Opinion

Contact Tracing? No Thanks.

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Posted: May 20, 2020 12:01 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
Contact Tracing? No Thanks.

Source: Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool

First a Dallas hair salon owner was imprisoned for opening her store to earn a living. Next Texas has signed a $295 million contract for “contact tracing,” by which law-abiding citizens will have to submit to monitoring about when, where, and with whom they have been.

While this sounds like a dark episode in the history of the communist Soviet Union or China, it is being promoted by Democratic governors today on a massive scale never accepted in the United States. It even extends into liberty-conscious conservative Texas.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), the Chairman of the conservative Freedom Caucus, pointed out on the floor of the House that contact tracing would “allow big tech companies to surveil” citizens and “then turn that accumulated information over to the government.” Republican state legislators and Rudy Giuliani have likewise criticized the proposals for vast contact tracing.

Yet Republican Governor Greg Abbott, ambitious to run for president in 2024, is imposing government tracking and monitoring of Texans under the pretense of combating coronavirus. He could conquer the virus by lifting unjustified restrictions on access to hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), but instead wants to find out who and where lawful Texans privately visited.

Far from helping society return to normal activities, contact tracing would terrify everyone into staying at home even more than they have already been. Everyone would have to think twice about whether a visit to someone might end up in a government database, or result in a mandatory unwanted 14-day quarantine.

This would also encourage more people to snitch on their neighbors, reporting on their daily movements. The society of narcs sought by liberals would grow worse under widespread contact tracing, even if promoted as merely being voluntary.

Lying to government agents is a crime in many jurisdictions, so those who are accosted by a contact tracer but do not disclose every person they visited in the last week could be prosecuted. Then citizens would face conviction for protecting people whom they do not want to be harassed by a visit from a contact tracer, who might himself be spreading the virus.

Contact tracing is an approach supported by George Soros, the billionaire Leftist who has been funding numerous liberal causes. He has donated heavily for open borders, which exacerbates the spread of unwanted viruses in the United States.

The real goal of the contact tracing is to use COVID-19 as a pretext to monitor the whereabouts of every American, perhaps through our smartphones, and take away our liberties. Republican political candidates will be tracked and leaks of their private information to the media would be inevitable under this scheme, while Democrats such as Joe Biden are given a pass on their far greater misconduct.

Child Protective Services bullies will be authorized to take children away from parents who have COVID-19, or who have been in contact with anyone who might have the virus. Contact tracing means that a visit to your home by a neighbor who later tests positive for the virus could result in the forced quarantining of you for merely having opened your front door to him.

Texas Gov. Abbott’s contract is with a federally funded contact tracing firm, MTX Group, about which he failed to consult the conservative Texas legislature before obligating the state. MTX Group will soon have a staff of 4,000 employees in Texas, including case investigators, epidemiologists, and contact tracers.

Meanwhile, regulators in Texas and other states continue to block access by residents to HCQ, the same medication which President Trump has successfully taken for more than a week to protect against COVID-19. In most states, including Texas, Trump would not have been able to fill his doctor’s prescription for this medication due to liberal interference.

The FDA, as misled by the pro-vaccine bureaucrat Rick Bright, Ph.D., continues to prohibit any use of the federal stockpile of 100 million doses of HCQ unless the patient is first hospitalized and a clinical trial is unavailable. President Trump’s successful use of this medication would not be permitted from the stockpile maintained under these senseless FDA regulations imposed by anti-Trump bureaucrats.

The conservative, can-do approach is to conquer a virus by treating it early and in a preventive manner, while the defeatist liberal approach is to ration resources while asserting government control over law-abiding residents. Gov. Abbott could follow the successful example of Republican Gov. DeSantis in Florida, who made HCQ available and kept businesses and beaches largely open.

Gov. Abbott has instead sharply restricted access to HCQ and closed businesses for prolonged periods, resulting in the imprisonment of a salon owner. The $295 million that Abbott is spending on contact tracing could have purchased HCQ treatments for half of the entire State of Texas, to reopen the state without the need for oppressive monitoring.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.