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Governors have never met an Executive Order they don’t like. Now they’re using the word “indefinitely” on the end of mask mandates, lockdown restrictions, and social distancing requirements.

Mayors, public health officials, and several city councils have done the same. 

34 states now have statewide mask mandates in effect, including Republican strongholds like Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. Of the holdouts, many are less populated rural ones, although there are notable exceptions. Arizona, Florida, and Georgia have all resisted statewide mandates thus far despite suffering sizable outbreaks, although in AZ and TX the governor has allowed local jurisdictions to issue their own orders, which means many state residents are under a mask mandate anyway. And in Georgia it looks like Brian Kemp is about to drop his lawsuit to prevent cities from issuing mandates, so lots of state residents there should soon be under orders to wear one as well…86 percent of Americans are now wearing masks indoors around other people according to Gallup.”

Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer adopted a different take on “indefinitely,” expanding her power by declaring racism a “public health crisis,” meaning she is now free to use state emergency powers to engage in whatever limitless meddling she wishes to force state employees and perhaps citizens to do her bidding du jour. 

Tyranny, what some call “corona fascism,” comes in many forms and apparently in the United States today its best suit is “public health.” It goes like this. 

  • Identify a virus, 
  • Scare the public via hysterical media, 
  • Opportunistic politicians then issue draconian executive public health orders qua restrictions, shutting down the economy and increasingly everyday life, 
  • Keep changing the goalposts: flatten the curve, have enough beds in hospitals, avoid a second spike, until we get a vaccine, till everyone is safe, so that state and local officials continue to have a reason, in their view, to issue “orders,’
  • Use chaos created by race riots to advance governmental power and control, not over the rioters but over citizens, 
  • Point to science constantly but then ignore science or any consistency by approving, even encouraging, protests for “racial justice” even while continuing to restrict houses of worship, businesses, and more.
  • Insert the word “Indefinitely” to assure the government executive stays “in charge.”

Sports, fairs, concerts, and other public events have now been cancelled well into 2021. Schools and universities are in a condemned if you do, condemned if you don’t scenario with students caught in the middle. 

Ambiguity not confidence is the watchword for our economy if not ever day life.

Meanwhile, we’ve yet to hear reasonable explanations:

  • why COVID-19 is worse and more threatening than a host of other viruses and illnesses that continue to infect people,
  • why lockdowns and cancellations must continue if indeed wearing masks and social distancing are effective, or vice versa,
  • why unilateral actions re COVID-19 somehow do not create a host of collateral damage, some more serious than the virus threat,
  • what the real endgame looks like, other than “Indefinitely.”

Fear is not a worthy substitute for Freedom.  Lockdowns should cease, schools should reopen, sports seasons should be rescheduled, and people should get on with their lives.

Ronald Reagan said, “Government's first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.”  I agree, wholeheartedly.  

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

Bill Maher is not my Go-To guy, and I probably disagree with 90% of his views, especially his anti-religious worldview (He says he believes "in a force" but not religious "bureaucracy"), but his commitment to freedom of speech and open discussion is now rare on the Left, as is the point expressed here. In this 2:03 min video he speaks more common sense than I've heard from politicians, Left or Right, in three months. But he gives God no credit for the human immune system.

I still think it's interesting that Maher, Jerry Seinfeld, and Chris Rock all stopped taking public university gigs because in this era of political correctness and self-righteous "silencing" of all with whom one disagrees the university students, faculty, and administrations couldn't handle their (free speech, crude, over-the-edge) jokes...and these guys are capital L Left. No wonder Condi Rice and a few like her also gave up on most university gigs, or I should say universities cancelled or stopped inviting anyone deemed potentially "offensive."

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

When the COVID-19 statewide stay at home, shelter in place, lockdowns finally end there will be a Post-Pandemic Period. No one knows for sure what this period will be like, but it’s not rocket science to predict a few guarantee-you developments.

1— Economic Upheaval. The longer the lockdowns, or if you prefer, stay at home executive orders, continue the more damage will be done to the American and world economies. Many businesses and other organizations will not survive. More than 30 million are out of work now and this may rise – unemployment is now a major problem. Perhaps one-half of all lost jobs will not return, at least in their earlier form. Some people—the lower sector or poorest or least educated or most challenged—will suffer most, some falling farther into poverty, hunger, and despair. Without significant focused help, similar to the Marshall Plan after WWII, these people will struggle to survive and social-political unrest, including likely violence, will occur.

2—Lawsuits. The US courts will be inundated, which is to say “plagued,” by post-plague litigation, owners who were forced to close “non-essential” businesses for extended periods, suffered serious financial setbacks or even lost their businesses, while other “essential” businesses were illogically and irrationally permitted to continue to make hay while the sun did not shine.

For example, what if you owned a mattress store, were forced to close, yet Sam’s Club continued to sell mattresses? Does this make sense? Is it a level playing field? Is it due process?

