Emergency Powers Must Be Repudiated

Recently, on June 9, Representative Chip Roy (Liberty Score 100%), with 15 bipartisan cosponsors, and Senator Mike Lee (Liberty Score 94%), with 5 bipartisan cosponsors, introduced companion bills H.R.3988 and S.1912 “to provide for congressional approval of national emergency declarations.”

A president would still be allowed to first unconstitutionally declare an emergency for 30 days.

Then while the legislators would still be at least somewhat in the fog of war of the supposed emergency, the legislators would be faced with deciding whether to extend the emergency. They would find it easy to rationalize unconstitutionally continuing the emergency a full year (and later, another, and another).

Freedom works best

When anything changes, Progressive government people try to increase government power. Progressives hype many changes as emergencies that call for using force.

Force usually is harmful. The only exceptions are in war, or when harmful criminal action is in progress¾when an aggressing force can be limited by a defending force. (Even here, such forces work best when they are decentralized and locally have relative freedom.)

In all other situations, there’s no aggressing force, and the way to limit harm is to not apply force.

Left free, people use information, intuition, and wisdom to choose the action that’s best for them moment-by-moment. People consider how their actions will affect others. People’s individual actions collectively produce the overall results that are best.

Chip Roy, Mike Lee, and some cosponsors are among our best representatives. They almost certainly view these bills as what economist Murray Rothbard would have called “an initial demand.” But allowing emergency declarations and incentivizing extensions would be failing to always uphold Rothbard’s “ultimate goal of total liberty.”

Freedom is required by charters

If force is independently interpreted by a given government person to be constitutional and possibly helpful, his jurisdiction’s charter requires him to follow specific processes.

Most everywhere, these processes clearly promise residents the constitutionally-guaranteed republican form of government, since they closely resemble the Constitution’s processes.

Executives may convene legislatures and shall recommend measures they judge necessary and expedient. Legislators can pass and executives can sign bills. On any resulting laws, judges can hear cases and controversies.

These actions by representatives who are accountable would have dramatically improved outcomes from covid.

Freedom would have helped with covid

Every action that would have helped with covid would have removed added force.

Every government official was required to act constitutionally to protect his residents’ freedom. Every official could have helped remove his government’s own added force, other jurisdictions’ unconstitutional added force, and businesses’ and nonprofits’ unconstitutional restrictions on freedom.

Charters already formally disallowed these restrictions. Clear, specific further laws would have been simple to add.

Each law would have independently helped. Each would have also interrupted the cascade of harmful actions. Each could have been expedited by making it only apply for covid.

  1. Emergency powers
    Prohibit the use of emergency powers.
  2. Vaccines
    Allow lawsuits against producers of vaccines.
  3. Existing drugs
    Prohibit interference with the use of existing drugs.
  4. Ventilators
    Prohibit protecting staff and the community by endangering patients through the use of ventilators.
  5. Discharge to unprotected populations
    Prohibit discharge of infected patients into unprotected populations that are at elevated risk of dying if infected.
  6. Public health
    Prohibit government executive officials from making rules, recommendations, guidance, or the like.
  7. Lockdowns and distancing
    Prohibit lockdowns and distancing.
  8. Masking
    Prohibit requirements for masking other than when directly caring for infected patients.
  9. Stimulus
    Don’t enact any stimuli, relief, or other transfers.

Legislators aren’t excused from their duties by claiming they aren’t expert enough. Executives aren’t expert enough either.

And neither legislators nor executives can be trusted to recognize, appoint, cultivate, and promote experts. Legislators and executives, and bureaucrats, don’t attract experts, they select for political operatives.

Clearly even in the case of the rapidly-malignant growth of covid harms, most harms could have been prevented by responsible, prompt actions.

For example, Trump acknowledged that generics might help and were legal, but in real time we then saw FDA, CDC, state boards, and other organizations start restricting customers’ freedom to use generics. Government people in any jurisdiction could have explicitly blocked these restrictions, well before these restrictions produced much harm. Judges could have opined against these restrictions, executives could have stopped restrictive actions, and legislatures could have formally repealed the scope to take restrictive actions.

More simply, any government person could have repudiated emergency powers, with all the associated harms.

None did.

Freedom should be secured by planning ahead

To date, there has been no reckoning or admission of past harms or continuing harms. Far-too-few people have even spoken out against their esteemed colleagues’ actions.

Inaction has proven strikingly harmful to life, liberty, and property. Continuing in this failure mode is reckless, dangerous, and repugnant.

So is lame action by people who possess strong powers to push back.

The time to demand that legislators, in particular, act thoughtfully and in our best interests is now, when the heat is off. Legislators have more than enough time now to honestly consider the harm they rain down on us when they use force to restrict individuals’ freedom to help themselves and the people around them.

To demonstrate learning, show good faith, and provide for better outcomes going forward, legislators in all jurisdictions should act now to prevent a repeat of anything remotely like the nine-step cascade they forced on us with covid. At minimum, they should immediately lock into place at least two simple controls that, like a nuclear reactor’s control rods, will block such a predictable chain reaction:

  1. Repeal emergency powers.
  2. Explicitly prohibit any interference with the use of existing drugs.

Morally, legally, for freedom, for good outcomes, emergency powers must be repudiated.