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Beware Limitations of Freedom Imposed to Battle Coronavirus

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Beware Limitations of Freedom Imposed to Battle Coronavirus

The drastic measures elected and unelected officials are taking to stem coronavirus (COVID-19) contagion reached new heights when President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act on March 18, 2020. The Korean War–era law grants the executive branch emergency powers to require American companies to increase production to combat shortages. Meanwhile, at the state level, governors have prohibited people from making purchases by closing bars, restaurants, spas, and salons.

Officials speculate the pandemic may overwhelm our limited medical resources. But as long as their data remains woefully incomplete, we must remember Newton’s Third Law of Physics: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” The draconian restrictions officials are imposing could spark an economic catastrophe more disruptive to American life than the coronavirus itself. So, officials should restrain themselves from depriving people of their freedom to transact unless or until irrefutably necessary.

Imagine if I told you that, by taking a drastic action, we could prevent tens of thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations every single year. Would you deem that a worthy intervention? The reflexive reaction is, of course, “Yes.” However, if I told you that action was outlawing all motor vehicles so we could eliminate motor vehicle accidents, then you may rapidly change your mind. You may decide that the benefits of driving justify the risks, and you would be correct.

That is little consolation to someone who has lost a loved one to a motor vehicle accident. But even those who suffer that loss rarely respond by never driving again. They have instinctively made the internal calculation that the benefits far exceed the risks.

We are in an analogous situation with COVID-19. The government has taken extreme, desperate measures to slow the virus’s spread, but in doing so has functionally shut down large segments of our economy. That choice has ramifications. People live and die based on a functioning economy.

This is not merely a money argument; it’s a people argument. The movement and exchange of goods and services brings us food, educates our children, builds our homes, and keeps us safe. A healthy economy, in many regards, implies we are living our lives. But our lives have been brought to a screeching halt by interventions to slow COVID-19. Like the hypothetical elimination of motor vehicles proposed above, there is a tipping point where the disruption is so profound, and the consequences of the disruption so severe, that the treatment is worse than the disease.

Further confounding the situation is that governments are acting on models that replicate the spread of infection, but not the effects of their draconian measures on the economy. Even worse, statistics about COVID-19 currently available are unreliable. Based on these flawed numbers, the absolute number of deathsglobally from COVID-19—in a world of nearly 8 billion people—are actually quite small. Anecdotal reports coming out of Italy and other places counter these numbers, though, suggesting far worse casualties are possible.

Because our data on COVID-19 is so incomplete, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is placed in a classic Cornelian dilemma. He is in a no-win situation. If his interventions succeed and the pandemic is nowhere near as severe as expected, people will scoff and complain that he overreacted. Alternatively, if the infection runs rampant, people will ask why he didn’t do more.

So, what is the right answer? That’s hard to know, but a wrong answer is easier to identify. If it is clearly right for officials to impose restrictions when the lack thereof would irrefutably encourage the spread of COVID-19, then it is clearly wrong for them to restrict freedom except when doing so would irrefutably discourage the spread of COVID-19.

I’m not declaring invalid every harsh measure the federal and state governments take against liberty to contain COVID-19. But we should not long confer god-like powers of life and death on officials who lack god-like knowledge. And facing any uncertainty, those officials should err on the side of liberty.

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Just now, Romans9 said:

Imagine if I told you that, by taking a drastic action, we could prevent tens of thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations every single year. Would you deem that a worthy intervention? The reflexive reaction is, of course, “Yes.” However, if I told you that action was outlawing all motor vehicles so we could eliminate motor vehicle accidents, then you may rapidly change your mind. You may decide that the benefits of driving justify the risks, and you would be correct.


Change the example in the above paragraph to off-road vehicles, motorcycles, UTV’s,SxS’s,, boats, etc.........

 

Life is risk management.

Personal freedom and Liberty is at stake.

Death by a million cuts is the way for cowards and commies to steal our culture.

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Romans9 said:


Change the example in the above paragraph to off-road vehicles, motorcycles, UTV’s,SxS’s,, boats, etc.........

 

Life is risk management.

Personal freedom and Liberty is at stake.

Death by a million cuts is the way for cowards and commies to steal our culture.

