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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/19/20

Don't Let Politicians Use Pandemic as an Excuse for Dictatorship

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Outside midtown of Tahrir area%2C Cairo during martial law%2C 4 February 2011.
Outside midtown of Tahrir area%2C Cairo during martial law%2C 4 February 2011.
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By invoking the Defense Production Act, which "authorizes the President to require acceptance and priority performance of contracts or orders and to allocate materials, services, and facilities to promote the national defense or to maximize domestic energy supplies," US president Donald Trump has declared himself America's economic dictator.

He's also moved to seal the nation's borders, even as governors and mayors have banned public gatherings, ordered businesses to close or severely curtail operations, sealed off neighborhoods, and even in some cases -- San Francisco comes to mind -- ordered the entire populations of cities to remain indoors.

And we're letting them do it.

Why? Because they say it's about "public health."

If this was about public health, obvious vectors for the spread of COVID-19 like the Transportation Security Administration and its airport security screening lines would have been among the first things shut down.

Your neighborhood tavern, where people are seldom closely packed unless one is trying to sweet-talk another back home, is closed. TSA agents are still making airline passengers line up to be groped and coughed on.

If it was about public health, America's non-violent prisoners would have been released to make more room for "social distance" between the remaining prisoners, reduce staffing needs, and prevent the virus from raging through captive populations.

Some prisons and jails are releasing some inmates or refusing to take in more. But not nearly as many prisoners are being released as Americans are being made prisoners in their own homes.

If this was about public health, government would be letting the market produce, and set prices for, essential goods instead of trying to seize control of production and suppress "price gouging."

This isn't about public health. It's about political power. And things are getting very ugly, very quickly.

Vladimir Putin WISHES he had the power that American politicians have seized in the last couple of weeks.

Latin American dictators are green with envy at the enthusiasm with which Americans are surrendering our freedoms.

Pardon my French, people, but WTF?

A month ago half of us didn't trust Donald Trump, half of us didn't trust Nancy Pelosi, and many of us trusted neither. Now all of a sudden most of us seem to be practically begging both of them, and their henchmen, to order us around.

That's not going to contribute to the public health. It's not going to shorten the COVID-19 outbreak. It's just going to crater our economy and leave us less free after than we were before.

If we force the politicians to knock this nonsense off now -- by ignoring their orders until they run to the front of the parade by countermanding themselves -- we might get off light. A short recession, maybe, and perhaps even some politicians who are scared into respecting our rights a little bit more, for a little while.

If we keep going along to get along, we're more likely to end up thinking of the Great Depression and Stalin's reign as versions of "the good old days."

 

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Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.


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7 people are discussing this page, with 14 comments  Post Comment


911TRUTH

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There's only one politician we need to worry about doing that, and those who are enabling him.

Submitted on Thursday, Mar 19, 2020 at 7:40:38 PM

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Thomas Knapp

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There aren't a WHOLE lot of politicians who AREN'T doing it.

It's interesting that Cuomo in New York is far from the worst of the bunch.

Submitted on Thursday, Mar 19, 2020 at 8:14:44 PM

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David William Pear

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The new "woke" is voluntary medical martial law...then it becomes official.

Submitted on Thursday, Mar 19, 2020 at 10:05:35 PM

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shad williams

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Gasoline is getting cheaper...

Submitted on Thursday, Mar 19, 2020 at 11:21:19 PM

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Thomas Knapp

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Reply to shad williams:   New Content

Yes, it is. For several reasons. One, of course, is the Saudi/Russia oil price war. The other is that demand is way down. I don't live in a huge city, but the city I live near looks like a ghost town.

Submitted on Friday, Mar 20, 2020 at 12:40:48 AM

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Nels Wight

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Reply to Thomas Knapp:   New Content

Tom, is the Univ closed in Gainesville?

Submitted on Friday, Mar 20, 2020 at 10:14:39 PM

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Thomas Knapp

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Reply to Nels Wight:   New Content

Yes -- both the University of Florida and Santa Fe Community College are closed, as are the public schools. Or, rather, the physical classroom environments are. They're doing online classes, etc.

My wife works at UF, but was out of the state when the SHTF. She's working remotely. She's in epidemiology, which, as you might guess, is not shut down.

Submitted on Friday, Mar 20, 2020 at 11:16:30 PM

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Nels Wight

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$1.95 here in Maine, Shad. What's doin' in Masshole country?

Submitted on Friday, Mar 20, 2020 at 10:16:46 PM

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keith brooks

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$3 PROTECTIVE MASKS SELLING FOR $15 AND UP.
THE MARKET.

Submitted on Friday, Mar 20, 2020 at 8:30:20 PM

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Thomas Knapp

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Reply to keith brooks:   New Content

Uh, no. In the free markets -- on the dark web -- they're going for $3.xx. The only place they're either insanely expensive or completely unavailable are in the state-pranged "markets."

Submitted on Friday, Mar 20, 2020 at 9:14:46 PM

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e.com/5807515/price-gouging-coronavirus/

Submitted on Friday, Mar 20, 2020 at 9:29:25 PM

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Reply to Lois Gagnon:   New Content

Yep. Demand goes up, and one of two things happen:

- Prices go up; or

- Politicians institute price controls and supplies run out.

Fortunately, a third thing is happening beyond the reach of the politicians now:

Coronavirus face masks: Dark web drug dealers rush to meet demand

Submitted on Friday, Mar 20, 2020 at 10:17:31 PM

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Reply to Lois Gagnon:   New Content

Capitalism always finds a need for every product. The best way to sanitize one's hands is with soap and water. It also works better than toilet paper.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 21, 2020 at 11:22:10 AM

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Thomas Knapp

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Reply to David William Pear:   New Content

Define "need."

Yes, soap and water are preferable to hand sanitizer. We had that discussion in my household a couple of years ago when someone picked up hand sanitizer instead of soap to go next to the kitchen sink.

But I just checked, and there's not a sink and soap dish in my car.

And everyone lining up at the restroom doors at grocery stores, doctors' offices, etc. would create problems (waiting and crowding) that a hand sanitizer dispenser solves.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 21, 2020 at 12:32:30 PM

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