In a matter of 244 years, we have gone from the understanding that “governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed” to “shut up, mask up, and obey your governors.”
Amid the reams of debate written on the data, science, math, and policies undergirding the unprecedented governmental response to coronavirus, there is shockingly very little discussion about the legality of crushing the most foundational rights imaginable. Can executive officials merely tout “COVID” in a sentence at a press conference and rule over our lives in any way they want for as long as they want? This is the discussion that was needed eight months ago, but there’s no time like the present to embark on it.
Imagine if Joe Biden delivered a prime-time speech at a press conference and announced that because of the emergent times in which we live, allowing Trump to remain president was simply not an option and that for our safety he rigged the election to ensure Trump’s defeat. Obviously, we would all be shocked by such a statement and would all move to counter his hypothetical play.
Well, this has actually happened, but with much more severe consequences than even stealing an election. What is worse than election fraud is governing fraud. What’s worse than someone illegally obtaining office is for someone to use that office to crush civil liberties and life itself, even if legitimately elected. Yet, for eight months, governors and mayors have been able to publicly announce a press conference and rule over our lives via press statements or tweets without any pushback.
The normally mild-mannered Justice Alito warned last month at the Federalist Society convention (which, of course, had to be remote) that “we have never before seen restrictions as severe, extensive and prolonged” and that these executive orders have produced “previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty.”
Alito noted, as I did in May, that the smallpox vaccine case of Jacobson v. Massachusetts (1905), which is being used by lower court judges to greenlight coronavirus fascism, affected “a local measure that targeted a problem of limited scope.” On the other hand, “it did not involve sweeping restrictions imposed across the country for an extended emergency.”
He warned of a crisis of executive power-grabs indefinitely. “All sorts of things can be called an emergency or disaster of major proportions,” Alito reminded the audience. “Simply slapping on that label cannot provide the ground for abrogating our most fundamental rights. And whenever fundamental rights are restricted, the Supreme Court and other courts cannot close their eyes.”
In a constitutional republic, elections aren’t even that important. There are limits on what an elected official can do. Thus, the collateral damage from a stolen election, if one believes this election was stolen, is not even that impactful, assuming we are following the rule of law on every other issue. Even when you legitimately win an election, you don’t get to rule over the lives, liberty, property, and even bodily integrity of the mouths and noses of those you defeat. We’ve had this systemic governing fraud all year, and few Republicans or even self-described conservatives have rigorously fought back the way anyone would if someone openly admitted to stealing the election.
It’s important that, just like an abused wife, the American people understand that this is not OK. It’s not OK for a husband to abuse a wife even if he feels he has valid grievances with her or that it’s for her own good. The first step to evacuating someone from that relationship is to make them realize they are indeed being abused.
Likewise, Americans must understand this not part of the contract document we signed with government. Certain things are off-limits. Take a look at this chart from the Workplace Mental Health Institute showing 15 signs of an abusive relationship and ask yourself how many of them don’t apply to our current relationship with government vis-a-vis this virus.
Stops you from seeing friends and won’t let you go out without permission? Check
Tells you what to wear, monitors your communications? Big-time!
Won’t let you work? Like never before!
Controls what you watch, read, say, and won’t allow you to question anything? Censorship galore!
Punishes you for not keeping those rules and tell you it’s for your own good? That’s the whole point!
Calls you names and blames you for everything? That’s the name of the game!
In fact, I can’t think of a single warning sign that doesn’t perfectly describe the relationship of government and its elite allies with the American people. This chart should serve as a gut-punch and a wake-up call to evacuate from this “new normal” before it’s too late.
We’ve all forgotten that aside from habeas corpus during a rebellion, no other fundamental right can be abrogated even during a time of emergency. As it states in Art. 44 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights: “That the provisions of the Constitution of the United States, and of this State, apply, as well in time of war, as in time of peace; and any departure therefrom, or violation thereof, under the plea of necessity, or any other plea, is subversive of good Government, and tends to anarchy and despotism.”
In other words, the following usurpations are null and void:
- Open-ended curfews
- Shutting down or restricting businesses and private schools
- Restricting even small personal gatherings
- Forced quarantine even of people who don’t have the virus or using faulty or no due process to push quarantine
- Treating an uncovered mouth and nose like nudity
- Interstate travel bans
Republicans will have the trifecta of control in 24 state governments this year. In 31 states, they will hold both chambers of the legislature. Where is the effort to push a declaration of rights reaffirming these principles?
Likewise, at the federal level, Republicans are close to passing another “stimulus” to bail out the states from the deleterious effects of their unconstitutional lockdowns. But before throwing more money at them, why not attach a set of conditions to that money to protect civil liberties?
Why not empower the DOJ to better enforce U.S. Code Title 18, Sec 242, which prohibits any elected official from using “law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom” to deprive any person of “any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution”?
Where are the Republican Senate candidates in Georgia? Have you heard them speak truth to power on this issue? Where is the political party that represents the people during the greatest period of authoritarian rule since the settlement of this continent?
Let us never forget the warning of C.S. Lewis: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”