 

 

 

This is one of the things that I have been looking at for some time now (aside from severe economic impact to our system when there is an order to print money without restriction and an imposed work restriction).

While containment of a potentially nationally impacting disease is a major concern, at what point is loosing our liberty and freedom/constitutional rights not acceptable? It can be a very short distance between 'closing all international travel / closing North-South borders / placing national guard for support services / closing national and state parks / order to stay home / etc' and loss of freedom/right to free travel.

Just an underlying thought for discussion without being an 'end is near' mentality.

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1 hour ago, xtream1 said:

Life is risk management.

So true. Right now, regarding this specific threat, my wife and I are managing risk by doing what the government and medical professions advise.

I have to work because my employer and the State have deemed me "essential".   We feel fortunate this hasn't had a drastic financial impact on us.......yet. I'm sorry for those who have been impacted.

We won't be getting any check in the mail, but if this 2 trillion dollar thing really works without any of the potential side effects it could have, our net worth might eventually climb back up toward normal.

Seat belt laws, helmet laws, gun laws.......all part of those million cuts.

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22 minutes ago, SofaKing said:

So true. Right now, regarding this specific threat, my wife and I are managing risk by doing what the government and medical professions advise.

I have to work because my employer and the State have deemed me "essential".   We feel fortunate this hasn't had a drastic financial impact on us.......yet. I'm sorry for those who have been impacted.

We won't be getting any check in the mail, but if this 2 trillion dollar thing really works without any of the potential side effects it could have, our net worth might eventually climb back up toward normal.

Seat belt laws, helmet laws, gun laws.......all part of those million cuts.

I always assumed these laws were enacted to protect stupid people from themselves. Not ALL states participate. They just let Darwin prove his theories.

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You assume correctly, but Darwin has some catching up to do.

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, SofaKing said:

You assume correctly, but Darwin has some catching up to do.

He will never catch up. Every time stupid is on display a new law/rule is enacted to protect them. Take 3 wheelers, great fun machines, for those capable.

Edited by richard h

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And now California has gone and closed vehicular traffic to all State Parks...

Hoping BLM doesn't close off vehicular access.  I'd go bonkers!

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18 hours ago, SofaKing said:

So true. Right now, regarding this specific threat, my wife and I are managing risk by doing what the government and medical professions advise.

I have to work because my employer and the State have deemed me "essential".   We feel fortunate this hasn't had a drastic financial impact on us.......yet. I'm sorry for those who have been impacted.

We won't be getting any check in the mail, but if this 2 trillion dollar thing really works without any of the potential side effects it could have, our net worth might eventually climb back up toward normal.

Seat belt laws, helmet laws, gun laws.......all part of those million cuts.

The true rate of taxation is the rate of spending.  $2T injected into the economy without the production of a correspondingly valuable good or service merely devalues the currency, eroding your buying power.  

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I think even before the toilet paper was off the shelves, the tin foil was snapped up for all of the millions of hats.........

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19 hours ago, ahipara 55 said:

I always assumed these laws were enacted to protect stupid people from themselves. Not ALL states participate. They just let Darwin prove his theories.

 

1 hour ago, surf and dune said:

I think even before the toilet paper was off the shelves, the tin foil was snapped up for all of the millions of hats.........

Folks mentioned in these two quotes are simply two sides of the same coin. They just don't know it because they are facing opposite directions.

;)

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17 minutes ago, CRUSTY said:

 

Folks mentioned in these two quotes are simply two sides of the same coin. They just don't know it because they are facing opposite directions.

;)

 We are pretty opposite. I assume that the laws were enacted to protect us from the stupid people. The 90% of us being somewhat responsible are at the mercy of aholes that go to church like normal on Sunday, go to spring break in FL. , have parties, etc.  I feel like this is one time were the government has actually made an effort to let people make smart decisions and too many just don't have that ability so the rest of us get effed. Blame the idiots this time for your "freedoms" being taken, not the government.

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15 minutes ago, surf and dune said:

 We are pretty opposite. I assume that the laws were enacted to protect us from the stupid people. The 90% of us being somewhat responsible are at the mercy of aholes that go to church like normal on Sunday, go to spring break in FL. , have parties, etc.  I feel like this is one time were the government has actually made an effort to let people make smart decisions and too many just don't have that ability so the rest of us get effed. Blame the idiots this time for your "freedoms" being taken, not the government.

