‘It’s a Free Country, Brother’

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

In this current crisis, the longest if not the first complete shutdown in U.S. history, the freedoms of American democracy are being tested in ways we scarcely ever imagined. Out of nowhere little Napoleonic governors arise to enact decrees prohibiting gardening or strolling on an empty beach — decrees that seem to have little purpose other than to reflect that they can do so. Snitches volunteer to out felonious social deviants who are seen cooking in the backyard with a neighbor. A little horned-devil virus seems to be trying to do what those Russkies never could.

Experts with all sorts of Ph.D.s, M.D.s, and J.D.s after their names lecture from authority about what we must right now do — or else! — on the principle that they have a scientific or technocratic prerogative to impress critics of their modeling or their demand that we shut down a $22-trillion economy for “18 months,” if need be.

A supposedly disinterested media — found by media watchdogs to be 93 percent negative in its presidential reportage before the virus crisis — envision their coverage of the Trump demon as an endless zero-sum game in which any morsel of good news for him is instantly bad for them.

In short, if American democracy were to fail to sustain itself under myriad pressures, then this would be the moment. For some, the Sixties can at last be made manifest — especially given that its aging children just impeached an American president on articles nowhere found in the Constitution, after weaponizing the FBI, CIA, and DOJ in an attempt to abort a presidential campaign and then presidency.

How fortunate, then, that in this current crisis, when one questions the logic of using a misleading denominator to ascertain viral lethality, and thus the logic of basing existential public policies on resulting case-to-fatality rates that admittedly cannot be true, one can (at least for now) keep raising skepticism without being sent to a Chinese-like reeducation camp.

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