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OPINION

COVIDiots Abound, From Manhattan to Canberra

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

“The whole aim of practical politics,” H.L. Mencken famously quipped in the 1920’s, “is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” How very true.

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Although written a century ago, Mencken’s metaphor of an endless series of imaginary hobgoblins easily describes the string of new “variants” of the COVID virus, all which send petty tyrants from New York’s Bill de Blasio to Australia’s Scott Morrison, clamoring for new lockdowns and restrictions – for our safety, of course. 

As I wrote last week, news about the “omicron” variant had global leaders racing to be the first to reimplement “safety” measures designed to keep the variant out of their country, even though there was no evidence omicron was any worse than previous strains, or that similar efforts made any difference in the past.

These tyrants, petty as they may appear to be, are a very real danger to freedom, though in a way much different from their predecessors in Soviet-era KGB or East Germany’s Stasi. These are not innately malicious government actors in the vein of 1984. They are just…stupid. COVIDiots, if you will.

In America, we have the Constitution that thankfully limits (eventually, at least) the damage COVIDiots may cause at the local, state, and federal levels; other countries are not so lucky. Rather than learning to live with COVID by taking reasonable and measured steps to limit its impact, countries like Australia persist in pursuing scorched earth policies in which economic and social freedom are viewed as impediments to be surmounted so the government can fulfill its responsibility to “keep people safe.” 

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The fusion of government overreach with rank stupidity has produced truly frightening examples of government abuse. Recently, for example, police in Australia launched a manhunt to find “escapees” from one of the country’s “Centres for National Resilience” (a euphemism for internment camps to detain people the government considers to be COVID public health threats). The detained citizens actually had tested negative for the virus, but since they failed to obtain the government’s permission to leave the compound, they became fugitives. 

Neither science nor common sense factor into Australia’s policies or in those implemented by New York City Mayor de Blasio. The mayor decreed last week that every employee of every business in the Big Apple must be vaccinated and that every patron of every business must show identification and proof of vaccination before being allowed to enter any business establishment in the City. 

This is the very definition of stupidity, made worse by the hypocrisy of the incessant browbeating by these same authorities that their critics need to “follow the science.” Yet, who are those not following the science? 

In what world of “science” does natural immunity not factor into mandatory vaccination plans? How is it “science” to lock people in internment camps for weeks to stop the spread of a virus that has, so far, not ever been stopped from spreading across borders? And, what is the “scientific” rationale for using potentially deadly force to re-detain people who are free from the virus?

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The answer to these and other inquiries of course, is that there is no medical or scientific basis whatsoever; leaving the only explanation for their continuance in the face of resulting economic and social harm, to be stupidly and lust for power – a truly toxic mixture. 

In another famous quip, Mencken remarked that “democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” To some degree, he is right again with what we are seeing from elected officials during COVID. For some time now, we have elected Democrats and Republicans who have no true regard for the limits of government power. It should come as no surprise then, that government officials empowered by ambiguous and overly broad “emergency powers,” overstep their bounds. It is their nature.

This is an important lesson to keep in mind when Americans head to the polls next year and in 2024. It is our opportunity to remove the COVIDiots from office, and replace them with freedom-minded individuals who will work not to conjure the next “emergency” by which to extend their power, but to return our Republic to at least a semblance of what our Founders constructed it to be.

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and serves as head of Liberty Guard.

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