I was completely startled at how rapidly everything escalated over just one week. One minute I was watching a Red Sox preseason game where they were talking about the possibility of the halting preseason games, then, with in a few days governments at all levels were shutting down just about all normal activity. Everything that happened was so unprecedented here in the United States.
I’m worried that since it has happened once it will now happen over and over again. Am I being paranoid about that? I don’t think so. Over the past decade I’ve studied history in great detail, with a particular emphasis on different forms of government. The one theme that has repeated itself most often is that once a government body has tasted power it will soon become addicted to it and will wield it as often as it can.
Were all of the orders to shelter in place and shutter businesses necessary? I don’t know. The only way to prove that it wasn’t is if governments did nothing, I believe the price for that may have been a very steep price, just look at conditions in Italy.
We the people must take careful steps to make sure that this type of government forced social disruptions happens only when absolutely needed, only under the most dire of circumstances. The way we do this is different for each level of government.
The way to prevent the federal government from abusing emergency powers and closing society down is simply to read the Constitution, understand the Constitution, and make sure the federal government follows the Constitution. Nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government granted the power to restrict what individuals and businesses can do under any circumstances, even during an emergency. That power is not granted to the federal government anywhere in the Constitution therefore it is left up to the state and local government levels. If you don’t agree check out this Tenth Amendment Center article.
I believe some state governments, especially the governors, have gone too far with their Coronavirus measures. Now that they have done it once I believe some governors will do it for much less of a crisis or a made up crisis such as climate change. The residents of all of the states need to order their state governments to reign in emergency declaration powers through legislation. Most governors can declare emergencies on their without the approval of the state legislatures. I believe that if an emergency will last more than 48 hours the state legislatures should approve all plans and measures. What constitutes an actual emergency must also be defined by legislation. Clear guidelines must be included in the legislation to protect the tights of individuals while protecting the health of everyone.
Local governments should be the freest when it comes to declaring emergencies and should have the least restrictions because most emergencies are local.
We the people must remain vigilant and make sure that the federal government and state governments do not make emergencies such as the one we’re dealing with now common place. I fear that they will.