Opinion

Power in the Hands of Autocrats Relieves Us of Our Freedom

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Posted: Apr 27, 2020 9:09 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
Power in the Hands of Autocrats Relieves Us of Our Freedom

Source: AP Photo/David Eggert

Editor's Note: This column was co-authored by Loyd Pettegrew.

Free market economist Frederick Hayek held forth that socialistic economic planning, regulation, and intervention pave the way to totalitarianism by building a power structure that will inevitably be seized by the most power-hungry and unscrupulous. Hayek is quick to point out that emergencies have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberties have been taken away. It is a very short and slippery slope to an authoritarian dictatorship. The USSR, and Nazi Germany labeled themselves as socialist governments. Venezuela has been transformed from a democracy to a socialist dictatorship within a decade. Cuba, China, and North Korea would label their forms of government as communist, but in the truest sense of the word they are simply socialist dictatorships. 

Socialism is simply the government control and administration of all means of production and distribution of goods—the economy. Accordingly, this is what gives these types of governments such ultimate dictatorial power and control.

Our COVID-19 crisis is giving to citizens of the United States a chance to taste the Democrat power and control of socialist authoritarianism prior to our upcoming election. In the past two months our federal and state governments have basically shut down the economy ostensibly to save lives. Only the most essential components of the economy have been kept open. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi twiddled her thumbs, doing woke appearances on CNN and MSNBC for a week before she allowed the bill funding small businesses to come before a House vote. Shut down orders have been given in 42 of the 50 states. Stay-at-home or social distancing orders have become our new national norm. President Trump, recognizing the irreparable economic harm these draconian efforts are having, provided a three-step re-opening plan for our economy long before the pandemic is over. The role of monitoring of progress has been given to the governors of each state—Federalism at its very best.

By using this method, President Trump has allowed the governors and local elected officials to show their true stripes to their citizens. The results are socialistically disheartening. The WSJ opines that in case readers didn’t already know, today’s progressives lack even a minimal understanding of how business and the economy work. Why would you when you are convinced that the state is the best way to run our economy? Other proposals from New York City are that businesses must retain all employees unless they have a just cause in order to survive, or businesses having to pay each hourly worker a $40-$75 premium per shift, or even better, the City Council’s invitation to tenants to stop paying rent entirely. Ah, free everything!

We must remember exactly what the Democrats have shown us, and what other ambitions they profess, when we go to the polls on November 3rd. In response, Democrat government officials are demonstrating their attraction to the siren call of totalitarianism and how close at least some sections of our nation may actually be to socialism. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, with a firm grip on her state’s people and economy, is conspicuously reluctant to release her control of the local and state economies. In fact, she has taken actions that might be more commonplace in Cuba or Venezuela. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is incentivizing citizens to “snitch" on neighbors who violate his stringent limits on group gathering sizes. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced he would “hunt down” citizens not in compliance with his strict shut-down diktats. Stratford, Connecticut Mayor Laura Hoydick said last week that social distance violators in her town could face a fine of $100; the state’s governor has joined in the totalitarian response by indicating the state will also use surveillance technology for rule compliance.   

Avowed socialist AOC is encouraging American workers to strike during this Covid-19 shutdown and not go back to work until the totalitarian left’s green agenda is adopted.

All of these actions should give the American public a taste of what socialism might look like in America. The tearing down of the greatest free enterprise economy and personal liberties existing in today’s world will all be part and parcel of the Democrat new socialist agenda. All American citizens should remember George Orwell’s reminder in his novel about the totalitarian state, 1984: "Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.” Giving Americans a socialist incentive not to work by virtue of its juiced-up unemployment benefits, our federal and local governments are stripping away any semblance of capitalism.

While we are still locked down and locked in, it would be valuable for freedom-loving Americans to do two important things. First, get a copy of George Orwell’s 1984 and read it carefully. Second, remember how your federal, state and local representatives have treated your personal liberties during this COVID-19 pandemic. Vote in the 2020 Election and never, ever forget, the Democrats are intent on dumping the liberty and free enterprise system we currently enjoy, and replacing them with a socialistic society.