Saturday, April 11, 2020

The True Crisis Of Our Times

     Normally, I’d spend my Holy Saturday morning in some way other than writing an essay on a sociopolitical topic. The hour we face – dare I say it – is not normal.

     A few days ago, I wrote an article on the psychological dynamic relevant to being bombarded with exhortations to fear. It felt a bit odd to have to say something that seems so “obvious.” Just about all adults have some experience with doom-shouters. The story of Chicken Little is a classic not for its deathless stylistic elegance but because of the lesson it teaches about what a formless fear can do to us. The story of the Boy who Cried Wolf shows us the reverse of the coin.

     But there’s this to consider: I was vilified for writing it. The email was copious. The denunciations were maximally venomous. Some of them verged on criminal.

     Ask yourself why.

     America is tottering at the brink of a unique form of totalitarianism. Governors, mayors, and county executives from coast to coast have usurped powers never granted to lock us into our own homes. It’s being called a “quarantine,” but quarantines are supposed to confine the dangerously, infectiously ill. Who ever heard of a quarantine that imprisons the healthy?

     There have been numerous cases of peaceable, law-abiding Americans being detained and fined for daring to leave their homes. Some have actually been dragged off in handcuffs. Daniel Horowitz presents some egregious cases at Conservative Review. The Silicon Graybeard lists a few others. At Ace of Spades HQ, Weird Dave lists a few more. And if your appetite is not yet sated, Matt Walsh has a few more still.

     Do not imagine that these are outliers far distant from the norm. They are the norm. The “forces of order” have decided that Americans have no right to leave their homes or assemble. Constitution? Bill of Rights? Meaningless words. Applicable only when everything is copacetic. This is an emergency!!

     Matt Walsh cites the attitude of officialdom:

     All of this may seem quite oppressive and gestapo-ish, but a police chief in Colorado put those worries aside by explaining that the act of leaving your house and going outside is not a right but a “privilege” that can be revoked if it is “misused.”

     Not many are brazen enough to say it openly. The one above will do for the rest.

     A great part of the attention has centered on the damage being done to the American economy. That’s an important effect, to be sure. Yet the bustling, incomparably vibrant American economy is not a primary but a resultant: the most visible consequence of Americans’ rights – once acknowledged to be from God rather than by permission of the “authorities” — to do as we damned well please. The abridgement of those rights is why our economy has stalled and is in danger of permanent collapse.

     Let’s have a bit more from Matt Walsh:

     Apologists for our newly established police state will tell me that states and localities have the authority to impose restrictions in an emergency. That is true, but the question of how far their authority actually goes is complicated, and in this case made even more complicated by the fact that these stay-at-home orders, in many cases, are based not on a current medical emergency in the respective state, but on models that forecast the possibility of an emergency in the future. For example, Minnesota is under a stay-at-home order despite having only 29 coronavirus deaths among a population of over 5 million. Perhaps the situation will get worse. Perhaps not. The point is that there is no current emergency in Minnesota or many of the other states currently under lockdown. There is, rather, a model that projects an emergency. And if projected emergencies can justify the effective nullification of the Bill of Rights, where is the limit? Haven’t we now granted the government the power to seize near-total control on the basis of any real or phantom threat?

     I added the emphasis. It’s clear that Walsh appreciates the power of precedent. Not many do.

     It’s not “just” that we’re being impoverished. It’s that the authority usurped for this “emergency” will be used again and again – broadly speaking, whenever the political class finds it expedient to separate and silence us. If the elite can create conditions that disarm, impoverish, atomize, or otherwise weaken us under a pretext of “emergency,” have no doubt that it will do so. They are at war with us, and have been for some time: arguably since the presidency of Woodrow Wilson.

     Remember that you read it here first.

     Back to the subject of the first segment: Why did so many persons write to condemn me for the “Fear Exhaustion” essay? Have you pondered it?

     My thesis is that I was edging close to pulling the curtain away from the wizard, revealing both the mechanism being used to induce compliance and the true agenda of those who work in it. The Mainstream Media are the premier purveyors of fear in our time. The more fear they can induce in common American citizens, the better they like it. It brings in readers and viewers. It sells airtime and column-inches. And it helps to cement their partnership with the Democrat Party, which regards our fear of one another as its best sociopolitical asset.

     A fearful populace is an easily subjugated populace. Any voice that opposes the message of “emergency,” of “crisis,” of imminent threats the citizen cannot counter from his personal or community resources is one that must be shouted down – silenced if possible. Though mine is a minor voice, from the evidence it’s heeded sufficiently to receive that sort of attention.

     It’s unnecessary to bludgeon this further. The time to resist with all necessary force is now. Americans must return to their normal lives by their own decision, without waiting for the “authorities” to give them some sort of notional “all clear.”

     Will it happen? Only if we are really determined to maintain our rights – to remain free.

     We shall see.


Linda Fox said...

It's a hard call. I'd be generally in favor of most people taking over the decision whether or not to stay in place. The economic consequences of not making a good decision are mostly borne by the individuals.

Except for the Infantilized and Empowered. Those whose poor decisions are indemnified, excused, and ignored by the state. Those who do dumb-ass things, then blame the po-po, White Supremacists, Racists, H8rs, and all the usual suspects for what goes wrong. Those who cannot be punished financially (as they have no assets worth claiming), whose incarceration would be not handicap (and might just return them to an environment in which they have no responsibilities, but merely have to breathe to be taken care of completely), and who would suffer no shame (as they cannot conceive of a situation in which their actions are their own damn fault.

Take those people out of the equation, and, yeah, that would work. Unfortunately, we've reached the point where our society is run for the benefit of the feckless and irresponsible, to be paid for by the moral and responsible. Heinlein's TANSTAAFL Moon society rules are looking better and better.

Andy Texan said...

I continue to work, drive, shop and any other normal activity all the while the authorities (and a very compliant public) have shut down 80% of retail business and the roads have 80% fewer vehicles. Am still prudent where necessary. Wishing you Easter peace.

Paul Bonneau said...

I saw only two comments from that article, one of them mine. Have you published your email address somewhere? Just wondering how the vitriol came in.

Francis W. Porretto said...