Shelter in Place: Is This How We Want to Live?

Paul Dean
Paul Dean
2020 3 Apr

When I saw the jets fly into the twin towers and those towers subsequently collapse, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was one of those things I didn’t think possible. I was wrong. I also thought that moment couldn’t be surpassed in terms of shock. But I was wrong on that too. I’m living in one of those moments now. I never would have thought it possible to get the world to voluntarily shut down over night. It’s unimaginable that we would voluntarily tank our economy. But here we are.

The New Normal

Bretigne Shaffer describes our situation at the moment: “As I write this, I am no longer ‘allowed’ to frequent businesses the state has deemed to be ‘nonessential.’ Doing so has been prohibited by a man who has the power to shut down an entire economy with the stroke of a pen. Meanwhile, the mayor of a neighboring city has said that water and power will be turned off for any of these ‘nonessential’ businesses that do not comply with the order. . . We now have to stand in line to get into the grocery store, are only able to purchase limited quantities of food and other supplies, and the California National Guard has been activated. . . to help ‘distribute… food and medical supplies…’ among other tasks.”

This state of affairs raises what rises to the level of an ultimate question: is this how we want to live? According to Judge Andrew Napolitano, the State has no right to do what they’re doing. It’s unconstitutional. And yet, while I’m not confined to my home like my daughter and son-in-law are in another state, I went to four grocery stores yesterday before I gave up my search on the item I needed. There are some businesses that will be completely gone when this is over. That’s tragic for those business-owners, but it also affects the rest of us who’ll have to do without the goods and services we’ve come to count on from them. What possible reason is there to let others make decisions for us? What possible reason is there to give the State power to shut down your business?

The Scapegoat

I know, some will say, because Coronavirus. Quarantining like we are has never stopped viruses from spreading. It might slow them down, but only good hygiene has been effective historically. Take a look at what Hong Kong is doing, and they seem to be proving the point. Regardless, as Shaffer points out, there is much debate over that issue and what the socio-economic cost will be and just how deadly COVID-19 actually is.

So again, we have to ask is this the kind of world we want to live in? Personal liberty is tossed aside as if it’s just a selfish luxury says Shaffer. But what’s selfish is the impulse to control others, whether personally or through the State. In fact, its pure evil. On cue, the red herring that saving lives is more important is run out there. Why don’t we ask the State to ban cars then? Or swimming pools? Or alcohol? Of course, when we banned alcohol, we learned that unintended consequences are often worse than the original problem. And that’s the case here. President Trump was right when he said the cure is worse than the disease. It’s too bad he’s done an about face on that.

The State, Our Enemy

“Do we want to live lives in which we get to make our own choices and decisions, or do we want to live the kind of lives where our choices are made for us, by some centralized authority?” We can’t live this way and honor God or one another. The rights to life and liberty are rights given by God. Violence against others like shutting down one’s ability to earn a living is evil and therefore dishonors God. In fact, it’s an attack on God Himself (Gen. 9:6). It’s unloving to our neighbor. What’s happening now is not only unconstitutional, it violates the two great commandments to love God and neighbor.

And now we learn the US Government is already making plans with Google, Facebook, and others to track our movements and our health status via cell phones and a nation-wide snitch network via phone apps in which people are asked to tag anyone they see exhibiting signs of illness or failing to social distance. Bill Gates is saying we’ll have digital certificates indicating our health and vaccine status. That certificate will be required to gain access to certain places and services. Is this how we want to live?

History proves that the State arrogates more power to itself during times of crisis. Essential liberties are suspended for the sake of resolving the crisis. Yet, the State never gives up the power its gained or the liberties it’s stolen. But that’s the world we’re being handed right now. As noted, we’ve never seen this big a power grab before. The question is, what are we going to do about it?

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