(OPINION) – In his most recent announcement on the COVID-19 situation, Governor Newsom said his decisions will be based on “data not politics.” Here is one key data point: 99.9% of the people of the state of California are NOT infected with the virus. This is not the worst “pandemic in history” as some have attempted to describe it, the Spanish flu in the early part of the last century was far worse, and, as a country, we had far fewer tools to fight the disease. Yet, the country did not shut down.
The AIDS crisis of the 1980’s and 1990’s killed many more people and was mostly transmitted by male homosexual sexual contact, yet the country didn’t outlaw male homosexual sex. To this day, there is no vaccine for AIDS, and transmission continues at the rate of about 1.7 million infections per year around the world, but we don’t shut down human sexual conduct.
36,000 people die every year, year after year, from automobile accidents in the US, but we don’t ban driving (we do recommend social distancing while driving though).
These are the facts on COVID-19: the disease has not overburdened our hospitals, it has not spread “out of control,” it has hit urban areas more than rural areas (New York’s disease rate is triple that of California, Los Angeles County is about 10 times more than San Luis Obispo County), and 99.9% of the people of this state are stuck in their homes, even though they are not infected with the disease.
The government response to corona virus disease is out of control. We hear wild-eyed predictions of impending death caused the disease from the so-called public health experts that are repeated in breathless panic by the media, yet yesterday, 93 people allegedly died from the disease, which the San Jose Mercury News described as “one of the deadliest days” of the pandemic in California. What? 93 people? In California, a state of nearly 40 million people, 93 people in a day die from drug overdoses, yet the state wants to give them free syringes. Do you see something wrong here?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish infection or death on anyone, but in the words of the old Hank Williams song “No matter how I struggle and strive, I’ll never get out of this world alive.” Life is a terminal disease, and death comes at us from every direction. We can’t let panic and fear drive public policy. The moment it does, liberty will be dead from COVID-19, and that will be the worst casualty of the disease.
But the Arrogant Lazy Authoritarian (“ALA” for short) will use any excuse to expand their power. Liberty is unimportant. The ALA believes government power exercised in violation of the political and economic liberty of the citizens is too important to worry about the infringements on that liberty. Governor Newsom has shut down businesses around the state, essentially depriving thousands of their ability to feed their family. Is he giving up his paycheck? Is he willing to live on $600/week in unemployment? You can bet if he did so, we would know about it.
Want to end the crazy controls imposed on us by the Governor and his so-called experts? Cut the pay of the so-called “public health experts” to $600/week. And of course, make them wait a month before the payments start, just like the state has done to those it has forced into unemployment. Make the experts suffer the consequences they have imposed on everyone else. Their opinions will change really fast.
What is happening now, however, is the way of the ALA. Identify an “crisis,” then impose unreasonable government restrictions on human behavior in response to the crisis, restrictions that apply to everyone but themselves. Climate change caused by carbon based fuels? The ALA will care about your carbon footprint and try to regulate or tax your behavior to control it, but they will fly or drive wherever they want because they have “important work” to do. Rich people exploiting the poor? They will take the money from the rich, through taxes, keep a large portion of it for themselves, so they get rich, and then turn over a meager portion of it to the poor to justify the theft. The ALA can always find a good excuse to enhance his or her power, then use that power to exempt themselves and their supporters from the rules they insist we live by.
And now they threaten freedom of speech? The story today was about the response to the protest by the state and local governments. How dare those protesters question the judgment of the government? So what if they can’t feed their families, they simply can’t be allowed to incite others to protest. Those who incite protests to the stay at home order will be prosecuted, no matter how stupid, unnecessary or unfounded the order may be. Can’t feed your family? “Let them eat ice cream” we are told by those in power.
Here is my advice, for what it is worth. The protests have to be larger, more vocal, and more of a direct violation of the order. Social unrest is the only thing that is going to break this foolish order. Want to go back to work? Rather than use your time streaming “Breaking Bad,” go out and actually break bad, that is, use your time saying I’m going back to work, no matter what you tell me. There is no good reason to extend this quarantine until June. It has to end now.
California State Senator Ray Haynes, Retired