What if you owned a medical practice specializing in various “elective, non-essential” surgical procedures, were forced to close, and could not financially maintain your employees or customers during lockdown? Meanwhile, “essential” abortion clinics continued to operate. The list of examples could go on ad infinitum.

3—Political Recrimination. Both American political parties will blame the other, and their respective leaders, for the fact COVID-19 happened, that the US was not prepared or did not respond effectively, that the condition of the economy is due to the other party’s leaders’ missteps, and that whatever happened, their party and leaders need to be put in power via the next election. No surprise here and perhaps goes without saying, but sadly, there will be no Kumbaya unity. 

4—Higher Education OnlineSome colleges and universities, already struggling or uncertain of their mission pre-pandemic, will close their doors. More students than ever before will pursue and gain their degrees online. This won’t replace the value of face-to-face experiences with learned mentors, but such opportunities will diminish. The purpose of higher education will shift, moving still farther from the classic liberal arts model toward preparation for specialized careers in science, technology, information services, and business. Universities will experience an identity crisis; in fact, they already were well into this malaise. What once were places that believed in and sought truth and tested ideas against other ideas in legitimate open debate, have become places that no longer believe in objective truth and wish to silence points of view not deemed politically correct. This is a dangerous trend for open and free democratic society, but it’s happening and a host of faculty members not just youth have already bought into the idea of moral relativism, thus as the Scripture says, “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6). This sounds like fun and games, but it ends in nihilistic despair. 

Post-Pandemic is not a bright future.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

Christians should be “optimistic realists.” Realists because we understand what it is to live in a fallen world. Optimistic because we know the Sovereign God and his purposes.

During a pandemic, we realistically take preventative measures and act as good stewards of others. We optimistically trust God and get on with our life, living in hope. 

We know all things work together for good who know and trust the Lord. We know the end of the story, his-story. Optimistic realism then becomes a key part of our testimony to the world.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.

The coronavirus pandemic has been called “unprecedented,” but it really is not. Pandemics have ravaged humanity periodically since the dawn of time. 

What’s unprecedented is the media-stoked public panic and consequent pandemonium we’ve witnessed worldwide, including in the United States, followed by the equally unprecedented trampling of Americans’ civil liberties by US Governors, Mayors, and even County Commissioners.

No question the coronavirus is virulent. Reasonable and responsible precautions are clearly warranted and should be practiced, especially by individuals with physical conditions placing them at higher risk. 

No one wants disease. No one wants people to suffer. No one wants people to die. So of course, responsible precautions that can reduce the number of exposures, infections, and death should be adopted. But there are no actions and certainly no guarantees against what we’re now being told is “preventable death.”

Unilateral executive branch decisions that have virtually stopped the American economy in its tracks are based upon science, so most officials have claimed, but for some this means the worst-case pandemic modeling, which are already being called into question. For others, the root of their decision-making authority is mysterious, with no scientific evidence provided.

Another problem is the goal posts keep being moved. First, we were told mitigation measures like shelter-in-place were necessary to “flatten the curve.” Second, it was to avoid overloading hospitals. Now it’s “when we have a vaccine” or “No one’s safe until everybody’s safe.” In other words, government executives and bureaucrats can go on “mitigating” our lives indefinitely. 

Meanwhile, one glaring fact seems to be ignored. Ongoing, mandated, statewide “non-essential” business shutdowns and stay-at-home “orders” do not happen in a controlled or sealed environment. While such decisions are presented as if the only issues involved are the virus and public health, yet these decisions are not without what researchers call “extraneous variables,” the uncontrollable circumstances of life—ripple effects, unintended consequences, even collateral damage like “deaths of despair” due to drugs, alcohol, and suicide.

Nor is the decision a binary one like media and officials keep presenting it. No evidence suggests we must adopt strict, stay-at-home orders or succumb to mass death, a fatal zero-sum used to leverage overreaching policies. 

Nor are there truly defensible reasons we must apply a one-size-fits-all approach to responding to the virus, i.e., because a few counties/states should take more aggressive action to stop the spread of the virus than all counties/states must do exactly the same. Despite what public officials and celebrities are now claiming, there is no Stay-at-Home/Wear-a-Mask vs. You-are-Selfish equation or that anyone not wearing a mask in public is “the enemy.” And by the way, don't protest government policies, for this is ipso facto "selfish."

We continue to work with inverted logic. In early May 2020, about 1.3 million C-19 cases have been recorded in the US, with about 78,000 deaths. At the same time, 20+ million have lost jobs since Februarysome economists saying 40% of these jobs won’t come back—which will result in greater personal and societal suffering. 

Many unemployed haven’t seen a nickel of unemployment benefits or federal relief funds. And this says nothing about delayed “non-essential” medical care. All the while, we’re talking about a virus, though virulent, which individuals have only a 1-2% chance of catching and a 98% chance of expected recovery.

If lives matter, what about the 20+ million unemployed and the other tens of millions negatively affected by shutdowns? Why is no one running models predicting future social and economic crises?  

