How to move past 'The Great Mistake'

America’s Great Shutdown started with The Great Mistake.  Vital lessons must emerge from both, and propel the reopening of America, rooted in the “only normal” for America, the promise of liberty.

Not many weeks ago, a small cadre of ‘experts’ (Government Doctors) told President Trump that America was facing the potential of 2.2 million deaths due to an alarming virus coming out of Communist China. That figure, and the expectation of high hospitalization and lethality rates, and consequent projected massive shortages of ICU and hospital beds came from now completely debunked models released in mid-March by Dr. Neil Ferguson of the Imperial College London.  (The virus of course was and is real, and is contagious, as viruses are. A small number of hotspots emerged, and shortages of equipment occurred and were met. But the model’s lethality estimate for America was wildly exaggerated and in fact simply false.) The Great Mistake was launching guidelines based on bad data in bad models.

This Great Shutdown at the hands of governors and elected and non-elected officials has destroyed the economy, large and small businesses, and the economic security of individuals and families. It has launched an unprecedented avalanche of unemployment claims and unsustainable federal “bailout” spending. It has emboldened petty tyrants with dubious authority but mountain-sized swagger to issue ‘orders’ that control the lives and movements of American citizens.

The Great Shutdown continued even as the Great Mistake became obvious.  Microbiologists and immunologists spoke out to say that the House Arrest for the Healthy (shelter-in-place) was unnecessary because this virus has a lethality rate similar to that of the seasonal flu, not the wildly exaggerated rates of the incorrect models. They pointed out that the mask and distancing protocols were also unnecessary and flowed from the unwarranted fear of high lethality.  They showed that the House Arrest for the Healthy prevents society from developing herd immunity and therefore extends the duration of the threat of the virus, and worse, that keeping people isolated from the virus and life weakens their immune systems and therefore renders them more vulnerable.  They said a better plan for America was to protect the vulnerable, quarantine the sick, and let the vast majority of healthy Americans continue to live and work in freedom.  

The Great Mistake, the Great Shutdown, and the resulting pandemic of fear are unprecedented. The Woodstock festival happened in the midst of a flu epidemic that left nearly 100,000 Americans dead. That would be the equivalent of nearly a quarter of a million deaths today, but we did not shut down the country in 1969.

But the most devastating consequence of the Great Shutdown caused by the Great Mistake is the loss of liberty.

Or more precisely, the loss of the presumption that as Americans we have the right to live in liberty. If we concede liberty can be taken away for an unspecified and unlimited period of time in order to “keep us safe” from any future virus or other threats, we will never have liberty again. There will always be another virus, another threat, another expert advocating shut down.

So…Americans must re-learn Great Lessons of liberty:

  • Our liberty to go outside of our homes, travel, go to work, open our businesses, earn a paycheck to feed our families, which are among the most basic of civil liberties, should never be suspended indefinitely by the government at any level due to any threat. Our right to live in liberty is not absolute, but our right to liberty cannot be involuntarily crushed by an indeterminate, arbitrary, and unreviewable order. That is the very definition of tyranny.
  • We must closely examine and impose new limits on the power of government officials to issue emergency orders. Legislation must provide an opportunity for citizen appeal of orders that exceed a specified duration or lack a time limit. An adversarial review process is needed.
  • Government cannot justify wholesale limitations on freedom on the grounds it is trying to keep us “safe” (which it doesn’t have the ability to do anyway). Americans are and should be free to do all sorts of things that are legal but not necessarily in accord with every definition of safe. Choosing to do what others consider “unsafe” is a part of freedom. (Yes, government officials should inform and warn of impending health dangers, and those alarmed or vulnerable can take extra precautions.)  But limiting freedoms to leave your home, open your business, work and just live freely, for an indefinite and unchallengeable period until the government tells us it is “safe,” cannot be squared with our guarantee of freedom of the individual.
  • We must reject the tyranny of the government-chosen expert. Millions of Americans have now informed themselves about the wisdom and virtue of America developing herd immunity, about coronavirus lethality rates vs. the flu, and about weakening our immune systems by staying home.  Yet we are still subject to the Great Shutdown caused by the Great Mistake, imposed by the Government Doctors. The healthcare freedom of Americans should not be subservient to the opinions of doctors they did not choose.
  • Government Doctors and other unelected ruling elites are also floating the idea that a passport proving your immunity status may be needed to allow you to live in freedom again.  They are also claiming the legal and FDA-approved-for-other-uses hydroxychloroquine (which doctors on the ground are using with great success on their COVID-19 patients) is unreliable and to be shunned in favor of a vaccine which is in development. The vaccine is floated as the only or best answer, despite that the vaccine may never be developed, may have serious side effects, and will surely meet massive resistance from a nation already wary of the Government Doctors’ expertise.  When did ‘we the people’ consent to any of this?
  • We must not submit to a subtle but devastating shift in the operating assumption in America from “this is America, of course I can get up and go to work, and go outside my house, and do my errands today” to “I wonder whether the government will let me do my job today, or if I am allowed to shop at Walmart today and buy the paint I need.” We must not accept as the new normal that we wait to be told how much liberty we are allowed to have each day.

It is beyond ironic that the miserable economy, massive unemployment, and devastating loss of freedom is happening only two months after the best economy, record-setting employment, and the palpable, energized sense of American freedom and greatness that marked the first three years of the Trump presidency. That booming economy grew out of returning to our roots in freedom.

Let’s change course, correct the Great Mistake, and move past the Great Shutdown.  Let’s re-open a Great Economy based on trust in American liberty. Let’s restore liberty as the “Only Normal” for America.


Debbie Georgatos is the Host of the talk show America, Can We Talk, author, public speaker, non-practicing attorney,  and blogger at AmericaCanWeTalk.

Photo illustration by Monica Showalter with use of Pixabay public domain images.


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