We’ve shut down major parts of our economy, ranging from stores and restaurants to concert venues and bars. Schools have closed. Transportation is at a near standstill. Now, some even want to close the stock market. The question is, why?
Of course, the answer to that is the threat of COVID-19, also known as the Wuhan Flu. It’s a nasty bug. But in truth, we don’t know how nasty it will be here.
So far, there’s little in the way of macro-data for our outbreak. Problems in Iran and Italy, where the coronavirus has wreaked havoc, have been repeatedly highlighted by the media, but they aren’t parallels for the U.S.
Iran’s health care system is, by most accounts, substandard and ramshackle, to be kind.
As for Italy, its population is far older, on average, than most other countries and thus more susceptible to the virus, which hits the elderly hardest.
As the New York Times recently noted, Italy has the oldest population in Europe. Roughly 23%, about one in four, is over 65. The average age is 47.3, compared to 38.3 in the U.S.
Moreover, the Italian health care system is less modern and less efficient than ours. As a single-payer system, it suffers from underinvestment and rationing. That means, letting people die as it is overwhelmed.
And Italy seems to have unwittingly made the situation worse, allowing thousands of Chinese workers returned to their Italian jobs in leatherworking and other industries after the Chinese holidays earlier this year.
The result, a contagion that still isn’t under control. But, again, perspective is important.
Right now, after nearly three months of the threat, the U.S. has had a total of 3,487 cases of the Wuhan virus, with 68 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That compares to 222,000 flu cases with a range of 22,000 to more than 50,000 deaths.
Yet, we’re told repeatedly that, out of “an abundance of caution,” we must shut down our economy. From New York to California, state and local governments have declared “emergencies.” So has the federal government, part of a much-broader “crisis” response.
This gives government officials, including non-elected bureaucrats, extraordinary powers over all of us. We should be alarmed.
It started with asking people to avoid gatherings of more than 250 people. Now that’s been shrunk to just 10. And we’re told restaurants, churches and other places where people usually congregate are now considered dangerous.
This should be a concern to all Americans. Yes, we need to take reasonable precautions agains the Wuhan coronavirus to minimize deaths. We’re all for being careful. And, no, we don’t believe the Wuhan coronavirus is a hoax or anything like that. But the media focus has been hysterical to the point of absurdity, encouraging government to impose the most stringent controls in modern history.
That’s bad enough, given the mainstream media’s undisguised contempt for President Donald Trump. But they’re providing cover for those who would deprive us of our rights permanently.
Dangerous precedents are being set – precedents, we fear, that will have seriously negative consequences, particularly if far-left socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders or almost-as-far-left Joe Biden win election in November.
Yes, we’re being tested. Not for coronavirus, but for our tolerance for being controlled. Unfortunately, the Democratic Party sees every problem as one that requires immediate nationalization, in some way, either by taking over major parts of the economy, taking more of Americans’ earnings, or mandating Americans’ personal behavior through the regulatory state.
And no, that’s not just an opinion. Take their word for it.
“You never let a serious crisis go to waste,” were the immortal words of Rahm Emanuel, a top adviser to President Barack Obama. “And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”
That could be the motto of the Democratic Party.
After all, it was House Democratic honcho Nancy Pelosi who recently tried to push public funding for abortions into a bill to fight the coronavirus. Just imagine what her party might do to the First, Second, Fifth and 10th Amendments to the Constitution, all of which have been targeted by the Democratic Party, if given the opportunity of a “serious crisis.”
Democrats see the Constitution, the shield that guards all Americans’ rights, as an unnecessary impediment to government by those who know better than you do what to do at all times.
That should frighten Americans more than the Wuhan flu. If those in power find that all they have to do is declare a “crisis” and that will give government at all levels authority to usurp our rights and tell us what to do, we’re all in big trouble.
“Social distancing” has gone from a reasonable health action into extensive and coercive controls over individual behavior and the entire economy.
Again, we’re not saying there is no threat. But so far, the reaction has been far in excess to the response we’ve seen. We expect the number of cases to surge in coming weeks, as more tests are taken.
We also expect the cases to peak soon, as science writer, author and lawyer Michael Fumento argued in these pages on Monday. We would only hope that Americans should realize no “crisis” is big enough for them permanently to give up their most precious possession of all: Their constitutional rights.
— Written by Terry Jones