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OPINION

Political power is problem, not solution

Posted on October 23, 2021

OpinionColumns

Thomas L. Knapp

Thomas L. Knapp

President Joe Biden wants the Occupational Safety & Health Administration to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all workers at companies with more than 100 employees. Local governments from sea to shining sea, including those of New York City and San Francisco, have conscripted business owners as “vaccination passport” inspectors, forbidding them to serve customers whose papers aren’t in order.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, on the other hand, are attempting to mandate that businesses may not condition employment or patronage on being vaccinated.

The two types of mandates may strike you as very different, but in reality, there’s no difference at all.

The politicians involved are authoritarians. Their COVID-19 power games are about power, not about COVID-19.

Authoritarian politicians and bureaucrats have spent the last year and a half using the pandemic as an excuse to seize more control over our lives than they ever enjoyed before.

Now they’re loath to give up that power, casting about for any excuse to hold onto it and expand it even further. The corollary of “never let a crisis go to waste” is “never let a crisis end if there’s any way to keep it going.”

Meanwhile, an economy they cratered with their “public health” measures — none of which have worked as advertised — teeters on the edge.

You’ve seen the empty shelves at your local stores. You’ve seen the yellow “out of gas” bags at your local gas stations. You’ve seen the “limited hours” and “drive-thru only” signs at your local fast-food restaurants.

Authoritarian politicians and bureaucrats can’t fix those problems. They caused those problems, and anything they do other than sitting down, shutting up and staying out of the way will make those problems worse, not better.

Worse, not better, is almost certainly where we’re going. Things are shaping up for a crash that may well make the Great Depression look like a pleasure cruise.

And when that crash comes, most Americans will probably willingly cede even more power and more authority to those whose power and authority brought the crash about, to “fix” it.

Because, as we all know, the way to get your car repaired is to shove a wad of money at the kid who stole it, took it out for a joyride and wrapped it around a telephone pole.

Life won’t get better until we get one fact through our heads: political government is our enemy, not our friend.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

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