If you think this country hasn’t already started choosing who gets “ventilators”—i.e., life-sustaining support—maybe think again.
Twenty-five years ago, I was diagnosed with autoimmune conditions. I’ve been living for the better part of 15 years very successfully, almost as though I was never diagnosed with them. I’ve done so because of alternative medical modalities and lifestyle that re-train my brain and body to react properly instead of abnormally.
My state government just shut those medical modalities of therapy down as “elective.” I beg to differ.
There’s a Facebook post circulating widely that calls us to understand and protect those with autoimmune diseases and vulnerabilities and to stay home for their sake. It has many truths in it, many I don’t want to dismiss. It’s relevant, but it’s not the whole story. As someone who has suffered painful illnesses and injuries, one after another, my heart overflows with compassion for the ill. And to those who’ve tried everything and nothing has brought relief or proper immunity, I hear you. You have special needs right now.
My autoimmune illnesses have been managed by alternative, “elective” therapists, and now I can’t get to them because of a public cry to shut everything down for the sake of those with…autoimmune illnesses. What? With the exception of one surgery and one drug in 25 years of major ailments, mainstream medicine hasn’t helped me. But hundreds (thousands?) of hours of education and alternative medical treatments and lifestyle changes actually gave me results–great results, results I’d like to keep up.
I am simply telling my story. I am not bashing mainstream medicine. I’ve been grateful for drugs and surgery completely, on a few occasions. There are times. Everything has a use and purpose. But my story—and I believe there are many more of you who could say you need “electives” to be well—has been dismissed as unimportant by government control in the name of helping sustain life.
The irony of control is always in the double standards.
And calling consequences “unforeseen” each time government (or any person or entity) oversteps its bounds and controls that which it has no right to, should be called foreseeable if it happens predictably in some way, shape or form every time. We may not know the exact negative repercussions that will stem from the stripping of Constitutional rights, but we can know for darn sure they will happen every.single.time.
I’m a single mom with an elementary school aged child. I have been running errands for two elderly parents’ households (sorry mom and dad, may I say elderly?). I am a business owner, and as of this morning I don’t know how much of my business is punishable by state police were I to operate it.
I’m not playing a violin for myself (well, maybe a little, because Big Brother is a bully). I’m sending a cry to generations to be afraid of the correct thing, if you’re going to be afraid of anything today. Our Founders knew nothing was worse than government reach extending beyond what it should, and they went to the trouble of starting their own country and writing explicit documents so we wouldn’t forget it. Many have laid down their lives, and do so to this day, so that governments could and would not control people (control being a primary definition of abuse, by the way). How can history repeat itself so many times and yet mankind still inevitably slip into the same voluntary, undisputed subservience to government that has created rebellion after revolution after rebellion after revolution?
It’s fear of temporary and temporal circumstances, that’s how.
Fear of what could happen to us by chance and circumstance seems to scream louder in our heads than fear of what is guaranteed to happen to us if we give up our inalienable right to freedom. How can we allow the urgent to drown out the essential like that? Freedom from government control is inalienable because it’s crucial. It’s crucial because it’s Natural Law, so nothing works when we don’t observe it (read Judge Napolitano for brilliance on this subject). We may get a virus; we will destroy our nation if we allow a virus (pick any issue, because it’s not specific to this one) to intimidate us into giving excessive control to the government. History has verified it with 100% consistency.
I think it happens like this…. Fear of transient trials steals our fortitude and self-agency; we want someone else to save us, to ease the pain and challenge, to be responsible and smart in our place when we feel lost or unable (or are simply wrongly educated that submission is required), so we create a lasting problem out of a temporary one. And there will always be those ready to assume our individually abdicated thrones. And the ones who would want to crawl onto them are generally the ones ready to control and condescend without compunction, being all too happy to take over and talk down. Then after that initial transference of agency, we’re increasingly stuck. Control doles out a punishment that makes submission to continued control the easier and safer route in the short-term (never true in the long-term), and the cycle spins round and round, escalating. Abdication, control, punishment, less freedom, no real salvation, abdication, control, punishment, less freedom….
But it can never be endured forever. People eventually awaken to the fact that there’s no price too high to regain freedom from control, and they fight back (ideally with civil disobedience, but it has required more historically).
How about I say what I don’t mean by this, to head off some critics? I’m not for anarchy. I believe governments have a valid role, including protection of its borders and punishment for those who actually do wrong with intent or gross negligence (not those wishing to have medical therapies or give them). Also, without being forced, I would (and always am) considerate of the world at large when my household is ill. And I do see a clear reason during this pandemic to be much more careful than usual, to care for and value the lives of our elderly and the wee ones, in particular. That, in fact, is exactly what I’m trying to do by putting my oxygen mask on first. That, in fact, is what the government is stopping me from doing, in the name of saving my or another’s life (again, the irony and double standards of controlling measures). That, in fact, is why trying to force everyone to be a good guy never works. The good guys always pay for the mass revocation of liberties. It can’t be helped. And the bad guys still won’t comply, because that’s what bad guys do. So, almost nothing is gained, and a lot is lost.
So I will work at my health with all the other tips and tricks I’ve learned over the course of 25 years. I’ve actually had to do so for the past year for other reasons and done so mostly successfully, until now. Now I need treatments to fully get back on my feet. And now, they say no, you may not. My body takes more support to maintain strength and functionality. I will pray that it holds out without treatments for as long as they are unavailable. I don’t know if my body will fall back into immune abnormality without my bodywork, making me more susceptible to COVID-19 or inability to function day-to-day. I don’t know who else’s body will succumb to COVID-19. I don’t really want to find out on either front. But as a constituency, are we OK with government deciding whose lives are most important (the stuff of historical nightmares)? Mine’s not more important, but it isn’t less important either.
