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By Jay W. Richards, Ph.D., Executive Editor of The Stream, April 28, 2020
Jay W. Richards, Ph.D., is the Executive Editor of The Stream. He is an Assistant Research Professor in the School of Business and Economics at The Catholic University of America and a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute.
Americans take our liberty seriously. We have the idea of limited government enshrined in our founding documents. We say we don’t like the Nanny State. So, why did we agree without a fight or a protest to shelter-in-place orders? To a total lockdown?
It’s one thing to agree it would be best to work from home and avoid large crowds, or to quarantine people who are sick or at severe risk. It’s another for cities and states to order healthy, low-risk people not to go to work or church, or even to leave their houses, and to arrest them if they don’t comply. States can rightly do this only in the most extreme emergencies. Most Americans have never witnessed this, or anything like it — even in the middle of a hurricane.
Some have fretted that we complied because we’ve all become scared little snowflakes. Perhaps that explains part of it, but not much. After all, we knew in mid-March that the coronavirus poses little risk to children and healthy people under the age of 50. And we all take risks every time we leave the house. ….