The American flag swirls in the wind. (Photo credit: Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)
Sir Winston Churchill’s maxim “never let a good crisis go to waste” has never been more apropos.
Some are applying it in the short-term to maximize civil strife so as to create mass compliance and political turmoil during a presidential election year. This includes a media blitz that has people confusing the destruction of racism with selfish rioting and the destruction of the rule of law.
The long-term application will challenge the bedrock values upon which the United States was built. Over the next decade, a slew of socialist policies will emerge to reshape America from being the land of the free and home of the brave into the land of the monitored and home of the financially enslaved.
Both freedom of speech and freedom of religion have already been assaulted, with social media outlets censoring posts by senior government officials and churches being told they have to close to prevent the spread of COVID. In coming years, you can expect more of the same, along with a healthy dose of minority rights legislation that will enshrine reverse racism into law and will protect the rights of the LGBTQ community over the rights of religious communities who simply wish to follow their 4000-year-old belief systems.
Perhaps the first clearly COVID-related policy push to infect our civil liberties will be advancing near-universal vaccination. Vaccination will be voluntary at first, but soon it will be required to hold a government job, to attend public schools, and maybe even to travel on an airplane or cross a border. While many good and thoughtful people will welcome vaccination as the plan of salvation for both lives and the economy, others will have reasonable objections. Living in a free society should mean the toleration of differences of opinion, and the right not to be vaccinated is surely also part of a person’s right to life, liberty, property (their own bodies), and the pursuit of happiness.
Unfortunately, even people with religious reasons to reject vaccination will be pressured to the point of compulsion. If vaccination becomes de facto mandatory, the door will be open for the government to put other things into people’s bodies as well. It may not start with as drastic a drug as the fictional control drug soma in Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” but it is very possible that a periodic need for COVID vaccination will result in people having implants to ensure convenient delivery.
Such devices may also take advantage of transponder technology developed by the military to ensure permanent tracking. What began as voluntary tracing apps on cellphones to ensure tracking of COVID’s spread will most likely end in the government (or Google/Apple/Microsoft) securing universal citizen tracking. This technology may also be coupled with credit card chip technology to unite tracking, financial transactions, and pandemic deterrence into one convenient implant.
The COVID pandemic is leading to radical changes in our way of life, and all it will take to lose our liberties is for good people to do nothing. Expediency is being used to make policy instead of the slower path of wise deliberation. Rather than capitulate to these winds of change, or allowing legislators to dissipate their efforts in partisan bickering, we must insist our government discovers ways to meet the challenges COVID poses while preserving our rights and liberties.
To find the right solutions, we must first ask the right questions. Does the government have the right to shut down travel, or to require things to be implanted in our bodies, or to close church/temple/mosque doors? Does it have the right to tell businesses they are or are not essential? Should it migrate to a block-chain-based electronic currency and track all expenditures?
Now is the time to consider wise legislation delimiting the government’s emergency powers and guaranteeing those powers cannot be abused nor retained after a crisis. Now is the time for our nation to pull together, and for our leaders to boldly preserve the American liberties so many people have fought and died to secure. Now is the time to restore the soul of America and keep America great by unifying to protect its cherished freedoms.
Past generations overcame a civil war, global recessions, and two world wars—it is time for our generation to recognize the challenges and rise to the occasion. We cannot afford to trade our liberties for promises of security, as all too often such Faustian bargains result in neither.
Dr. Peter A. Kerr is the dean of the School of Business and Leadership at Colorado Christian University and a fellow with the Centennial Institute. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, served at the Pentagon and in the Middle East during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and he was the Chief Media Liaison officer for all Outdoor Games during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Peter is the founder of KerrCommunications and the author of numerous books including “Why the Coronavirus?”