Will Americans Let Coronavirus Panic Destroy Their Liberty?
This current balance of power in America is unsustainable and will not hold much longer. We just slinked past the 245th anniversary of the "shot heard round the world," and most Americans were too busy hunkering down and obeying government directives to remember how heavy the price for liberty always is. There is a rumbling right now below our feet, though, and these tremors may well split the earth around us if our elected leadership do not yield to common sense and shared American purpose.
This moment in history is opening up before us two paths — one in which we reclaim for ourselves the truth that all legitimate power begins with individual consent and another that deviates sharply from our shared past by giving to the State the ultimate authority for determining what rights each one of us may freely call our own. Down the path of freedom we must take solid steps, for the other path promises to swallow us whole.
I have no illusion that American liberty is destined to prevail over this new breed of socialism and government-by-fiat. Life gives us no certainties — only choices and opportunities. It's the other side that denies the existence of God while insisting that our historical fate is predetermined. Our side has always cherished human freedom precisely because we know how rare it is. History is replete with men dominating other men; what has always made America "exceptional," and what the other side has long forgotten or ignored, is that ours is a country that chose to end the cycle of domination by empowering the weakest among us to have an equal voice. For 245 years, we have lumbered down this difficult path with eyes wide open and confident in our inherited wisdom that to do otherwise would unleash the cycles of domination we worked so hard to tame. And while many of us have watched apprehensively for many years now the encroaching tyranny of the State disguised under the cloak of the "common will" or the "collective good," it is only now that the advocates camped on the other side of freedom so boldly declare their intention to rule over us as they will.
An awful lot can happen in the space of a month, as we are now reminded. Weeks ago, we were celebrating the most vibrant American economy in nearly a century and looking forward to putting an exclamation point on that success by re-electing the man who shook the country awake by telling many difficult truths. From Venezuela to Iran, Hong Kong to the U.K., freedom was on the march everywhere.
Now the Barack Obamas and John Kerrys and Al Gores across all fifty states are smiling with renewed joy that an America dominated by government control of everything and over everyone is all but certain. So sure are they that they've finally broken the American spirit that they openly talk about our current national incarceration as the blueprint for our permanent subjugation under the guise of a "global warming" emergency. Joe Biden, lost in mind, is certain that he has already won the coming election. Everything we have worked for these last few years is slipping away.
Or is it?
The most dangerous fairytale we often tell ourselves as Americans is that we understand and accept General John Stark's beseechment to his fellow Granite Staters that they "Live Free or Die." Until you meet that hard choice head on in this world, it is easy to invoke the spirit of America without suffering the attendant costs that a free America necessarily requires. For most Americans, that choice has seemed so relegated to the past that the constant chipping away of individual liberty, a little at a time over the years, for the promise of governmental protection and security has seemed consistent with the government's promise to exercise only the powers vested in it by the people and nothing more. Like a magic trick gone horribly wrong, however, the government has hidden our liberty behind a veil of security and disappeared both in the process. Benjamin Franklin warned us that that trick would one day be played upon an unsuspecting public, and that day is now.
How many of us who never set foot upon the battlefield or committed to sacrificing ourselves for another can honestly say we understood the price of freedom until this day? How many of us appreciated how quickly our freedom could be taken away by executive decree and our tacit compliance? If this period of national confinement and economic destruction does not stir in the blood a sense of urgency never to allow our government to take again with such ease what our ancestors bequeathed to us with such sacrifice, then our blood is already infected with something much more deadly than the Chinese virus. If this exercise in governmental overreach does not crystallize why "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty," then the battle is over, the war is lost, and all that is left to consider is whether Biden lives long enough to become king.
I, for one, believe that this pandemic will be remembered as an unexpected jolt to the American consciousness that finally allowed us to pull the emergency brake before we ran out of track. We will one day look back and realize that the opening salvo between unbridled State control and personal liberty began when President Trump took office, but only when politicians from coast to coast decided to steal for themselves power that was never theirs to possess did the real war for America's future begin.
I am of the firm opinion that a population once exposed to the idea of freedom can never lose entirely that most vital gift from God. Every descendant of a Holocaust survivor, every freedom-loving Pole or Czech who endured Nazism and Stalinism, every starving soul trying to survive Venezuela today in order to taste freedom tomorrow knows that nothing can eradicate human liberty, so long as some voice, somewhere, can still remind others that God's gift of freedom is theirs by right. Life and liberty go hand in hand. When so many politicians these days seem comfortable with allowing the wolves of tyranny to nibble at the edges of both, there has never been a more important time to scream back, "Not on our watch!"