As we navigate the best way to stay safe during a pandemic, we are also navigating what means to live very different lives. On the one hand, regulations have been rolled back to help products move with ease and make it easier for help to get where it’s needed. On the other, we are facing a terrifying loss of freedoms in the name of safety.
Whether it is a pandemic, war, natural disaster, or another crisis, history has shown us that a government will always take advantage of these times to grasp for more power at the expense of our freedoms. We know that governments are not likely to give up any power they’ve taken, so we need to be vigilant when the crisis passes.
Let’s take a look at a few things we need to address to be sure we get rolled back to our pre-pandemic liberties. We’ll also take a look at a few things that have been temporarily suspended that need to stay that way.
One good thing to come from the pandemic is the ease with which people are able to telework. Let’s make sure employers are able to keep this option open if they want to use it.
Some families have also come to find that their kids learn better outside of a classroom, so flexible learning opportunities should remain the status quo. Looking to the future, we can tell that people are getting worried that kids will thrive in non-traditional learning. Harvard is already attacking homeschooling pre-emptively.
Let’s not let people take away a parent’s right to determine the best path of education for their own kids.
Many states have suspended weight limits on trucks so that essential supplies can get where they need to go as fast as possible. That also means accepting more damage to roads, so this is a great time to look at options like tolls over taxes.
In the “spirit” of free markets, some states have given breweries, vineyards, and distilleries more freedom to sell directly to consumers. Let’s keep the freedom flowing in all states and let them continue to do so. While we’re at it, let’s keep letting grocery stores sell alcohol.
Licensing restrictions have been eased to help healthcare workers work across state lines. No need to bring those restrictions back – ever.
On both the state and federal level, changes have made telehealth more available than before. Let’s keep that option open (even for your furry family members).
Pharmacists can now help people more easily. Let’s let them continue to do this after the crisis has passed.
Let hospitals add more beds without asking for permission.
Things to Roll Back
We shouldn’t be ok with having our movements restricted like they have been. We shouldn’t set a precedent that the government can tell us to cover our faces, if we can visit our own property, or what types of vehicles we can use, or if we can exercise our constitutional right to assemble peacefully.
Free expression is also under attack, especially online.
There have been drastic changes made to unemployment to meet needs during this pandemic. It makes sense right now, because incredible numbers of people are out of work and getting a job is nearly impossible with restrictions in place.
However, we need to take a real look at those changes and sunset what needs to be sunsetted when people are able to seek work again. Our civil liberties must be protected.
We need to make sure our privacy is protected, and that information is not being collected or being shared for political reasons.
Changes to waste management (moving to a single stream to put fewer workers at risk), is a good idea in the short-run, but let’s get back to business as usual when this is over.
In some states, governors may be looking at recalls for their attacks on freedom. Being accountable to constituents is always a good thing.
Let’s not forget that it’s local governments, too. The Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi has pushed for a temporary ban on the open carry of firearms in the city, a move which put them at the center of a federal lawsuit. Mississippi’s Attorney General then got involved, letting the mayor know he doesn’t have the right to do this. The mayor has let the temporary ban expire and is not renewing it with the extended stay-at-home order.
Bellingham, Washington, is also looking to restrict our second amendment rights.
The state of New Jersey tried a similar ban, but it was rolled back within days amidst outcries and a lawsuit.
We know that a government rarely takes a citizen’s freedom away temporarily, no matter how they word it. People need to fight back immediately when a right is taken away.
Perhaps a silver lining to the coronavirus cloud is that it has put a spotlight on the the tenth amendment in the US:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
The federal government was not explicitly given the power to make the types of sweeping decisions we’ve seen made during the pandemic, so states, cities, and other local governments have made those decisions for themselves. That also means that the examples above may not apply to everyone – for better or for worse.
In a crisis, any government anywhere, at all levels, will always seek to expand their powers. Any powers given up will quickly be snatched up again and any powers grasped will be difficult to pry away. It’s up to us to remain vigilant on the front lines of liberty.
Looking for more liberty online? Why not check out our online events? We’ve organized a series of webinars just for people like you!