Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

What Freedoms Are We in Danger of Losing?

            I have written previously about the three faces of the crisis facing America at the present time. The first face belongs to COVID-19, a virus that spread from China sometime during the winter months. When Americans knew that COVID-19 had raged through Europe and had invaded our shores, we took drastic action. 

           This action was greater than any taken to fight a virus in at least 100 years. We let concerns about health and life monopolize our thinking, and we still lost more than 50,000 Americans to this date. We shut down the country, and only “essential” businesses could remain open. We could go to grocery stores to purchase food and order take out from restaurants. Many small businesses were forced to shut down, and millions of Americans lost their jobs.

            These actions brought the second face of the crisis – the sickening economy. Somewhere between 25 percent and 40 percent of the economy was shut down. The oil and gas industries are staggering because the pumps are pumping with no storage space. Other countries, including Saudi Arabia, are threatening to take advantage of our situation. We hope that the economy will come back and be roaring again soon, but we do not know. Problems with the economy will most likely last far longer than Americans were urged to hunker down at home.

            The third face of the crisis could be the worst and most far reaching. Gary C. Lawrence called this face “the threat of increased centralization of power.” He reminded his readers that this is not first crisis that made people willing to give up freedom for security. I believe that it was a crisis that brought Adolph Hitler to power and the beginning of Nazi Germany.

            When people are afraid and/or suffering, they cry for government to do something. In the current situation, Democrats and members of media were pressuring President Donald Trump to order a nation-wide lockdown. Trump resisted their pressure and cited the Constitution for the reason why he could not/should not/would not do it. However, he called them out on their idea by saying that he had power to remove the lock downs. Then they cited the Constitution and federalism.

We know that there are people who were pushing for Big Government to take over. The states, who are responsible to have their own stockpiles of emergency equipment, were demanding that the federal government save them from their lack of preparation. Trump continued to encourage them to solve their own problems but sent some help from the federal government. Liberals of all types continued to demand action from central government. Trump tried to stand back and let the states handle the problems, but the pressure continues.

            Lawrence described this call for a national shutdown and national control “a desire for uniformity.” Since we are all facing this problem, “we need an overarching plan” and a central figure “to take charge.” He wrote, “Under such panic, people become more willing to give up agency for the sake of solving the current problem” and encouraged his readers to read the sentence a second time.

It’s not new. Throughout history, mankind’s challenge has been how to give a leader – whether tribal chief, czar, king, or president – enough power to create an orderly and safe society, but not so much he becomes a tyrant. Especially when short-term pressures … play a role.

Great thinkers have known for centuries that protection of freedom requires the separation of powers, but it wasn’t until God established the U.S. Constitution that it became fully practiced by a nation. Together with the division of powers in a federal-state system, the Constitution works perfectly in a situation where New York and Massachusetts have different needs than Utah and Wyoming…. That’s why a nationwide shutdown is not only unneeded, but counterproductive. Let individual state governors make the decisions – solve the problems at the level closest to the problems.

Today’s virus-driven clamor for centralization is a direct threat to the guiding principle of separation of powers and thus our freedoms. Though their intentions may be admirable, those who seek centralized power facilitate the expansion of government agencies and/or the creation of new ones.

            We all know that the federal government is essential to provide national security and to preserve our freedom. However, there is a great threat to freedom when the political power is concentrated in the hands of an individual or a small group of people.

            With a Republican in the White House, we may come through this crisis without an increase of centralized power. However, the precedent has been set, and a would-be tyrant may attempt to capitalize on it. The American people mostly went into isolation willingly to help flatten the curve. A Democrat President and Congress may try to use this precedent to force Americans to do something similar in the name of climate change.

            It is important that all Americans stand up for freedom and make sure that the want-a-be tyrants do not get the idea that we will go into servitude without a fight. We must stand up for our freedom and liberty and refuse to give up our agency no matter how dire the circumstances.

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