Do you believe that living longer, or living with the least risk to physical health and safety, is or ought to be the primary and overriding factor in living well?
Do you believe that maintaining a clear line of demarcation between government officials recommending a course of action and the state demanding a course of action is an essential condition for preserving a free society?
Do you believe there ought to be a strict and enforceable inverse proportion between the extremity of a government’s permissible emergency measures and the length of time over which those measures may be employed, or over which their practical effects may be allowed to extend?
To state this alternatively: Do you believe that “emergency,” as used for the purpose of justifying extraordinary government action, must be defined in the narrowest possible terms, such that no condition in which normal social and economic life could carry on reasonably well, with only minimal or tangential disruptions, could ever meet the definition?
When you hear the word “mandate,” in connection with your government’s public health policy, which of the following associations tends to spring to your mind most immediately?
- “for my own good”
- protection against irresponsible neighbors
- following the science
- compulsion and emasculation of the citizenry
When you hear the word “cases,” as used by governments and media sources today — as in “CDC reports a new surge in cases” — what is your most immediate mental association with this word?
- intensive care wards filling up with otherwise healthy people on life support
- a large number cited without content or context in order to evoke maximum fear
If in fact it could be proved that the most effective way to slow or lessen the spread of a moderately dangerous virus involved the government summarily granting itself open-ended, unlimited powers to restrict and regulate the private actions, decisions, associations, expressions, and economic behavior of every citizen (and, where deemed practically useful, to impose certain choices and behavior on every citizen), as judged appropriate at any given time by a small group of government-employed experts answerable to no one but the officials who appointed them to propose these regulations, would the potential public health benefits of this unlimited expansion of government power justify the irreversible costs?