Alyssa Ahlgren: What the Shutdown Has Taught Us

We will not be vulnerable. We will not be complacent. And we will not shrink in fear. After all, the American spirit was derived from rebellion and the desire to be free. Good luck keeping that locked down.

I’m 27 years old and I was born in the United States. What that means is I’ve only ever experienced freedom; a level of freedom that is not comparable to anywhere else in the world. I’ve only experienced liberties that are outlined in the greatest political document known to man. It took 27 years of living to experience what it’s like to have a government–that was sworn to uphold the Constitution–neglect the very words the founders used to build the greatest nation on earth. 

 Living in a free country doesn’t guarantee freedom.

 Apparently, liberties that shall not be infringed doesn’t hold true during a pandemic. Yes, the government is granted emergency powers in times of a public health crisis and yes, at times they are necessary. However, the level of overreach displayed by our political leaders during this time defies the facts, defies science, and when prompted for answers, cannot even be evidentially justified during a press conference. 

Safety and freedom are not synonyms nor are they contingent upon one another. In fact, in many cases they are at odds. The entire point of freedom is mitigating and determining your own risk levels. “Fending for yourself” and controlling your own well-being is called freedom. Once the government decides that you are incapable of being responsible for your own risk level, that freedom is stripped. Once the government believes it even has the power to make that decision, the Constitution is void. 

 The bureaucratic ruling class thinks you’re incompetent. 

 Now I’m generalizing here. Of course, there are governors opening up states with reasonable guidelines and ultimately trusting the people to make their own decisions. Heck, there are even states that never shut down. But the overall narrative is not one of reopening and ensuring freedom, it’s of locking down and ensuring “safety.” The government has never been, and should never be, in the business of guaranteeing safety. 

We are not a collective. We are individuals that make up a people. This is a very important distinction. The former is based in Marxist theory while the latter is the building block for unalienable rights and freedoms. It makes no coherent sense to treat a virus that affects every age group differently as an enemy that attacks us the same. My odds of dying from COVID are extremely low. I take higher risks every day getting out of bed than I do going back to work in the midst of this pandemic and chancing death. The same cannot be said for an 85-year-old or someone with a severe, pre-existing respiratory condition. So then why would you not have the vulnerable quarantine while the rest of us work on not destroying the economy and our livelihoods? Why is it that if one group of people has to stay confined, enduring limited freedom, that all of us have to? Again, we are not a collective. Policy is derived not from eliminating risk but from maintaining liberty to the fullest extent possible. 

 Vulnerability is power’s drug of choice.

 Tyrannical power thrives on three things: tragedy, vulnerability, and complacency. Tragedy and crisis are the gateway factors to vulnerability and complacency. However, it’s fear that keeps the latter two going. Instill fear and you create vulnerability, create vulnerability and you garner control, garner control and you eliminate the individual, eliminate the individual and you achieve the progressive left’s political utopia. 

 There’s a reason the media is always on an alarmist rampage. There’s a reason we went from preventing our healthcare system from being overrun by flattening the curve to the impossible task of “stopping” the virus completely. If you didn’t use that magnificent prefrontal cortex that God gave you and simply relied on the journalistic integrity of the likes of CNN or MSNBC, you would think stepping one foot out of your house will kill you. Fear. Vulnerability. It’s a strategy. 

 We the people are stronger than a virus.

 Not only are we stronger than a virus, but we’re more capable of handling our own safety than the government. We do not have to destroy our economy and devastate livelihoods to combat this pandemic. Sweden will have the last laugh in that arena as we go through a second wave and prolong any chance of herd immunity. Merely delaying infection and death in exchange for years off of people’s lives in the long-run due to the extended shutdown will prove to have been a foolish decision. 

 The dirty little secret that power-hungry politicians and the socialist elite don’t want you to know is that you have power, you are capable, and you are not dependent on them. It turns out  Americans, as a general rule, do care about each other and do have a sense of responsibility to our families and our communities. Social distancing measures were being practiced voluntarily even before the government stepped in. Individual risk calculations were being made daily without the helicopter parenting of the CDC. 

Americans were willing to take temporary hits to their liberties to flatten the curve. We followed the rules. We were compliant with the “15 days to slow the spread.” What we are not compliant with is the continued abuse of power backed by zero evidence and practiced in the name of the “common good” and “safety.” As the country’s leaders remain divided on locking down and reopening, Americans are starting to stand together. We will not be vulnerable. We will not be complacent. And we will not shrink in fear. After all, the American spirit was derived from rebellion and the desire to be free. Good luck keeping that locked down.