12 Jul Relearning Freedom in the Covid Era
At this writing, the MSM is desperately stoking the fear pandemic, noting the rising numbers of ‘cases’ and even hospitalizations in some southern states; questioning the wisdom of reopening schools in the fall; promoting mandatory masks as the salvation of humanity, and compliance or non-compliance with mask-wearing as the measure of an individual’s selfish or selfless character and ‘Christian’ care for his neighbor; urging the shutdown of football season as the only prudent course; and egging on governors and local officials to reimpose shelter-in-place orders before this really gets out of hand.
For much of the under-40 demographic, there seems to be a stupor of helplessness and placidity that is willing to wait and see what government officials tell them they can and can’t do in order to continue some semblance of life.
And for that portion of the over-60 demographic that can live for awhile off savings, and (1) are germophobic; (2) have been scared out of their minds about the ravages of covid-19; (3) believe US government health officials would never lie to them or have a political agenda driving their medical ‘opinions’; or (4) are some combination of the above, there is an unrelenting willingness to encourage and celebrate the governors and other elected officials who will issue shutdown orders and mandate masks, and to discourage and scold any Americans who do not celebrate shutdown orders and mandatory masks.
What’s needed across the American electorate is a renewed understanding of freedom in America, and in particular a refreshed trust in the strength and resilience of a society built on the unstated but implicit notion of individual freedom and responsibility under God.
No intelligent, objective observer of the 2020 pandemic could reasonably say that ‘science’ has offered consistent advice or efficacious remedies. There have been honestly held expert medical opinions advocating for and against shutdowns, for and against social distancing, for and against masks, for and against ventilators, for and against hydroxychloroquine and most recently, for and against steroid-based treatments.
(And for those who believe US government health officials would never lie to them or have a political agenda driving their medical opinions—the evidence is in and the case is closed: yes, they do lie and yes they clearly have a pro-vaccine political agenda that overtly quashes or gratuitously disparages anything that gets in its way, science and helping people get well with other remedies be damned).
Against a backdrop of faltering trust in ‘science’, there has also been an even more exaggerated reliance on the default position of a lazy and shallow MSM to make all dimensions of the pandemic and response to be a matter of assigning blame to politics and personalities, including of course, TRUMP!
Through it all, the brightest, quintessential American star of the covid era is South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem. Not because she is uniquely educated or intelligent (though she may be); not because she is a woman; and not because she identifies as a Republican—but because she has the instincts of an American patriot in addressing this challenge.
Noem has remained faithful to a starting point in addressing all matters of government in America: the American people have inalienable rights to live in freedom. Government is limited; it functions under a charter of limited powers exercised and legitimized only if reasonably within the consent of the governed. Noem has not ignored science, but she has fairly noted that science is sometimes ‘mixed’ when it comes to how best to respond to a ‘novel’ coronavirus.
Noem has acted as an American governor should. She has gathered relevant pandemic-related information, used government and private sector experts to help evaluate it, and shared this with the citizens of South Dakota. She has the common sense to know South Dakotans are not eager to get sick or see others get sick; and she has trusted in the goodness and decency of South Dakotans to take care of themselves and their neighbors in light of the health recommendations of those qualified to make them. And the result has been a state that has emerged confidently and well through all phases of the pandemic. Not that there have been no cases or no hospitalizations or no deaths from covid-19 in South Dakota, but that the core fabric of a free society and functioning economy has been maintained for all.
For all the fear-mongering of the MSM, including last week’s breathless announcement of more than 3 million cases in the US (!!!), it’s rarely pointed out that 3 million is not even 1% of the American population (!!!) Which is to say, the overwhelming majority of Americans—as in 99+%–are not sick with covid. This is NOT the plague.
In Texas, where the MSM is currently swarming, the reported number of covid deaths for all of 2020 is under 3,100—in a state of nearly 30 million people. For the math-challenged, that’s not 1% of the Texas population; that’s 1% of 1% of the Texas population. Yet Texans remain tentative and partially locked down by a Governor who thinks he has the job and the authority to play Chief Nanny, Chief Doctor and Chief of Police to his subjects. Texans, of all people, are being treated as if they must wait around to see what some guy named Greg decides is ok for them to do with their lives and businesses.
Americans (and Texans) with a reinvigorated sense of freedom will not stand for this. And they shouldn’t. Governors like Abbott, Ducey, Newsom, Pritzker, Walz, Whitmer, etc. need to learn from Governor Noem, and get back into the American fold.
If there is to be a silver lining from the covid episode, let it be a reawakened sense of the power and privilege of living in freedom. Americans can and will figure out how to deal with and overcome a coronavirus without government orders.
Eric Georgatos blogs at America Can We Talk?