How liberty is lost

It’s always a mistake to accept their premises.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control did an about-face, announcing that the fully vaccinated among us may resume normal activities. The news came more than a year after California initiated the first lockdown on March 19, 2020.

The CDC’s new posture comes with some narrow exceptions. If you’re traveling on a plane or find yourself in a homeless shelter or in a medical or correctional facility, you still need to wear a mask; and the CDC made sure to clarify, apparently out of great deference for federalism and Hayekian spontaneous order, that its guidance does not predominate over the requirements of federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

Before the CDC updated its pandemic guidance, this was exactly the position espoused by libertarian law professor Ilya Somin of George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia School of Law. Writing from his regular perch at the legal blog The Volokh Conspiracy, Somin’s argument is summarized nicely in the subheading of his piece, “Free the Vaccinated from COVID Restrictions”: “Doing so will protect constitutional rights, reduce vaccine hesitancy, and increase liberty—all at once.”

The CDC’s shift undoubtedly is a welcome development, all things considered. But people like Somin could not be more misguided in supporting it as a matter of best practice. In doing so, they ratify a pernicious principle that has the potential to destroy our long-term freedom. Instead of reasoning from first principles, Somin works from within a techno-scientific, experts-know-best framework that, unsurprisingly, constrains his thinking and directs him to validate the public health bureaucracy’s authority and priorities. One need only examine what accepting the totality of the CDC’s guidance would truly mean to see the short-sightedness of Somin’s position.

That the CDC, or any other institution, would presume to strip us of our God-given natural liberty to buy groceries or see a play or play with our children in a park, all in the name of some dubious goal of “public health,” and then purport to “return” our rights—but only if we jump through a vaccine-related hoop—is a grievous affront to the salutary legal revolution brought on by the birth of America that Jaffa identified. We are being ordered to accept the submerged premise of the CDC’s new position, namely, that we are free to do only what the government explicitly permits us to do. Sadly, a great many Americans are only too willing to comply.

It is deeply shameful that we let a virus with a roughly 1.8 percent death rate upend completely our society’s habits, customs, practices, mores, and ways of thinking about the interaction of law and liberty and the legitimate domain and reach of each. (Recall that SARS had a 14-15 percent death rate, and we did not feel compelled to shut down the country for over a year.)

Actually, it wasn’t a virus that did it. The Left was allowed to “upend our thinking about liberty” many decades ago, transitioning (ahem) far too many of us from stout, indendent citizens to simpering dependents content to suckle at Mommy Government’s flabby teat forever. After that “fundamental transformation” was accomplished, pulling off the Covid coup de grace was simplicity itself, practically a fait accompli.

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HazHap

Note that the CDC continues to lie about masks, claiming they continue to need to be worn in homeless shelters and correctional facilities. I am not aware of any report of significant numbers of deaths from the dread coof in either type of facility. One of the key early indicators for me that this “pandemic” was not nearly what it was being hyped as being was the distinct lack of mass deaths among the homeless. With most of them having a wide range of mental, physical, and drug-related ailments and terrible living conditions, a truly dangerous virus would have been wiping them out in job lots. Instead, the homeless were reported to be shrugging off the coof with little issue.

Here we are after roughly a year and a half of “the most deadly epidemic of modern times” and I still do not know anyone who knows anyone who has died of Covid. In fact, I still don’t know anyone who knows anyone who has been hospitalized from Covid. Maybe I am just incredibly lucky…but more likely this whole thing has been BS from the beginning, just another respiratory virus that got fear-mongered to the skies for political purposes.

Barry

but more likely this whole thing has been BS from the beginning

I know you know, but just for clarity 🙂

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