By Dan O’Donnell (Wisconsin radio host, writing for the MacIver Institute.)
Never before in American history have we allowed ourselves to so test our founding document’s theory that governments which are instituted among men derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.
Not only have we consented to the draconian overreach of our government’s power, we have literally demanded it to keep us safe from a virus.
We have, in other words, signed a new declaration of dependence upon a government (at every level) that has consistently demonstrated its indifference or outright hostility to the most cherished rights of its citizenry.
Even more chillingly, the citizenry is perfectly fine with this. Name a right guaranteed by the Constitution and there’s a good chance that a government has infringed upon it in the past two months. Prohibit the free exercise of religion by closing churches? If it stops the spread of the virus, that’s cool. Abridge the right of the people peaceably to assemble? You bet; we’ve got to flatten the curve.
Oh, and you want to petition the Government for a redress of grievances? Good luck, protesting is banned now.
The systematic dismantling of the Bill of Rights is so brazen that one half expects to see the Governor of a blue state somewhere force his people to quarter soldiers in a time of peace just to see if he can.
Government in a free society (even in blue states), though, is consent, and ultimately it is the people who have the power to form it, to shape it, and, if need be, to break it apart. When they don’t, when government and not God almighty becomes the creator and arbiter of individual rights, then tyranny is inevitable.
That isn’t mere hyperbole: Tyranny is nothing more than cruel and oppressive government or rule. Is there anything crueler than a government that bars visits to a dying loved one or attendance at a best friend’s funeral? Is there anything more oppressive than a government that makes visits to Grandma and Grandpa’s house punishable by jail time?
This isn’t to say that fighting the spread of Coronavirus isn’t a legitimate government objective. It is. But it does not negate the most basic fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution. It doesn’t even pause them during a pandemic.
The balance between upholding these rights and protecting the populace has long been a delicate one, which is why the Supreme Court developed what has become known as the “strict scrutiny” review.
Read the full piece HERE.