“What happens if a million people decide to gather at one time? They can’t arrest everyone.” The real crisis in a nutshell from the mouth of a my sixteen year old son. Multiple friends, news articles, and slowly some pulpits began echoing the sentiment in the days that followed. It’s becoming increasingly clear as various government agencies impose increasingly senseless restrictions that something is going to give in the coronavirus crisis. It might be the constitutional system of self-governing federalism. Conversely, it might be the indifferent attitude that let the bureaucrats, politicians, and media usurp so much power and undermine that system in the name of “tolerance”, “equality”, or the latest, “safety”.
Corona Crisis Chicanery
The power brokers played on the good conscience of the American people. First there was the cry for social distancing and general precautions like hand washing. We could get with that reasonable, rational request. Then they counted on the psychological association of the word pandemic with panic. They do after all, both start with pan. They used the massive interconnectedness of people via social media to launch campaigns that were supposedly to help support and encourage people to be conscientious. Instead, within a week, reasonable precautions and social distance became a cause du jour. Folks shamed anyone who dared to set foot outside their home for “not doing their part.”
The President got on the news and announced “15 Days to Slow the Spread.”That grew to 30 days. The shaming grew more aggressive. The demand across the nation was for the government to do more to force people to stay in their homes. Not just advise, but to arrest and fine for “non-essential” activity outside the four walls of their home. The press, and that is being generous, demanded a nationwide lock down. Much of the mainstream media took up the drumbeat. They criticized the President when he rightly refused such a measure. This too, of course, spread across social media as a demand for government to do more to force people to stay at home. The people cried for a national shelter in place order. With high emotion they clamored for an measure typically reserved for biological or chemical exposure or active shooters. They howled to seal off residents in the interior of their homes, indefinitely.
The charged language and out of context death numbers laid the foundation for a nation in a state of panic. The nation is beginning to turn on itself. Currently anyone who points out that 16 million people have lost their jobs in the last three weeks is accused of caring about money more than lives. Highlighting the imminent permanent loss of small farms and businesses that will decimate the middle class is a heinous thought crime. Questioning the validity of the statistics on the mortality rate of COVID because the data set is miserably incomplete will get you flamed as a virus denier. And for once, a large number of democrats and republicans agree on something, that their neighbors should be stripped of their rights in the name of … people who might get sick.
Americans from all walks of life suddenly decided that life, liberty, and property were only civil rights if the government hadn’t declared an emergency. We expect that from some like Bernie Sanders or AOC supporters. They have long advocated for more government control and less personal liberty in the name of the greater good. The more surprising result was that so many others bought into this idea that fighting against an imaginary future is worth trading the freedom and livelihood of their children and grandchildren, perhaps permanently. You can be sure that those convincing you to call this a new normal would like to make sure that’s true. The completely devastating result is that so many who call themselves Christ followers were willing to buy into this too. But not all, and that’s what brings us back to the opening question.
Theft is being implemented through forced business shutdowns and the drastic removal of individual liberty in the states where they have actual shelter in place or stay at home orders. Law enforcement has begun cracking down with fines and arrests. In localities across the country people have been ticketed for everything from driving to walking on the beach, none of which violates the guidelines and the one which is actually listed as an “essential” activity. And in a supreme act of government hubris, a pastor in Florida was arrested for holding services in his church with reasonable social distancing precautions.. Another church observed social distancing guidelines by gathering in the parking lot in their cars to fellowship at a distance while listening on their radios. Police arrived and issued $500 tickets to the congregants, many of whom are elderly and don’t have access to the virtual options that have become all the rage. The pastor’s response is the answer to that question my son, and others, pose. “I told them to get some more tickets ready because we will be preaching Sunday morning and Sunday night.”
Reckoning With Reality
The governors, the press, and many well-meaning citizens have forgotten that the Constitution is at bottom a social contract. It’s a mutual agreement between the citizens, individually and collectively, and the government to abide by the terms of the agreement. Should the government choose not to abide by those terms, it is the duty of the people to reject their usurpation. And, even if the governments believe they are abiding by the rules, when it comes right down to it, if the citizens collectively, in large enough numbers, choose not to abide by the terms of the agreement, there aren’t a whole lot of options that don’t lead to blood in the streets.
Most of the time government knows this. They operate slowly to infringe on the rights of the people, lest they spark push back. Now and then, a push back happens anyway and voters shake up the powers that be. We keep the balance and the American Experiment presses onward. However, in times of panic and crisis people who value power above people seek to manipulate. When information overwhelms the system and people don’t know who to believe and already don’t trust their institutions, unscrupulous people seek to use chaos to implement their vision.
In this moment in time, we are seeing governments mandate separating family and friends. We have been instructed to cut ourselves off from our normal structures of school, work, and church. We are admonished by the state and our peers to “Stay safe. End the Spread. Stay home.” In other words, we are being threatened or shamed into isolating ourselves in totality rather than as advised. And we are being encouraged to accept a virtual reality of digital communication as a substitute for real life.
Insufferables Want Suffering
Meanwhile, we are seeing WHO propose coming into people’s homes to remove those who are sick. There are those who are advocating extending this shutdown, including all gatherings for church or other events, for a year and a half. Now, understand that last one. The speaker acknowledges that there are tens of millions of American who have lost jobs or businesses, and are suffering. He still goes on to say that they should continue to suffer, and more should join their ranks. All this to avoid the possibility of deaths rising to hundreds of thousands or even a million. Think on that for a moment. Then, perhaps my favorite for at least being honest, are the ones who would be happy for this to go on, if it means Trump is not reelected.
These suggestions and measures come amid continuously downgraded projections. There are those who will claim that’s because of the distancing. That’s not true. The models have been consistently off. The people who created them admit that. Every statistician, epidemiologist, and numbers wonk will tell you models are only as good as the data. And at this point there isn’t enough data to create sound models. The more data comes in the higher the known infections, the lower the morality rate goes. More, the goal posts have moved. The original goal was slowing the spread. Every one of the folks above is now talking in terms of eliminating the virus before lifting these restrictions.
Numbers will keep coming in. Hospital are empty. They are laying off healthcare workers. The reality isn’t matching the narrative. People are going to start making choices. As the President noted, America isn’t made to be shut down. Our people don’t work that way. We’ll do it for the good of others if we can be convinced it is needed and you ask nicely. But, if you try push us, if you lie to us, if you to use the pain of people for a power play, you break that social contract. The people will rise up one way or another. Now is the time to assess where you will stand in that rising.
For my Christian friends who are operating on the premise I discussed last week about abiding by the authorities God has appointed, I have a thought for you. As you seek wisdom, remember that under God, each of us individually is the authority in this nation. We have delegated the supreme authority to the Constitution of the United States and the constitutions of the States themselves. Those who govern in this nation have no authority given by God or by us to operate outside the boundaries of those governing documents. Seek the Lord for direction on how best to honor that authority. Patriots, keep your powder dry. Start looking for creative ways to break these plans for fundamental transformation without having to use it. All of you, beware those saying, “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help.”