Maybe I was not clear.

I agree that the idiots (Like the Spring Breakers in FL) are the exact reason why the .GOV has to take the actions they have done thus far. Things even keep escalating/changing because folks are not following the recommended guidelines, which in turn become rules.

My comment was more to  point out that the Tin Foil Hats are as absurd as the Spring Breakers in FL.   BOTH choose to be blind to the real issue of COVID-19 and use this Pandemic to push their agendas, one being  that the Party Life is all that matters or the Government has always been waiting for an opportunity like this and wants to remove ALL your freedoms. Both are absurd.

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7 minutes ago, CRUSTY said:

Maybe I was not clear.

I agree that the idiots (Like the Spring Breakers in FL) are the exact reason why the .GOV has to take the actions they have done thus far. Things even keep escalating/changing because folks are not following the recommended guidelines, which in turn become rules.

My comment was more to  point out that the Tin Foil Hats are as absurd as the Spring Breakers in FL.   BOTH choose to be blind to the real issue of COVID-19 and use this Pandemic to push their agendas, one being  that the Party Life is all that matters or the Government has always been waiting for an opportunity like this and wants to remove ALL your freedoms. Both are absurd.

I must not of been clear either because I totally agree. 

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The States need to either quarantine everyone in their homes or not. You do that by suspending the First Amendment and declaring a national emergency.

Leaving this up to individuals to decide essential or non-essential is a wreck and leaves that open to interpretation and exploitation.

The states are referring to the CDC for their authority to “shelter in place” but their is no such law or regulation. The CDC can only quarantine infected people according to the Commerce Clause which is where they get their authority.

Shit or get off the pot. 
 

This reminds me of weed. Legal here not there, you can have this much here and only that much there oh you have that much? Prison for you. Have it in your car here ok, there felony........

 

Laws have to be Clearly defined so they can be followed by the citizens and debated and changed when they are found wanting.
The rule of law has to take presidence.

 

This crisis is throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks.

 

I highly suggest everyone read the CDC’s website regarding quarantining.

I am not attempting to disregard social distancing, or shelter in place or any other suggestion from the State but someone needs to put their big boy pants on and either shut everything down to protect the collective or not. Allowing everyone to define the “law” anyway they want leaves the citizens to flounder

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13 minutes ago, Romans9 said:

The States need to either quarantine everyone in their homes or not. You do that by suspending the First Amendment and declaring a national emergency.

Leaving this up to individuals to decide essential or non-essential is a wreck and leaves that open to interpretation and exploitation.

The states are referring to the CDC for their authority to “shelter in place” but their is no such law or regulation. The CDC can only quarantine infected people according to the Commerce Clause which is where they get their authority.

Shit or get off the pot. 
 

This reminds me of weed. Legal here not there, you can have this much here and only that much there oh you have that much? Prison for you. Have it in your car here ok, there felony........

 

Laws have to be Clearly defined so they can be followed by the citizens and debated and changed when they are found wanting.
The rule of law has to take presidence.

 

This crisis is throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks.

 

I highly suggest everyone read the CDC’s website regarding quarantining.

I am not attempting to disregard social distancing, or shelter in place or any other suggestion from the State but someone needs to put their big boy pants on and either shut everything down to protect the collective or not. Allowing everyone to define the “law” anyway they want leaves the citizens to flounder

So are you saying put the Constitution away or leave it out and suffer your own consequences ?

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That article, and apparently most of the politicians and Americans seem to think that this is a black and white situation. Either the gov't restricts movement or public gatherings and we end up with fewer Covid-19 cases and deaths - but a huge impact to the economy, or they don't and we have more deaths at the end of it all and suffer less of a recession.

But as usual, there are more ways to skin the cat. This isn't  just a binary choice. There are varying degrees of restriction, there are other ways to prevent the spread of a disease. For example, when the smoke clears and the stats from all of the various nations gets analyzed, they'll probably find that Italy suffered more cases and deaths because they like to congregate in public and they kiss each other on both cheeks as a greeting.

