effects are strenuous. They have physical, psychological, and financial consequences that are miserable.
So, why are leaders so pro-lockdown and pro-restriction?
One answer that must be taken seriously is that political elitists see this as a perfect opportunity to advance their power and an ability to control the population and their freedoms in the name of security.
This is an extremely important concept to understand.
Political leaders want us to have a crippling fear of this virus. They want every aspect of your lives to revolve around it and for the severity of it to seem greater than what it actually is. When people are in a state of distress, panic or vulnerability, they will give up enormous amounts of autonomy for security. Political leaders and their media sidekicks know this.
If you look at historical examples of the rise of centralized power, in many of the cases leaders were able to obtain extraordinary amounts of influence by convincing their people that they needed a holy protector. They told their people that there was a threat so great that they needed to hand over their freedoms to the government, so the government could protect them.
You don’t have to dig too deeply to find hints of this same strategy playing out among current American leaders.
In May, during an interview with ABC, Senator Bernie Sanders proclaimed, “If there’s any silver-lining in the midst of this terrible, terrible and unprecedented moment in American history in terms of the economy and in terms of the pandemic, it’s that maybe we ought to start rethinking some fundamental tenets about the way our government and society works.”
More alarmingly, in a Zoom call with Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton openly said, “This would be a terrible crisis to waste, as the old saying goes.”
Not to mention, we have witnessed time and time again political leaders disobeying the same restrictions they enact and defend. We have seen this from Governor Gavin Newsom’s dinner party, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s hair appointment, Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s family boating incident, and Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock’s escape for Thanksgiving. Each of these examples makes you question what these leaders really believe about the threat of the COVID-19 situation and the effectiveness and motivations behind the restrictions they impose on the people.
The trend of unnecessary restrictions is continuing to grow right before our eyes. The CDC and other state leaders have recently recommended that for the holiday season families should avoid talking loudly or singing, keeping music volumes low so that loud talking isn’t necessary, and to limit alcoholic consumption. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recently went as far as issuing a new ban on unnecessary “travel by foot.”
Really? … Really?
Americans need to take a step back and recognize how the COVID-19 pandemic threatens not only our health but also our freedom. Without question, the coronavirus poses a health risk to everyone across the globe, but we must not live in constant fear, for a life in fear and in search of safety is no life at all. Life is to be lived, even in times of fear. There is no such thing as perfect safety, and to rely on out-of-touch government officials to provide that safety, at the expense of our freedoms, is a detrimental mistake. As the great Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Davis Soderberg is an Associate for the Free Enterprise Project at the National Center for Public Policy Research.