Government Goes Too Far

I’m “social distancing.” I stay away from people.

I do it voluntarily.

There’s a big difference between voluntary — and force.

Government is force. The media want more of that.

“Ten states have no stay-at-home orders!” complains Don Lemon On CNN. “Some governors are still refusing to take action!”

Fox News’ host Steve Hilton agreed. “Shut things down! Everywhere. That includes Utah, Wyoming…”

But wait a second. People in Utah and Wyoming already socially distanced just by living there. Why must Utah and Wyoming have the same stay-at-home rules as New York?

I find it creepy how eager some people are for authorities to boss us around.

That’s the topic of my new video.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, people gathered to protest a “stay-at-home” order. The police arrested a protester and tweeted, “Protesting is a non-essential activity.”

I bet they got a chuckle out of that. But our Constitution guarantees Americans the right to “peaceably assemble” and “petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

The coronavirus doesn’t override the Constitution.

Protests also erupted in Michigan, where Gov. Gretchen Whitmer imposed some absurd rules. She declared, “All public or private gatherings of any size are prohibited.” Her executive order stopped people from seeing relatives and banned anyone with more than one home to travel between them.

Big-box stores are allowed to stay open, but they must not sell things like carpet, flooring, furniture, garden supplies, paint, etc. So, Walmart stores are open, but some of their shelves have tape blocking certain products.

That’s just dumb.

Gardening and painting can be done far away from other people.

So can exercise. But in California, police chased down and arrested a paddleboarder paddling in the ocean. He was far more than 6 feet away from anyone.

In Encinitas, California, police fined people $1,000 just for sitting in cars to watch the sunset at the beach. Yes, inside their cars. The police said, “We want compliance from everybody (because of) lives that we’re trying to save.”

But it’s not clear that demanding total compliance is the best way to save lives.

Sweden took a near-opposite approach.

Yes, they encouraged older people to stay inside and sick people to stay home. They didn’t want hospitals overwhelmed. But otherwise, Sweden is carrying on almost as normal.

“Closing schools, stringent measures like that, closing borders, you cannot do that for months or years,” said epidemiologist Anders Tegnell of the Swedish Health Agency. “What we are doing in Sweden we can continue doing for a very long time. I think that’s going to prove to be very important in the long run.”

The long run matters most.

Since a vaccine is probably at least a year away, the Swedes reason that the best protection is what epidemiologists call “herd immunity,” a critical mass of people who get the disease and then are resistant to it.

The hope is that once enough people get coronavirus, there will be enough immunity to prevent mass outbreaks later. Many of the most vulnerable may then be able to avoid ever getting the virus.

The jury is still out on this experiment. More than 1,500 Swedes have died, five times the death rate of neighboring Norway. But if Swedes acquire “herd immunity,” their death rate will be the first to drop.

Other European countries agree that lockdowns are not sustainable.

Last week, Denmark reopened nursery and elementary schools. Germany opened retail stores this week. Norway opens schools next week. Austria reopens shops to people who wear masks on May 1.

That seems smarter than the “absolute shutdown” promoted by so many American authorities. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has threatened to “shut off water and power” to homes of people who do not shelter in place.

Shut off water and power?

Politicians rush to limit our choices in the name of “keeping us safe.” They don’t even want to think about places like Sweden or the argument that leaving us alone might make us safer.

They just like pushing people around.

25 thoughts on “Government Goes Too Far

  1. It was looking like a civil war was on the horizon. Now, it’s more like a revolution is coming.

  2. And the people instead of demanding the government protect our rights, demands more people surrender theirs.

  3. Bug eyed creep Don Lemon and co are beholden to their msm overlords doing the devils work. These shut downs arenborde tyrannical!!! Thank you John for stating the obvious to any true American.

  4. Comrade Garcetti is threatening business not homes. Still wrong, offering rewards for turning in people. History indeed repeats itself.

  5. I retired, Nevertheless this doesn’t make me stupid. There is no way the current situation is sustainable. There are many people suffering in ways we cant imagine. There are working families that need to get back at it. Sweden’s take on the coronavirus is likely to be a better course.
    Any government sending 3 people out to arrest a paddle boarder because hes not in self isolation shows you it not about the coronavirus. This is about control.
    Scary time these are!

  6. I live in New Mexico. We were only in the second week of schools (and “non-essential” businesses) being closed that the governor called off school for the rest of the academic year and extended the “safe at home” orders through the end of April. I just received an update on my jury summons today saying jury trials won’t be held through May 29! Before all of this started, I was working (practically every day) as a substitute teacher. I was looking forward to my jury duty starting April 27, but now that potential income source is also delayed. It’s time to start the process of opening up again. We can’t all keep living like we’re in plastic bubbles for much longer.