Conversely, a more densely populated, smaller country like Japan, suffered fewer cases and deaths because as a nation, they're obsessed with cleanliness, specifically hand washing, they generally don't touch each other in greeting, and as a nation, they routinely wear face masks if  they have a cough or cold as a courtesy to others so as not to spread it. Those are generalities, but they are honest glimpses into the differences in behavior between the two nations. Japan has always had an aversion to touching in public, especially the untouchables, who often work in the public service sector, possibly delivering lunches or driving a cab. They always wear white cotton gloves (I know, useless for health safety reasons) but they easily switch to latex in a situation like this. Between this aversion to interpersonal contact and the routine habit of wearing face masks if they have anything that is contagious, they were already halfway to social distancing, more importantly, not spreading the virus.

The wearing of face masks (effective ones) in public is a huge factor in preventing the virus from spreading, yet the gov't is not suggesting it (AFAIK) and is simply taking the more draconian measure of restricting trade. I'm in favor of restricting travel from high risk countries, and I'm also in favor of closing down bars, restaurants, concerts and sporting events. However, I think the widespread use of face masks here would allow us to cancel "stay at home" orders, allow some semblance of normalcy and allow more businesses to stay open while possibly reducing the spread of the virus even more effectively. If one asymptomatic carrier is wearing a mask out of an abundance of caution, that's one less cougher spewing viral droplets all over people and public surfaces. None of these carriers are intentionally spreading the virus.

If we, as a nation started wearing masks in public, we'd see a huge drop in new cases without such a drastic blow to the economy. It would also make people more aware of how often they touch their faces and mouths and help cut that way down, also helping to prevent the spread.

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1 hour ago, Romans9 said:

The States need to either quarantine everyone in their homes or not. You do that by suspending the First Amendment and declaring a national emergency.

Leaving this up to individuals to decide essential or non-essential is a wreck and leaves that open to interpretation and exploitation.

The states are referring to the CDC for their authority to “shelter in place” but their is no such law or regulation. The CDC can only quarantine infected people according to the Commerce Clause which is where they get their authority.

Shit or get off the pot. 
 

This reminds me of weed. Legal here not there, you can have this much here and only that much there oh you have that much? Prison for you. Have it in your car here ok, there felony........

 

Laws have to be Clearly defined so they can be followed by the citizens and debated and changed when they are found wanting.
The rule of law has to take presidence.

 

This crisis is throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks.

 

I highly suggest everyone read the CDC’s website regarding quarantining.

I am not attempting to disregard social distancing, or shelter in place or any other suggestion from the State but someone needs to put their big boy pants on and either shut everything down to protect the collective or not. Allowing everyone to define the “law” anyway they want leaves the citizens to flounder

I totally agree with you. Shut it down or Let us live our lifes. If your sick stay home, get well and live your life! Well spoken words. Thank you.

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https://www.yahoo.com/gma/top-chinese-health-official-warns-114801914.html

Top Chinese health official warns not wearing a mask is a ‘big mistake’

 

Hmmm...    sounds like good advice based on their experience. Too bad they didn't put this out there sooner, maybe our gov't would consider adding this to the list of things to do to help prevent the spread.

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4 hours ago, CRUSTY said:

... or the Government has always been waiting for an opportunity like this and wants to remove ALL your freedoms. Both are absurd.

Don't you feel that our rights, especially as off roaders or gun enthusiasts or both, have been whittled down and hacked away over the years?

Were the reductions in Pismo already a distant memory?

Do you feel that the gov't will only go so far and then just stop? Stop trying to reclassify firearms, stop trying to put capacity limits on mags? When will it be enough? When every citizen is allowed to buy one bullet a week after filling out 10 pages of forms? I could list the prior 2 million cuts, but that would just be absurd.

As far as pandemics go, yes I think the gov't has the responsibility to help protect the population from the virus being spread, I just wish they could think of better ways to do it besides just choking off the economy.

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46 minutes ago, PoppaWillie said:

Texas has jumped on the bandwagon big time!  This includes driving into the state!

Texas to require 14-day quarantine for all travelers from Louisiana, add same restrictions for fliers from other hot spots

The governor of Texas is acting within his authority to protect his fellow Texans according to 42 U.S. Code § 264.

If he’s right or wrong I don’t know but he is acting within his authority.

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