Robin Smith / March 30, 2020

COVID-19 and Big Government

It’s going to depend on citizens to push back against any inkling of permanent increase.

Why do we have laws? Why do we need government edicts and orders? Is there a time when big government is the response needed? These questions have merit during our present crisis. The answer to these questions also underscores the imperative to have leaders who can be trusted in times of peril to expand temporarily but then retract the arm and power of government.

Americans have just witnessed the largest spending bill — passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump — in our nation’s history. We’ve seen waves of executive orders and other guidance coming from the White House. Meanwhile, state capitals are issuing or overriding regulations, urging or prohibiting certain behaviors.

Why is so much on such a large scale required if America is such an enlightened society founded on Liberty?

In times of legitimate crisis, actions that rule and govern the otherwise orderly and mundane are modified to match the needs. Comparisons can be found in an emergency room when a patient’s heart stops and immediate intervention is required. If a person falls overboard from a boat, rapid efforts are initiated to bring the person back to safety.

But these clear responses in times of urgent need are just that — urgent responses. They are not sustainable acts that are performed without some time limit. In the case of a patient needing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the human body can only be sustained artificially for so long. Regarding the search and rescue of an overboard passenger, the efforts are maintained for a reasonable amount of time until a point of futility is reached.

In the case of this global pandemic response to SARS-CoV2/COVID-19, there have been some immediate actions taken to address the course of events that no one individual could have foreseen or altered through behavioral changes on a small scale. But this type of unprecedented response is not sustainable, making the mitigation of this viral pandemic even more important.

Back to the original questions posed. Why do we have laws?

Laws exist to protect individual rights and freedoms. If a society accepts that each person is created equal, then each possesses rights as a matter of existence. In America, the rights conferred by God are honored by many, but not all. Life, as defined by some, is subject to viability and convenience. Sadly, Liberty often depends upon who’s governing at any given time.

Laws exist to establish standards in a civil society. When, as is the case in America, there are fewer traits and virtues that are universally held and protected as standards and truths, more laws are needed. More Americans choose to ascribe to secularism that permits an individual to define truth, right versus wrong, and that which is morally accepted based on personal definitions and circumstances, not any kind of objective standard.

Laws are needed to maintain order within a society that needs order to progress and function while protecting individual rights, freedoms, and standards. Put simply, one’s rights end where another’s begins, a fact that must be protected by law.

And of course, when disputes and crimes occur, restitution and penalties are needed.

Now, back to our current situation. Much of the temporary suspension of our typical law-and-order approach that prioritizes Liberty is needed to deal with a situation that requires an unusually large-scale response to eliminate a contagion. Like a time of war where an enemy can inflict great harm or has that potential, a comprehensive, focused effort is necessary.

The temporary nature of this time of wartime governance is dependent upon two things: a citizenry that regards the seriousness of the situation and works to be part of the solution and the speed at which the contagion (or enemy) is contained and removed.

President Donald Trump, his COVID-19 leadership team, and some members of Congress are working urgently with leaders throughout states, counties, and cities. Most citizens are understanding and working to stay home and apply social distancing.

As we navigate uncertain times, there are a few sure things we should accept: The faster this contagion is mitigated through our physical distancing and the heroic measures of our healthcare providers, the quicker our society will be able to rebound from its current injury.

Citizens can do our part by staying home temporarily. We can also do our part by demanding that our elected leaders return our government to its proper function as soon as possible.

America can’t endure the contagion of politicians spending malignantly.

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