Shutting People Down

I understand politicians are feeling a little overwhelmed right now. They’re human after all, and it has been a touch year to be in leadership.

So I generally cut them a little slack when it comes to questioning the wisdom of some of their pandemic-related decisions. I figure they mean well, even if their actions don’t make sense. They aren’t being intentionally evil, even if the results of their actions sometimes appear that way.

However, I do take issue with the curfews. Germany starts theirs, nation-wide, today. The reasoning for that escapes me.

Admittedly they didn’t teach us much about viruses when I was in school, but I doubt there’s any science to show that they spread more rapidly at night. So why restrict people’s movements?

Perhaps my opinion has been influenced by my understanding of curfews. They are, in what I have read, usually imposed by totalitarian regimes trying to control the populace. They don’t want people to meet, because they fear they will plot to overthrow the government.

I don’t think COVID-19 has people wanting to march on the centers of political power, but maybe I misjudge the resentment out there. Everyone is so tired of this pandemic. Perhaps politicians are starting to fear for their safety. Do you think so?

I’m sure the political argument is that restricting movement will restrict the transmission of the virus. If people don’t get together with others, then they won’t pass it on.

That’s the theory anyway. Practice might be something completely different. 

It isn’t seeing other people that is the problem as much as ignoring common-sense restrictions. If I wear a mask and socially distance from those I visit, if I wash my hands frequently, what does it matter if it is 9 a.m. or 9 p.m.?

A curfew suggests that people can’t be trusted to act in their own or society’s best interests. As someone who has observed the rules, even when I have disagreed with them, I resent that.

Those who are temperamentally inclined to do their own thing are going to break curfew anyway. Rules are for other people, not for them. 

They are, I think, a minority. But even in their narcissism they have a point.

In a free and democratic society, should people not be allowed to make their own mistakes? The State, or Big Brother, should not control all aspects of life. 

The argument that extraordinary times require extraordinary measures is a good one. But how effective have the restrictions imposed by governments worldwide been at reducing pandemic numbers? Case counts and deaths continue to rise, no matter how many people are locked down.

Show me how a curfew protects society and prevents the spread of COVID-19 then I will reluctantly support you. But base your arguments on science, if you can.

If you can’t, then it seems to me you are just a government using, or perhaps abusing its power because it can. That may work in the short term, but, as dictators throughout history have learned, in the long term the people will prevail. Those abusing the public trust will be remembered with ignominy.

Twenty years from now, when COVID-19 is a matter solely of academic interest, scholars will be marveling at how poorly the “crisis” was managed. I expect the imposition of curfews to control the spread of disease will be one of the highlighted follies.

Do you agree?


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