All valid, important points worth deliberating…
Civil Liberties Matter More Than Ever in a Pandemic
This is not the time to stop asking questions.
1 in 5 Americans have been ordered to stay home. Major states and cities have been shut down.
Our response to the coronavirus represents the biggest challenge to the relationship between individuals and the government in this country since the Civil War, WW1 or WW2. These decisions will likely be debated by scholars and historians the way that the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act, the Espionage Act, Japanese internment camps, and other emergency decisions continue to be litigated.
A generation ago, the ACLU might have had something to say about the civil liberties implications of shelter-in-place orders. That was a different ACLU that at least pretended to care about civil liberties as an objective value, defending the civil rights of people it disagreed with. The new ACLU is an identity politics zombie whose only civil liberties concerns for the coronavirus response is that illegal aliens won’t be able to enter the country and that prison inmates should be released as quickly as possible.
The ACLU’s position on the coronavirus is that, “individual rights must sometimes give way to the greater good. After all, when it comes to disease, we are not just individuals but also one big bio-mass.”
“A disease cares little for our notions of individualism,” the former civil liberties organization argues.
That is no doubt true. But we don’t run our society from the perspective of a disease. And we don’t ask civil libertarians to mind-meld with viruses. Once upon a time, the ACLU might have asked what the Constitution thought of a policy. Now it asks what a disease thinks of the United States of America. And to the disease, the ACLU, and the Left, we’re one big bio-mass collective with no room for individualism.
Meanwhile the ACLU has missed the civil liberties debate over what an “essential” establishment is. Shelter-in-place and other variants of the same term list the local definition of what is considered an essential or non-essential establishment. There is, as of yet, no formal federal definition.
Are liquor stores essential? They are in New York, New Jersey, St. Louis and Michigan. But not in Pennsylvania. Pot stores were deemed essential in California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.