President Trump just designated a white supremacist group as extremists, but the latest extremist spotlight goes to a number of states in the union, which are putting into effect overreaching laws concerning quarantines while fighting the coronavirus.
In a bid to protect citizens from coronavirus, some elected leaders have taken quarantine to a whole new level by innovating what proper isolation looks like and punishing those who do not adapt to their oftentimes arbitrary new set of rules.
Some of the new preventative measures seem to be pulled right off the pages of the most dystopian fiction — from Black Mirror’s robot technology to keep populations orderly to Orwellian certification that a citizen is properly categorized and approved.
Insane. Police are using drones to enforce social distancing by spying on Americans in their backyards. Police chief says invasion of privacy is worth it “if it saves one life.” At a certain point even the most obsequious bootlickers will have had enough
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) April 20, 2020
Law enforcement is already relying on drone surveillance technology to ensure social distancing (ironically, quite a bit of that technology comes from China). Drones may also be deployed to detect fevers and coughing.
Within the U.S. and abroad, there’s conversation about requiring individuals to have a certificate that validates a successful coronavirus antibody test in order to return to work, travel or otherwise move about in public day to day life. While regulation of individual movement is already being controlled by the state, local officials are also directing citizens to activate themselves as surveillance extensions of the state.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garrett encouraged residents to report neighbors who violate the stay-at-home order, going so far as to say that “snitches” will be rewarded. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio suggested residents submit non-compliance reports directly to the state by snapping a photo of businesses that fail to offer adequate social distancing or in fact have done “anything” that displeases the customer during the coronavirus outbreak.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 18, 2020
Google, often first in helping authoritarian rule boot stomp a population, has also risen to the occasion.
Anyone believe you consented to get your location tracked and for the government to receive the data “to help fight coronavirus”?https://t.co/oSol4iCx6e
— Omar Qudrat (@omarqudrat1) April 14, 2020
The question is: How far do these measures get taken in our American democracy? One thing is certain: In the 40 days of quarantine, we’ve witnessed exactly how happy certain government officials are to exact them.
In Los Angeles, a paddle boarder was cited for paddle boarding in a completely deserted beach. A Venice skateboarding park was filled with sand to encourage social distancing.
California is filling their skate parks with sand to make them unusable amid mandated lockdown.
There is no scientific or medical rationale for this.
This has nothing to do with a virus.
This has nothing to do with protecting people.
This is about power.pic.twitter.com/jXEaiPUk2e
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) April 18, 2020
In Colorado, a father was handcuffed in front of his six-year-old daughter for not adequately social distancing while throwing a ball in a park.
In San Diego, you can be fined for having picnic or watching the sunset, even while fully distanced from other people in your car.
San Diego police issued 22 fines for up $1000, for people watching the sunset from their cars https://t.co/4vURlHiT23
— ✭ Wayne Dupree 😷 (@WayneDupreeShow) April 18, 2020
Faith has also been on the chopping block under government overreach during coronavirus quarantines. It seems Americans can’t participate in a socially distanced drive-in church without being threatened with citations and a blatant cancellation of their First Amendment rights.
Video from Pastor Hamilton of King James Bible Baptist Church in Greenville, MS. Church tried the “drive-in” method of holding services & were targeted due to the Mayor issuing an order prohibiting such services. Watch as an officer tells the Pastor that his rights are suspended. pic.twitter.com/zLdT6Qd8ew
— Nick Short 🇺🇸 (@PoliticalShort) April 11, 2020
The above incident in Greenville wasn’t an isolated occurrence, either.
Federal district court: “Louisville has targeted religious worship by prohibiting drive-in church services, while not prohibiting a multitude of other non-religious drive-ins and drive-throughs — including, for example, drive-through liquor stores.” https://t.co/VR4JpVl6sc
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 13, 2020
Senator Ted Cruz has been at the forefront of calling out the absurdities of governments in their efforts to stop the spread of the disease, In an op-ed for the New York Post, Cruz blasted petty authoritarianism:
“Stay-at-home orders must not become tools for opportunistic authoritarians. To be constitutional, these orders must be narrowly tailored to restrain only those activities that pose a significant risk to the public health.”
Of note is that government overreach has not extended to inmates, many of whom have been released over concerns of a coronavirus outbreak in prison populations. Over 1,400 inmates were granted early release in New York City alone. In late March, the Los Angeles sheriff’s department culled about 10 percent of it’s inmate population, releasing 1,700 prisoners, adding to L.A.’s burgeoning homeless population since many of the released had no home to go back to.
Within weeks that number escalated to 4,000, releasing up to 25% of the inmate population even though only 11 inmates had been infected with coronavirus.
Americans, fed up with government overreach, are beginning to rise in protest, most notably in Michigan where Governor Gretchen Whitmer placed a restriction on stores selling gardening seeds but not on the purchase of drugs and alcohol.
While the mainstream media is busy identifying protests across Michigan, Kentucky and Ohio as Right-wing extremism, the bigger picture tells a different story.
Thousands of protesters, some displaying guns alongside Confederate and Trump flags, rallied against Michigan’s extended stay-at-home orders.
— AJ+ (@ajplus) April 16, 2020
While it’s true that race supremacists are using the crisis to further their goals, the larger truth is that most people are simply reacting to the disproportionate government response to the virus — and it is disfiguring their relationship with the rule of law.
These protests didn’t start because people were told to stay home. They started when government started telling them they couldn’t buy garden seeds & child car seats or go for a walk alone with no one around. It’s a reaction to overreach.
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) April 20, 2020
When laws regarding coronavirus quarantines can change on a county-by-county basis, there is little uniformity in the rule of law. Add unconstitutional violations of First Amendment rights to that mix as well as arbitrary enforcement of those laws, paired with new ordinances that violate common sense.
A functioning society needs a single unifying language, and that language is a shared law. That law is upheld when there is trust in law enforcement as well as the elected officials who determine codes of law.
Yet, when quarantines appear to be determined by political agendas and whims, our governing social order falls into the realm of radicalization — the belief that there is only one way to live.
When that belief system is enforced through law at the cost of our foundational freedoms, that is extremism — forcing others to live by a radical belief.
So while a spotty batch of protests might feel like a demonstration of extremism — and while some race supremacists are piggy-backing off those opportunities — the real extremism here is government overreach.
Absent a tangible, common sense solution, what we’re witnessing by just day 40 of the quarantine is nothing short of a cultural and political experiment.
It’s also an experiment being closely watched by foreign enemies, many of whom are simply waiting to outlast the United States.
For America to survive, it must remain true to its foundational principles. The U.S. Constitution should not be undercut during this crisis; it must stand absolute.