US Governors, Mayors, and the President are politicians—including also the public health “experts” working for government. Experts is in quotes not to demean these individuals, most of whom we hope are well-intentioned, but to note that experts can be found to say anything, interpret the same data differently, and argue vigorously about what’s right, best, or good. Just look at the experts hired by both the defense and the prosecution in any given murder trial. Same here for medical health experts. Which expert is the unbiased expert?  Which pied piper do you follow?

Additionally, back to politicians, it is not too difficult to surmise that they (Democrat and Republican) enjoy their daily press conferences, the degree to which the pandemic puts them (rare in their career) front and center, and the new, assumed political and administrative clout they’ve claimed via “emergency powers” and “executive orders,” in the name of protecting lives. This is not to suggest that politicians are plotting to perpetuate the pandemic (though some are offering conspiracy theories including that some noted public health officials are or will profit from certain kinds of treatments for which they hold patents or shares) but to say the media attention these politicians are garnering day in and day out is difficult for them to decline, much less reduce or stop.

Government executives assert legal justification for their actions based not on the national or state constitutions (because they cannot) but via various dusty legislatively developed disaster laws enacted in view of wartime or potential pandemic developments. Problem here is that these laws envisioned short-term executive action, not open-ended ones, and certainly not ones permitting the executive branch to supersede or suspend civil liberties.

It’s been amazing, disheartening, and downright scary to watch how easily Americans’ civil liberties have been trampled by Governors and Mayors in just a few weeks. Governors and Mayors have engaged in unnecessary overreach and unconstitutional actions in the name of public health. They've done this “to keep people safe” as several have put it, so perhaps their motives are worthy, but they’ve also done it for power and to appear powerful, and they've been able to do it because media-stoked fear in the populace has given them cover.

So innumerable executive orders have listed “essential” and “non-essential” businesses and activities and Governors or Mayors have shared their decisions in breathless, sometimes combative, daily or Friday press conferences. One activity after another of everyday American life has been shut down in the name of safety. Stay Home, Stay Safe, Save LivesSix Feet SavesStay Home, Stay HealthyStay Home, Save Lives; along with similar mantra, is the new prime directive of American life.

Meanwhile, the extraneous variables of life and the inevitable unintended consequences are now happening. The problem is, no government official is omniscient, so no essential/non-essential policy can be written that’s not laced with inequities and eventual collateral damage. 

Churches are deemed non-essential and forced to close, yet marijuana, liquor, and hardware stores, along with abortion clinics and lotto operations, are considered essential and remain open. People can travel across state lines but not within their own state to go to their own properties. They can row a boat but not sail a motor boat. Certain medical procedures are designated non-essential and, ironically, in the midst of a pandemic, hospital staff are being laid off. People are arrested walking alone on a beach, pushing a stroller in a park, paddle boating alone on the ocean. So it goes.

This has always been the problem with planned economies and why the free market should be trusted to let people determine by their buying habits what is non-essential. And by the way, a business deemed non-essential by government is essential to the ones who own it or who work there. Essential or non-essential is in the eye of the beholder.

Job losses and ongoing unemployment with reduction of income can result in a different kind of fear. Poverty and hunger can be exacerbated. In turn there can be social unrest, which almost inevitably creates a context for violence. All of this is predictable. None of this is good.

Civil liberties have been blithely set aside including religious liberty, assembly, and believe it or not, speech. It’s unreal to see American corporations acting like philosopher-kings who know best, censoring disagreement, all the while, along with celebrities, claiming a moral high ground

Things have happened in the United States in the weeks since February that never should have occurred, clear violations of the ideals-most-dear upon which this country was built.

I don't agree with statewide lockdowns, stay-at-home, and shelter-in-place "orders" that may or may not save lives but certainly are destroying jobs, the economy, and people’s dreams and ability to care for themselves. I don’t agree with orders undermining civil liberties and shuttering churches. 

Of course, I agree the virus can be deadly and people need to take special precautions, like we always do with illnesses. I agree social distancing may help and commonsense washing hands and good hygiene helps. I just don’t think government officials should be the ones dictating to us what we must do, or rather what we cannot do.

Unprecedented social change is afoot that bodes more ill than the virus.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.  

 

In 1984 (pub 1949), George Orwell presciently invented the term “doublethink,” the ruling party’s language propaganda tool used to undercut people’s’ ability to think independently. 

Read his definition of doublethink and see if it sounds like what we’re hearing from some politicians today:

“To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy... The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them... To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies.”

The inverted logic, or illogic, political leaders on both sides of the partisan aisle have subjected us to during the coronavirus panic has been a wonder, and a scary thing to behold. 

I realize that political leaders if not also public health officials are learning and, in some sense, making things up as they go.  I understand this and I have no problem with reasonable public health information. I do have a problem with the eagerness with which Governors and Mayors have implemented draconian measures not just suggesting people “shelter in place,” but ordering businesses to close and fining people in some states for daring to take a walk alone in the park or on a beach. 

I don’t like exaggeration and try to avoid it, but in some ways it feels like “1984.”

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.