    1. the biggest, but definitely not only, problem with your estimation is a 4% mortality rate which at this point we know to be about 40 times what it actually will be. not to mention that the number of deaths currently being recorded is greatly exaggerated; for instance, in NY deaths aren’t recorded from covid-19 but “with” covid-19. every year, we (america) average about 45,000 deaths from flu and never thought about shutting anything down for it. therefore, over 10 years close to a 1/2 million have died from the flu even with a vaccine! i, also, don’t think relaxing our precautions includes not wearing masks and not washing hands…relaxing to me is to allow me and everyone to practice their religion and buy paint or vegetable seeds!

  7. Hello John,
    Your article today was right on the spot, until you started talking about COVID-19 Natural Herd Immunity. This is a flawed argument for the re-opening of our economy, like Trump’s “Chloroquine Miracle Treatment”.
    We do not know (yet) what is the critical herd immunity level for COVID-19 that we have to achieve before we consider it “safe to relax our simple precautions” like wearing mask, washing our hands and not coughing on anybody’s face. For measles it is 99%.
    Let us guess 80% (low estimate for this highly infectious virus). This is about 250 million infected Americans, not counting tourists (harbinger of diseases). With just 4% mortality, this is over 10 million dead Americans from COVID-19, before we achieve that critical herd immunity — if, and IF, past infection (“recovered from disease”) is a guarantee of total immunity (like chickenpox), which we know is also not proven yet. Are you willing to sacrifice 10 million Americans dead, for natural herd immunity?
    You already mentioned a solution: vaccines. Or, isolating known cases (requires widespread testing like South Korea and Iceland).

    A fan, Libertarian, Texan and a Physician,
    Henry Imperial, MD

  8. Mr. Stossel you are the last true American journalist who speaks the truth and is not afraid to call BS when you see it. I’ve watched you for years and whenever I need the correct version I go straight to you sir. Thank you for all you do and keep up the good work.

  9. In Wa. State the Supreme Court will hear a case to empty prisons tomorrow while the governor says protests are “insubordination” and “illegal actvity”. I want to know why mayors and governors can violate the constitution without a declaration of martial law?

    1. I don’t believe I recall anywhere in the US Constitution that even Martial Law can override the Rights and Liberties protected by the Constitution…

  10. Herd immunity will win out over forced social distancing and this so-called vaccine they’re working on in the long run. And I believe fewer lives will be lost by far with the herd immunity approach. But those that are in control or are trying to right this into their agenda don’t want that. They want even more deaths, which will definitely be the case when this makes its big comeback in the Fall along with our normal flu season, a super double whammy so to speak! Those countries and areas that have developed immunity through the herd concept will then only have to deal with the flu and other natural more common deaths, losing few, while the rest of the planet is decimated losing hundreds of thousands. We can not allow this to happen in the United States 🇺🇸!

  11. I can understand why government is so vague about when the stay-at-home/shelter-in-place GUIDELINES will end; it’s because they don’t have enough data to be specific. So, where did they get the data that says staying at home is an effective way to stop or slow COVID-19? Or any virus, for that matter. As far as I know, none exists. There is no data to support these guidelines, aside from the ones that say washing your hands is a good idea, and that coughing or sneezing on someone isn’t.

  12. If government can take away your rights away and give them back to you whenever it wants, then you have zero rights, you just have permissions.

    Iman Tawhidi

  13. The longer we stay at home penned up like animals waiting for slaughter,the longer we’re giving the government to take away more of our rights. We elected them, they work for us,no matter what they lead us to believe. They are nothing more then what we ,the people,allow them to be. Until we get a lot less complacent we will continue to freefall into socializam. The everything is going to be fine,take this stimulas check, can’t shut off your power or gas or cable and take some free time on your phone service plan is the perfect way for the government to own us. Just remember that nothing you get from the government is free. There is always a day of reconning. Get this country back to work before it’s too late

  14. I would wager if a vaccine comes available for covid-19, a large portion of the population won’t get it (by choice). And it will be about as effective at the flu vaccine. 2017-18 Flu season we had 45 million infected, 810,000 hospitalized and 61,000 deaths. At the peak of that years flu season 4,000+ deaths per week. And that is with a vaccine being available.

  15. Department stores like Macy should be ordering their fall lines now but their not. That affects the viability of many, many businesses. Others businesses that have struggled like Red Robin, Appleby,’s, etc may never reopen after the “lockdown” is lifted. If the governors continue to rule by edit like they have been we’re looking at a very different America when things “get back to normal”.

  16. Implementing fear and confusion extends power to the ones causing chaos….the empty stimulus package empowers them even more and leaves the poor population begging for more and willing to surrender liberty

  17. What Mr. Stossel fails to mention in this article is that Denmark and Germany both have procured all needed PPE AND wide spread testing. Also, virus related hospitalizations in both countries is on the decline, leaving space for those who will still get infected.

  18. I say that if cited for exercising your Constitution right of free association and movement, request a jury trial for every violation. It’s your right. Clog the courts with these cases. We’ll see who blinks first.

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