One of the side effects of fighting the coronavirus pandemic has been the effort of some politicians to take power and run amok.
Lord Acton was right when he said: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The problem isn’t leaders taking money, but rather them losing all connection to reality and beginning to believe that they have a god-like capacity to make brilliant decisions for the stupid masses.
We are witnessing this effect to a troubling degree amid the coronavirus – especially among the political left, where there is a pattern of people in positions of authority believing they are superior, both intellectually and morally, to the people they are supposed to serve.
I felt it was important to discuss this tyranny of the left on this week’s episode of my podcast “Newt’s World.” Indeed, one of the least discussed, yet most critical, aspects of reopening the country needs to be rolling back government, which in some states and localities has grabbed power in absurd and shocking ways.
Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has provided us with a perfect case study of politicians imposing Orwellian measures supposedly to combat the coronavirus.
On April 9, Whitmer signed an executive order that stated that stores must “close off areas that are dedicated to carpet or flooring, furniture, garden centers and plant nurseries, and paint.” The order also banned all gatherings regardless of size, including in people’s private homes.
Additionally, if Michigan residents own more than one home, Whitman has banned them from traveling between them.
In Vermont, meanwhile, the Agency of Commerce and Community Development is directing large so-called big-box retailers, such as Walmart, Target, and Costco “with in-store sales of food, beverage, and pharmacy, as well as electronics, toys, clothing, and the like to cease in-person sales of non-essential items in order to reduce the number of people coming into the stores.”
Here you have examples of government not only forbidding Americans from entering their own homes, but also deciding for Americans what products are essential and what aren’t.
These examples offer just a taste of what some politicians and bureaucrats are doing today to grab power in the name of fighting the coronavirus. I discuss numerous other cases that violate some of our most sacred and fundamental rights – including freedom of religion – on the episode.
There is no place in the Constitution that grants government the power to discriminate and decide which businesses it likes and dislikes. But politicians can use a problem or crisis like the coronavirus as an excuse to become dramatically more engaged in making decisions about your life without you having any say about it.
So as we get beyond the immediate crisis, we should be asking big questions. How rapidly can we move government back to the rule of law? How rapidly can we shrink the overwhelming desire of the bureaucracy and the politicians to control everything?