Insight

Reopen America Now

Josh Hammer

By Josh Hammer

Published March 5, 2021

Reopen America Now

On Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced they would be lifting their statewide mask-wearing mandates, business capacity limitations and various other COVID-19-related restrictions. "COVID still exists," Abbott said, "but it is clear from the recoveries, from the vaccinations, from the reduced hospitalizations and from the safe practices that Texans are using that state mandates are no longer needed."

Texans and Mississippians might be forgiven for wondering why their governors did not earlier follow the courageous path of South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who has garnered national headlines for her stubborn refusal to enact various mask-wearing mandates and other lockdown orders. But still: Better late than never.

Abbott now joins Florida's standout governor, Ron DeSantis, who recently finished second behind former President Donald Trump at the 2024 presidential straw poll conducted at the Conservative Political Action Conference, as a fellow leader of a highly populous red/red-leaning state who has dared to defy the histrionic groupthink and draconian lifestyle restrictions that have far too often defined America's COVID-19 response. DeSantis' leadership on getting Florida back to seminormal again (the conference itself, normally held outside Washington, D.C., was held in Orlando, Florida, this year due to laxer COVID-19 restrictions) has dramatically elevated his national political profile. Abbott, a less surefire 2024 presidential contender, similarly stands to politically benefit, at least within the Lone Star State.

President Joe Biden, never known for his eloquence, lambasted Abbott and Reeves for making a "big mistake" and succumbing to "Neanderthal thinking." But federalism is a stubborn thing, and Uncle Joe has no say in how Texas and Mississippi exercise — or don't exercise, as the case may be — their "police power" regulatory authority over their respective citizenries.

In reality, though, it is Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci and the ruling class's myriad other lockdown apologists who evince something closer to "Neanderthal" logic. For they are the ones who, a full year after the explosion of unprecedented restrictions on our most rudimentary of rights, would seek to continue circumscribing those rights — freedom to worship, freedom to associate and so forth — in the name of a virus with a recovery rate of 98% to 99%.

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Remember the Trump White House's "15 Days to Slow the Spread" program? That was now approximately 350 days ago. And while the issue of hospital capacity overload — sold by the ruling class to the masses as the singular putative justification for lockdown restrictions — continues to merit close attention, the national landscape at this point has changed substantially.

"Operation Warp Speed," one of the greatest public-private partnership success stories in American history, has now given way to a tremendous, if a bit disorganized, vaccine distribution rollout across the 50 states. We may not reach herd immunity soon, and we may not match our Israeli friends in terms of staggering distribution efficiency, but we are rapidly approaching the point in which the elderly, immunocompromised and otherwise-vulnerable will be vaccinated.

At the outset of the pandemic, I joined others in taking a cautionary approach. If ever there were a time to countenance short-term restrictions on cherished liberties to better protect the elderly and secure the common good, this would have been it. But it quickly became obvious that far too many politicians of both parties saw fit to follow the all-too-candid advice of former Chicago Mayor and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."

By prolonging the mandates, restrictions and lockdowns far past their natural expiration date, power-hungry politicians have also exacerbated fractious class tensions. COVID-19 lifestyle restrictions do not impact our well-educated ruling class, which can get by just fine working white-collar jobs from the socially distanced comfort of a home office, but they have destroyed countless small businesses and sidelined innumerable blue-collar workers.

Combined with the fact that the pandemic seemingly provides many Democratic governors, such as New York's Andrew Cuomo and California's Gavin Newsom, with a fig leaf to crack down on religious service attendance, it is difficult to see how the common good is being well served.

The long-term effects of the COVID-19 lockdowns are unknowable, but the medium-term effects are already clear. We have self-induced economic carnage, a child development calamity, a spiritual disaster and a mental health crisis. Maybe this made sense for a very short period of time. But that period of time is very clearly over.

By all means, continue to take sanitation precautions. It's not yet time to throw away the hand sanitizer or burn your masks. But it is long past time to reopen America. Kudos to Texas and Mississippi for leading the way.

(COMMENT, BELOW)


Previously:
02/26/21 Politicized 'Science' Is Not Science at All
02/12/21 The Limits of 'Free Speech'
01/29/21 Populism's irony is not lost on the non-elietes
01/25/21 The Conservative Path Forward in the Biden-Harris Era
01/15/21 Trump's Parting Shot To China Should Be Full U.S. Recognition of Taiwan
12/31/20 It Can't Get Any Worse Than 2020. Here's a 2021 Political Wish List
12/18/20 Immigration Politics Went Away During COVID-19. It's Coming Back
12/11/20 Hunter Biden Saga Personifies Ruling Class Power and Conceit
12/04/20 There's No Stopping America's Political Realignment
11/13/20 Biden's Student Loan Forgiveness Plan Is Idiotic and Immoral
11/06/20 The Election Battle Is Just Beginning
10/30/20 The Closing Argument for the American Regime
10/23/20 How to Prepare for a Contested Election
10/16/20 Will Conservatives Finally Awaken to the Big Tech Threat?
10/09/20 Biden-Harris Would Deal a Huge Blow to Religious Liberty
10/02/20 The Do-or-Die Moment for the Trump Presidency
09/25/20 Republicans, Confirm a Supreme Court Justice Immediately
09/18/20 Where Does Never Trump Now Stand?
09/11/20 Where Is Joe Biden's Supreme Court List?
09/04/20 The Dems Hold the Nation Hostage
08/31/20 Trump and Netanyahu Debunk the Failed Consensus
08/21/20 Trump and Netanyahu debunk the failed consensus
08/06/20 High stakes of Americanists v. civilizational arsonists
07/31/20 The Crisis of the Conservative Legal Movement
07/24/20 The Ruling Class Has Sold Out the American People on Communist China
07/17/20 Intersectionality Vs. America
07/10/20 President Trump Emerges as Defender of the American Regime
07/03/20 How to Salvage a Pandemic Independence Day
06/26/20 This time the 'regime change' is BY Americans AGAINST America
06/12/20 How to Fall in Love With America Again
06/12/20 A Tale of Two Americas
06/05/20 Evil enforcers
05/28/20 Trump Is on the Ballot -- Not His Twitter Feed
05/22/20 Confronting the Chinese Communist Party Is America's Generational Challenge
05/15/20 The Case for Israeli Annexation
05/08/20 Will Trump stand with the voters who elected him, or will he shill for the elites who heap scorn upon him every day?
05/01/20 Bill de Blasio Highlights the Far Left's Jewish Problem
04/24/20 Will There Be Another Great Awakening?
04/17/20 Stop the Insane Coronavirus Jailbreaks
04/13/20 The American Media Hits Rock Bottom
04/03/20 The Moral Incoherence of Andrew Cuomo
03/27/20 Coronavirus Is Communist China's Chernobyl
03/20/20 How to Save a Presidency