What Next?

In the wake of the social and economic devastation caused by our arrogant, incompetent government leaders, who still will not admit to the utter failure of the immoral and unconstitutional lockdown, the question now arises: What do we do to pick up the pieces of this gigantic mess? Where do we go from here? The following observations are some bits and pieces of random thoughts left over from the construction of the previous essays over the course of the last two months.

First, I understand that the government is issuing "economic stimulus checks" to pretty much everyone. Right away we see how utterly wasteful and inept the government is. If you receive such a check, chances are that you personally will not need it. You may even be tempted to send it back. While that would be an admirable thing to do, a better idea is to identify someone you know who does need it and write your own check to that person, perhaps for even more if you are so blessed, or even write checks to multiple people. This is a good way to start to work toward small government-- but small government means that "we the people" need to show that we are capable of doing a better job than big government (quite a modest goal, actually).

Next, the time has come to hold the tyrannical state governors and mayors and other local officials accountable for what they (not a pandemic) have done to us. A strong, clear message needs to be sent to the whole lot of them and their successors that such reckless experimentation on the people will not be tolerated ever again. Write to your legislators at all levels of government and demand an immediate investigation. All legal means must be employed to remove every single one of these tyrants from office as soon as possible. If it takes constitutional amendments or charter revisions, then those changes must be put into place now. For example, in New York State, constitutional amendments must be approved by two separately elected legislatures. That means that if the currently elected legislature-- which is scheduled to be replaced early next year-- does not approve whatever constitutional amendments are necessary, it will be another two years before a "separately elected" legislature takes office. That's too long to wait to correct a serious abuse of authority that needs to be addressed at once, especially given the high probability that the current occupants of these executive positions are quite likely to repeat their previous actions. Once these sorts get hold of power, it gets into their blood and they are arguably even more dangerous than drunken drivers as they can ruin lots more peoples' lives in an instant with the stroke of a pen.

The limits on executive orders must be clear and inviolable, and very narrowly defined in state and local law. All emergency executive orders must be approved by legislators. Every emergency order must be limited to no more than 14 days, no exceptions. If what the government wants to do makes sense, let it convince the poulation by persuasion rather than coercion. Coercion is what bullies use when they can't make a rational case for what they are proposing. Executives who issue illegal, immoral, or otherwise unconstitutional orders must be subject to immediate, permanent removal from office by the legislature. If, like New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, they want to threaten churches with "permanent" closure, then why shouldn't politicians be subject to permanent disqualification from office when they overstep their authority? Despots such as these aren't fit to be dog catcher-- even the dogs deserve better treatment that the populace has received in the last few months.

Legislators don't get a free pass here either; in many cases, they were complicit in the irresponsibility, either by explicitly approving emergency orders, or simply by saying and doing nothing while executives were arrogating power to themselves. Legislators need to have impressed upon them their duty to defend freedom and not merely to be a rubber-stamp for a power-hungry executive. Constitutions and charters need to be amended to make sure that they can be held accountable as well; we may need recall processes to make sure that legislators cannot be co-conspirators or mindless sheep when executives act unreasonably and unconstitutionally, and those recall processes must be swift and definitive. Even two years is a long time to wait under tyrannical rule for an election-- and suppose they cancel the election?

We also need to start dismantling big government and promote subsidiarity. This means that activities should be conducted at the lowest possible level of government-- if an activity even needs to be conducted by government at all. Today, we just have bloated government at all levels. We all know of examples of needless government waste. An ordinary citizen should hardly encounter government in his life at all unless he does something obviously wrong. Attorney Harvey Silverglate wrote a book Three Felonies a Day in which he argues that ordinary activity is being criminalized by vague, needlessly expansive statutes. We need to go back to the maxim "that government is best which governs least."

Another relatively small point is the endless display of government propaganda. Laws need to be passed, for example, to limit the displays on variable message signs on highways strictly to traffic conditions. Signs reading "stay home" and the like are not traffic conditions and are an offensive hijacking of something for an unrelated purpose. Bus shelters should not be hijacked either for the display of government propaganda-- a walk around Manhattan these days makes one yearn for the modest, un-electrified, wooden bus shelters that one typically sees in rural areas. Similarly, citizens should be wary of putting up their own signs echoing such sentiments. I don't need the local Walgreens to be an untamed shrew haranguing me to "wash my hands" as I drive past. That store will not see me inside for quite some time on account of that obnoxious display. Yes, we need to start using the boycott tool more effectively.

One possible way to avoid a complete economic collapse is to start rebuilding our industrial complex that we foolishly exported to China. There's no reason why China is the only country in the world that can manufacture a pair of computer speakers-- except that we have become too lazy to do so and have been content to import cheap junk. There's also no reason why the only country in the world that can write computer software is India; let's bring that trade back here as well. We used to be able to build almost anything; what on earth happened? Why are we dependent upon a hostile foreign power with an abysmal human rights record for the basics of life? We need to do this without making new tax laws; the tax code is already an abominable mess that needs to be pretty much junked. For a time, we may need tariffs or outright bans on trade with China, though that should be a last resort. If people voluntarily chose to seek goods not made in China, we wouldn't need laws to enforce it. Why does common sense need to be made into law?

Finally, the harshest words in this piece are reserved for the news media. They fomented the mass hysteria that gave the tyrants the opening they needed to get their feet in the door and cancel the freedoms for which this country stands. With few exceptions, they are highly derelict in their duties, the most irresponsible, useless, despicable group of all. What better way to get a captive audience than to promote a lockdown where too many people had nothing else to do but watch the media determined was the "news?" What's worse, they'll be the first to be jettisoned when the tyrants decide that these useful idiots are no longer needed. Least essential of all workers in the last few months, the most offensive thing was to see "news media" on the list of essential workers. They're the first who should have been sent home for what evil they did parrotting what the tyrants and their backers were saying. A free, independent news media is a wonderful-- dare I say essential-- institution worthy of the term "fourth estate," but when all they do is serve as a mouthpiece for government propaganda, we may as well not bother. Freedom is something to be used responsibly and in the pursuit of truth and justice, but our current news media largely ignore that mission in favor of their own power trips. I wish I had some solution to the problem of derelict, corrupt news media, but until the media as a whole cleans its act, every one of us can help simply by ignoring it.

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