The United States is effectively shut down in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, which had killed over 800 Americans and infected more than 50,000 by early Wednesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins.
Schools and businesses across America are shuttered and citizens are locked down in what The Wall Street Journal calls “drastic measures” in places such as California, where social gatherings outside the home are criminal.
These measures are in place to protect the most vulnerable among us, such as the elderly and immunocompromised, but they come with a high cost both in terms of economics and loss of freedom.
The ripples throughout the economy are already apparent with soaring unemployment and stock market volatility.
In spite of a significant market rebound Tuesday, the proverbial roller coaster has barely left the loading platform, and without any real change to the current lock-down situation, more ups and downs are inevitable.
There is no clear exit strategy from enforced “social distancing” as scientists and politicians navigate the uncharted territory of a new virus that has yet to fully run its course.
Conservatives are beginning to voice their concerns over the loss of freedom.
On Tuesday, political commentator and author Candace Owens made a great point about the need to balance the preservation of life with the consequences of lost liberty, focusing on the older Americans the lockdowns are designed to keep safe.
“To the frauds claiming we need to shut down society to protect the elderly WWII generation,” she tweeted. “WWII generation: ‘We will die before we give up our freedom.’ This generation: We will give up every single one of freedoms, before we risk dying. Cowardice dressed up as nobility.”
To the frauds claiming we need to shut down society to protect the elderly WWII generation.
WWII generation: “We will die before we give up our freedom.”
This generation: We will give up every single one of freedoms, before we risk dying.
Cowardice dressed up as nobility.
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) March 24, 2020
Owens touched on a point many others are tiptoeing around: What’s happening in terms of lost freedom and destruction of economic prosperity is not something the very generation we’re trying to protect would endorse.
World War II was a fight against tyranny, and that generation of Americans prevailed because of their willingness to sacrifice everything, including their very lives, for the cause of liberty.
It is ironic, then, that the freedoms they fought for would be wiped away in an effort to protect them.
While President Donald Trump is hoping to have the country open again by Easter, there is no clear indication from medical experts that this is achievable.
If the purpose of this shutdown is to keep the virus from spreading to vulnerable citizens, it seems more like wishful thinking than a real possibility that this can end without a cure, a vaccine or a sharp decline in new cases.
The problem is, since both the disease and economic shutdown are unprecedented, no one really knows what will happen in either scenario, the one where the country remains on lockdown to protect the vulnerable or the one where it reopens sooner to protect the economy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that the death rate for those over 85 might be anywhere from 10 to 27 percent, but it plummets to 1 to 3 percent for those 55 to 64 and less than 1 percent for the rest of the population.
Meanwhile, Americans of all ages will be affected by an economy in shambles.
A delicate balance must be struck between physical and economic security, neither of which is guaranteed anyway.
Furthermore, the fact that businesses are forced to close their doors by the government, rather than having the option of taking voluntary measures, should not be overlooked.
As radio host and producer of the conservative show “Chicks on the Right” Rob Kendall points out, personal responsibility is still preferable to top-down control.
“I did ALL the things mandated/suggested by my government,” Kendall tweeted Sunday. “Didn’t dine in. Shopped local. Tipped extra. Thanked repeatedly. You CAN care about your fellow man and at the same time think government is completely overstepping its authority with mandates.”
I did ALL the things mandated/suggested by my government. Didn’t dine in. Shopped local. Tipped extra. Thanked repeatedly. You CAN care about your fellow man and at the same time think government is completely overstepping its authority with mandates.
— Rob Kendall (@RobMKendall) March 22, 2020
It is commendable that so many are still willing to protect the elderly, who are often casualties in the “culture of death” that flows from legalized abortion.
Life is the first inalienable right enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, but it is no accident that liberty is the second.
While it would be irresponsible to lift all restrictions suddenly just to unleash the U.S. economy, it’s important that liberty for all is not traded for the lives of relatively few if it means millions are plunged into poverty and despair.
At this point, Americans need to sit tight a little longer since it is currently the best practice for preserving life, but the country cannot remain closed forever.
Personal responsibility will ultimately be the best way to protect both life and liberty, although some may still unfortunately die from coronavirus.
Even though it is a tragic reality, it is important to remember that so many Americans, including more than 400,000 from the “greatest generation” who fought and died in World War II, gave their lives to protect our liberty.
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