In the midst of our greatest national struggle, Abraham Lincoln called upon all Americans to ensure that “government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.” Who would have imagined that Honest Abe’s highest aspirations could be undone by . . . a microbe?
Today, as a pandemic covers the globe, hypocritical bureaucrats impose far-reaching restrictions while barely pretending to abide by their own rules. “Trust the experts,” we are told. Yet most Americans are skeptical of being governed by unelected technocrats.
We know full well the perils of government by expert and the threat it poses to our individual liberty. Expert rule is an elitist political philosophy that has rapidly metastasized during the pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic “has resulted in previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty,” said Justice Samuel AlitoSamuel AlitoCOVID-19: Justice Alito overstepped judicial boundaries Defusing the judicial confirmation process The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC – Dems push McConnell on COVID-19 relief; Grassley contracts COVID-19 MORE in his recent address to the Federalist Society. “We have never before seen restrictions as severe, extensive and prolonged as those experienced for most of 2020.”.
Restrictions proliferate as positive tests climb. New Mexico and Oregon have implemented two-week lockdowns. Chicago Mayor Lori LightfootLori LightfootStates split on COVID-19 responses as cases surge Chicago mayor defends joining pro-Biden crowd amid COVID-19 surge The Hill’s Morning Report – Biden wins Arizona, confers with Dem leaders; Trump tweets MORE issued a 30-day stay at home order, and proposes to cancel Thanksgiving. New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoCuomo to get Emmy for use of TV during COVID-19 pandemic Bill Gates: ‘I feel very confident’ COVID-19 vaccine is safe Cuomo gets heated with reporters over NYC schools: ‘What are you talking about? MORE requires bars and restaurants to close by 10 pm and makes traditional family and friends Thanksgiving celebrations unlawful by limiting indoor gatherings at private homes to no more than ten people. California and Washington draw a hard line against “non-essential” travel.
President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenOutside groups flood Georgia with advertising buys ahead of runoffs Biden will receive @POTUS Twitter account on Jan. 20 even if Trump doesn’t concede, company says Trump to participate in virtual G-20 summit amid coronavirus surge MORE’s campaign team is pushing a nationwide mask mandate to be coordinated with state governors and mayors. Biden’s top COVID adviser has proposed a nationwide lockdown of up to six weeks, along with – what else? – a big, fat government “package to cover all lost wages, for losses to small companies to medium-sized companies, and city, state and county governments.”
Of course, the very same people making these impositions on the individual rights of Americans unashamedly flaunt their own disregard for these restrictions. Lockdowns for thee but not for me.
Mayor Lightfoot celebrated in the street with thousands of Biden supporters. California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomBiden administration should restore, strengthen consumer protections The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC – Pence, Biden wage tug of war over pandemic plans Newsom orders 1-month curfew in California to combat rising virus cases MORE was caught attending a high-end birthday celebration in violation of his own restrictions. Fancy celebrations are fine for those in power, but down-home Thanksgiving dinners for hardworking families are verboten. Trust the experts!
We could go on. House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Democrats accuse Mnuchin of sabotaging economy in dispute with Fed | Trump administration proposal takes aim at bank pledges to avoid fossil fuel financing | JPMorgan: Economy will shrink in first quarter due to COVID-19 spike Pelosi defends election results: ‘It was a great victory’ The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Capital One – Pfizer, BioNTech apply for vaccine authorization MORE’s Marie Antoinette moment at the hair salon. Cuomo’s insanely flawed policy stating that “No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the [nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of Covid-19.” Trust the experts!
How did we get here? “The vision of early 20th-century progressives and the New Dealers of the 1930s was that policy making would shift from narrow-minded elected legislators to an elite group of appointed experts,” said Alito. “In a word, the policymaking would become more scientific.”
In the ultra-leftist suburban neighborhoods of Washington, D.C., two popular yard signs are “Thank you Dr. Fauci!” and “Science is real.” (See how this works? “My political opponents are anti-science!”) Meanwhile, let’s remember what Dr. Fauci is telling Americans. Give up your “independent spirit” and “do what you are told.” Oh, and forget about having Christmas too. Everybody gets a lump of coal in their stocking.
Fauci, like Lightfoot, Cuomo, Newsom and Pelosi, lost public confidence after his original claim that “there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask,” followed by his dogged insistence on mask compliance, along with his own conspicuously unmasked face at a Washington Nationals baseball game after he attempted to throw out the first pitch.
Alito calls our attention to a long-term trend to take power out of the hands of the elected representatives and vest it in unaccountable and hypocritical experts. The pandemic crisis created an opportunity to accelerate that trend. It won’t stop there: We will see it employed for gun bans, stifling religious liberty and economic policies.
“All sorts of things can be called an emergency or disaster of major proportions,” said Alito. “Simply slapping on that label cannot provide the ground for abrogating our most fundamental rights.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy implemented some of the harshest restrictions and yet his state endured the worst death rate. Asked about the implications of his actions under the Bill of Rights, he responded, “that’s above my pay grade.”
Ultimately, “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women,” as Alito reminds us. “When it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can do much to help it.”
Let freedom ring. Let us “highly resolve,” as Lincoln said, that government of the people, for the people and by the people shall not perish from the Earth. And as for government of the experts, by the experts and for the experts.
No thank you, Dr. Fauci!
Gayle Trotter is an attorney and political analyst based in Washington, D.C. Follow her @gayletrotter on Twitter and Parler.