My family and I were about to sit down for lunch on Easter Sunday when I received an extremely disturbing call from a constituent. The caller said, “I wanted you to know that my wife is hanging on to her life and I’m afraid she’s going to die soon.” I could hear total desperation in the man’s voice. “She’s living off a bag of IV fluid a day at this point. The doctor won’t operate on my wife due to the governor’s orders.”
The great Milton Friedman once said that “the government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.” Indeed, the government’s many “solutions” to Covid-19 have proven, without a doubt, far more catastrophic than the virus itself.
As some government officials and unelected bureaucrats plunge the world into a dark depression, it’s imperative for us to remember that it doesn’t have to be this way. The people, through their elected representatives, must take back the power to ensure that the rampant government overreach and economic ruin we have seen in recent months can never happen again.
It doesn’t matter what the government's intentions are. We all know where this road leads. Pandemic or not, there’s no excuse to suspend or ignore the Constitution or to put people on lockdown indefinitely. Unfortunately, however, many have become paralyzed by fear. Fear is control.
America’s founding fathers — as well as award-winning economists like Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, and Murray Rothbard — warned us about the dangers of the kind of government we face today. From unconstitutional shutdowns, “stay-at-home” orders, contact tracing, and mandatory vaccines to never-ending stimulus programs, our freedoms have been under unrelenting attack.
The central planners have taken a bad virus and, through the threat and coercion of the government, have made it exponentially worse. As runaway governors and mayors go into complete dictator mode, over 36 million people have registered for unemployment (including 500,000 in my home state of South Carolina over the last eight weeks). Small businesses have suffered major blows, with some permanently closing.
Government just can’t turn the economy off and back on again. Many of the complex connections throughout the market have been severed. The government's attempts to mitigate the virus have put countless lives in turmoil as depression, suicide, and crime rates skyrocket.
Ultimately, turning off the economy meant turning off people’s ability to get essential goods and services, including (ironically enough) healthcare. It meant turning off people’s ability to be free. This is completely unacceptable and any elected official who has supported the shutdowns should be forced to resign for neglecting common sense and the Constitution.
Thomas Paine once said, “Society in every state is a blessing. Government in its best state is but a necessary evil. At its worst an intolerable one.” Our government's reaction to Covid-19 would, without question, qualify as “intolerable.”
Those eager to expand the power of government have often said, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” US Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) even referred to the coronavirus crisis as an “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision...”
The greatest danger to our freedoms is not a virus, but a mindset — one that puts individual liberty on a backburner to the so-called “good intentions” of government (and we all know where the road of good intentions leads). Many elected officials are saying now that we need even more government — that they didn’t go far enough with bailouts, endless bureaucracy, and intrusions into our everyday lives.
To emerge from this mindset, we the people must make the case for free markets and individual responsibility as both the best and most moral solution. States must take the lead in permanently abolishing licensing laws and eliminating unnecessary regulations that prevent healthcare workers from delivering life-saving care. We must take our children back from the compulsory public education system that indoctrinates them into believing that government is the solution to all of their problems.
We must win people over to the ideas of freedom.
We have an opportunity now to restore liberty by reducing the size of government across the board. We must have the courage to heed the advice of America’s founders and the great economic thinkers who put mind over matter and freedom over government force.
Stewart Jones is a state representative from South Carolina House District 14.