These are foreseeable “unforeseen” consequences of a human, fallible government with limited scope and perspective deciding in broad generalizations what is best for an entire people group, down to the minutia of everyday life, in the name of the greater good. It always produces these results. Always. Dictatorships have never worked. Leadership has. Leadership understands that it doesn’t help one citizen by hurting another—that people best help neighbors from a position of strength. The difference between dictatorship and leadership is control and punishment, which should be reserved for wrongdoers, but never is when the sledge-hammer of control is swung over a land. The swing of that heavy metal smashes goodwill, self-initiative and freedom to self- and other-sustain in the multitudes of right-doers cut off at the knees.
I hear the popular answer flying at me, But their right-doing is to stay home and stay away from people in this case! Maybe in a lot of cases, maybe most. But I say with uber-confidence that there are many, many, many people during a crisis like this who are far more damaged by distance than proximity. A balance has to be struck if we are going to value everyone’s lives. Everyone’s.
The foreseeable consequence of control, then, is that some people are guaranteed loss so that other people might possibly maybe win. I want everyone to win, but that’s not real life. And when the government says, You all stop everything, stop life, we’ll make it all run right, and we’ll take care of you, every one of you just right, worry not, it’s time to start worrying. Be very wary. That’s not real life either. Problems are not escaped or solved by abdication, especially not to one tiny centralized group of individuals with nothing to lose when they enact controls. And you can be certain the best they can and are doing is picking winners and losers when they purport to save the day. You may be on the winning side this time, but next time….? This is why we can’t silence our daily voices and choices, thinking government will successfully coordinate them all for us. Government isn’t capable. If you’ve ever managed even a small organization, you understand.
I do believe in the healing modalities I’ve chosen for my body and their carry-over effects. And I’m a fighter (although disabilities happen even so). I believe on faith that with God’s help I’ll be able to parent, carry out the mandated homeschooling, continue to help protect my parents, keep a business going and sustain life that I’m responsible for over here in my little corner of the world. I will pray for my own immune system to continue on in the new way it’s been trained to, despite its historical tendencies. But I suspect many of you reading this may have argued that those who contract coronavirus should have treatment, not only prayers and hope and faith. I’d like it, too.
This virus poses a threat, yes. And if you can just STOP and be still, then do voluntarily sacrifice elective things to make it happen out of love and consideration, certainly.
But, government, please don’t forcibly take the “ventilators” off many of us in order to hand them to others. Let us know and decide for our own lives what “electives” are to sustain our lives. You aren’t qualified for that role. And what we don’t need piled on top of unavoidable threats (who might unpredictably get sick) are avoidable ones (who you predictably make sick by limiting freedom). God bless the medical practitioners risking themselves and treating the ill and saving lives. But God also bless the people who are having their strength and stability stripped away who could also help those hurting (economically and physically) in other important ways. God stop us from ruining masses to save some, if indeed that’s what over-control means in this case. I pray I’m praying the wrong prayer in that last sentiment.
I voice my conscientious objection today and echo Ben Franklin’s cry to his own generation, “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
We’re either free or we’re not. We are walking a path that will eventually force a decision when government controls everything private at will.
I assure you that I’m not talking about hangnails and headaches when I say I’ve had illnesses and injuries. I’m not saying, Make me perfectly comfortable at the risk of someone else’s life. There were years and years of debilitation, which mainstream medical doctors said I wouldn’t overcome, which have been overcome and mostly kept at bay. I can’t protect myself from my illnesses by my practitioners or me just staying home. It might work for coronavirus but not for what ails me. And right now the government is gambling with my health and livelihood both on the odds that sacrificing me will possibly help another. If there’s no reason-ability, logic, irony or statistical problem in that for you, then we will have to agree to disagree.
Certain autoimmune sufferers need certain medical or lifestyle remedies, and others need different ones; we’d all love extra protection, because we feel vulnerable, yes. As for me, I appreciate it if you assist my plight out of consideration, but I’m not entitled and you’re not obligated. But I do insist on the freedom to take responsibility for myself with my chosen remedial protections and therapies. If the therapists themselves want to shut down for their own protection, I wish them well, and they should have that right. But some of my practitioners are frustrated because they, too, got into their fields to help people and know how much we need them in order to live.
I almost didn’t speak up. I’ve heard the arguments out there that this kind of thinking is selfish. But since when has taking responsibility for self and wishing for constitutional freedoms been selfish? It boggles my mind, really. I believe that owning your own health, modifying your own life and managing your own challenges instead of asking everyone else to falter so you can stand is the exact opposite of selfish.
Some distance is needed by some. Some therapies are needed by others. Some income is needed by all (some understanding that money doesn’t grow on government trees would aid that pursuit). What weathers a crisis successfully is some of this, some of that, some of the other thing and as many of our brains and actions working together voluntarily as possible, without our hands tied behind our backs. And if all but the top government officials and a few medical professionals have no freedom to implement intelligence, common sense, concern for others and understanding of their own life-sustaining needs while hunkered down, we’ve got a skewed setup, folks.
I hope this pandemic is the straw that breaks the camel’s back of government control, opening eyes, bringing at least one fortunate lesson out of one very unfortunate circumstance. The silver lining is the beauty of every storm. But I don’t see the glint of silver just yet….
With Hope and Heart in Hand,
Presented by Writer’s Block Prose, LLC