Fool Me Twice

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“Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me!”  This axiom rings true today as the permanent bureaucracy and those who give them heed seem to be once again preparing to stampede Americans with fear in order to wield ever more power over us. 

Rumors spread that, once again, Americans are beset by a variant of the plague spawned in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.  Calls to return to a regime of restricted freedom have begun.  Masks, lockdowns, censorship, and emergency measures are being dusted off and readied.

HELL NO!  This new totalitarianism in the name of disease control must not be permitted to gain sway.  

We actually allowed men like Anthony Fauci, Andrew Cuomo, and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to determine what freedoms we would be allowed to retain during the global pandemic crisis.  We replaced representative government with the dictates of the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, and even our local Panhandle Health District.

This suspension of liberty during a protracted crisis is straight out of Weimar Germany.  Emergency decrees and executive diktats are precisely the means used in 1933 Germany to empower, “One People, One Nation, One Leader!”

This is not the American Way!  Our Federal Republic persevered through crises from 1776 through 2020 without fundamentally sacrificing liberty.  Freedom in America endured an international plague far worse than COVID-19 in the Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1919.  

Freedom was maintained through a Civil War, two World Wars, a forty-five year Cold War, and Depressions both great and small.  Before 2020, even in moments of utter terror, we did not betray ourselves or our Constitution.  

Then, because of the quiet fear that COVID-19 was a germ warfare experiment gone wrong, humanity panicked both within and beyond the United States.

From Beijing, China to Boise, Idaho, the command went out for people to stop living their lives in order to, “slow the spread”.  Most of the world complied.

Yet, COVID was not fought like any disease before.  This new Coronavirus was fought like a political disease, with psychological gambits, emotional propaganda, and overt censorship.  

Face masks were mandated which had no capacity to stop such a small virus.  Arbitrary distinctions were established determining which activities were “essential”.  Non “essential” businesses were shut down.  

Liquor Stores were “essential”.  So, surprisingly, were myriad activities conducted by the politically well-connected.  

A “rules for thee but not for me” mentality proliferated, seeing lockdown violations like Gavin Newsome enjoying fine dining in a restaurant with friends and donors, Nancy Pelosi getting her hair done, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez vacationing with her boyfriend in Florida.   

Unorthodox and experimental treatments were at once demonized and mandated.  Ivermectin was damned as filthy “horse de-wormer”.

Untried “vaccines” were forced on unwilling citizens.  This was worst of all.  Institutions from academe to government required proof of vaccination as a prerequisite to engage in basic human activity.  The ethos that forbids forcing people of sound mind to take medication against their will was summarily overridden.  “My body, my choice!” Abortion advocates often reversed their position where COVID vaccines were concerned.   

Science was politicized.  The same tired model employed by environmental extremists to combat “man-made climate change” were utilized with COVID, marginalizing and suppressing all dissent from their orthodoxy within the “respectable” scientific community.  

Even notions that the virus originated in a Germ Warfare Lab that was proven to have conducted bizarre and immoral “gain-of-function research” was deemed “problematical” by government, media, and academia.

The public was manipulated.  Compliance was touted as the best way to ensure the safety of others.  Suddenly, one’s personal choices became somebody else’s business.

This set up the paradigm that panicky people could inform on or punish other individuals for non-compliance.  Tattle tales of all ages acted as spies against their neighbors, exerting power and reveling in sanctimony.  

“Good people” cared enough about their neighbor’s health that they wore masks, stayed home, took vaccines, and never questioned the official narrative.  “Bad people” stubbornly and selfishly put their own personal scruples and reservations above the needs for public safety and the common good.

“The Science” was touted as the new universal mandatory dogma.  Latter-day white-coated Witch Doctors gulled whole populations with superstitious mumbo-jumbo as their predecessors once did by casting chicken bones.  The healthy skepticism rooted in a disinterested and objectively valid experimental methodology that has always been essential to genuine science was replaced by doctrinaire orthodoxies and Holy Inquisitions.  

Health Officials became emboldened.  An intimate power over the population was grasped by many leaders with relish.  Extraordinary powers were maintained for as long as possible.  It seemed that in the United States and around the world, a scenario for establishing totalitarianism was being wargamed.  

None of this is a part of the American tradition.  We do not rely on our government to protect us from ourselves and to rule us for our own good.  The Republic is to serve us, not the other way around.  

As Ronald Reagan once said, “A government powerful enough to give you everything you want is a government powerful enough to take everything you have.”  We cannot rely on government to keep us safe from a disease.  

Looking at comparative COVID transmission rates between American states and institutions who suppressed freedom and those who defended freedom, there is little difference.  Florida, which remained recognizably American, was not significantly worse off than California and New York which corralled their citizens and treated them like children.  

Locally, students, teachers, and families in the Lakeland School District did not suffer more than other districts in the area because they refused to engage in restrictive COVID mandates.  Authoritarian government did not, in fact, help anyone.

All that will result from government intervention are programs like Red China’s disastrous “Zero COVID Policy”.  This had people welded into their homes, sometimes starving to death or being burned alive because they could not escape.  Last December, China came closer to an anti-Communist revolution than at any time in its post-1949 history, because this program was so universally detested.  Even a Dictator as powerful as China’s Xi Jinping was forced to back off.

The U. S. Constitution and all state Constitutions may allow for certain emergencies to briefly trigger Martial Law.  Such laws were never intended to become an ongoing and permanent way of life.

Yet today, the emergency powers of the Federal Emergency Management Agency are chilling.  Developed in the event of a Global Thermonuclear War, FEMA was apparently given dictatorial powers in the event of an Apocalypse.  As all bureaucracies do, this desperate and horrific mission has been expanded to include a much wider set of emergencies.  

In this moment when Federal power is being weaponized by the Democratic Party for political advantage, this must change.  We must not have any disease emergency declared that could once again disrupt the normal electoral processes as it did in 2020.  

Finally, for those who reached maturity in our spoiled, late-20th Century Golden Age and have never had to deal with the normal characteristics of the human condition:  Epidemic disease is normal.  

Polio swept through America every decade or three.  Smallpox, cholera, dysentery, fatal influenzas and even simple infections are but a few of the cornucopia of misery that have always beset human beings.  

Yet, thanks to the happy confluence of penicillin, Salk’s Polio vaccine, and countless other Wonder Drugs, we in the West have been spared the implacable scythe of the Reaper regularly cutting through every community, regardless of social class or personal identity.

Death by disease is normal.  To pretend otherwise is delusional.  No government’s power can prevent us from being crippled and killed by nature.  Tyranny cannot save us from the realities of human life.  

Never again must we permit ourselves to be corralled and branded like cattle.  Never again must we give credence to those who argue that our safety lies in their control.  Never again must we trade our freedoms for the illusion of security. 

If our leaders ever again try to exploit a crisis like COVID for political gain, we must engage in a campaign of total and absolute Civil Disobedience.  We must follow the examples set by Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas Gandhi, and Martin Luther King.  Peacefully, but firmly, we must refuse to comply!