The Corner

U.S.

The Lockdowns Are Now a Scandal

Demonstrators take part in a protest in Los Angeles, Calif., June 3, 2020. (Patrick T. Fallon/Reuters)

A boy in my neighborhood committed suicide a few weeks ago. It’s possible that the teen’s preexisting problems were exacerbated by the seclusion, tediousness, and helplessness of a national lockdown. Maybe not. I didn’t really know him. I do know that locals were forced to pay respects by sitting parked cars in the local Catholic church’s parking lot. Friends of the devastated family couldn’t hug the aggrieved parents. They couldn’t enter the church and pray together for their community. Scenes like this play out across the country.

At first, most Americans self-quarantined without being forced because, in large part, we’re a conscientious people and the argument for flattening the curve was a rational one. Soon, however, we were being told that wandering into the non-essential part of a local grocery store to buy vegetable seeds put every American life in mortal danger. Irrational and platitudinous arguments — “If we can save one life, we should!” — began making an appearance.

Next we were being forced to comply with the diktats of mayors and governors. No legislatures. No votes. No questions. Those who spoke up were stifled by social media or smeared by normal media as a death cult — even as virtually every prediction offered by alleged experts and journalists about the consequences of reopening turned out to be wrong. I’ve yet to hear a coherent explanation as to why a governor can act like a dictator over 100,000 deaths, but not 60,000 or 30,000 or 5,000?

Last week, the media, politicians, and many experts decided that every argument they made for destroying the lives of millions of people in America could be deferred to advance a preferred political cause. It is worth remembering that the same people who now claim that clearing out Lafayette Park is tantamount to the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre were championing the closing down of churches across the entire country only a week ago.

Not a single governor or mayor has tried to shut down protests themselves, even though BLM marchers are breaking the very edicts they signed. Nay, many of these officials march themselves, and invite others to participate. The despicable mayor of New York who threatened to sic the police on a dozen peaceful Yeshiva students only a couple of weeks ago now invites people to march by thousands.

Indeed, the same politicians who destroyed your business and livelihood — and the pundits and reporters who called you murderers for wanting to save it — are now making value judgments on when and where you should be allowed to practice your freedoms. By fiat, they decide who has rights based on skin color or ideology, and who is not worthy of them. It is a massive scandal.

David Harsanyi is a senior writer for National Review and the author of First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History with the Gun

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