By John C. Eastman and Stephen Balch American Greatness
The COVID pandemic has witnessed the exercise of state “police powers” on a scale and scope unprecedented in America’s peacetime history. Out of fear of contagion, massive amounts of private property in the form of shops, restaurants, bars, and other businesses were peremptorily seized and shuttered. The rights of landlords to collect rents and evict tenants were suspended. The ability of people to cross from one state to another was hobbled by regulations, quarantines, and delays. And most of this was accomplished by governors and mayors acting by decree, with only the most tenuous of statutory authorizations.
Initially implemented for what was to have been a brief period of medical unreadiness, the restrictions and impositions were extended month after month in the name of protecting Americans from a threat the specific magnitude of which was never clearly defined. Although some raised concerns about the legality of and need for these coercions, most Americans obediently submitted to them.
The purpose here is not to justify the particulars of what seems to us to have been a huge and clumsy overreach. It is instead to point out what such robust assertions of police powers could achieve, constitutionally and politically, if put to different and more legitimate ends—protecting Americans’ health and safety against what predictably ensues when the federal government abandons one of its primary charges. It is a road which, if taken, could not only repair the harms of gross federal nonfeasance but usefully up the ante in the struggle to thwart the Left’s accelerating efforts to unmake America. In other words, a course of action that could materially improve public health, safety, and welfare while also firing a powerful salvo across revolution’s bow.