Flemming: ’15 days to slow the spread’

By David Flemming

It has been quite a long time since we heard “15 days to slow the spread.” Which is why this tweet made me chuckle. I’d probably select “D,” “15 days to slow the spread” is closest to “a poetic framework.”

But it got me thinking: How long can we live under a state of emergency before Covid permanently changes the very structure of our federal and state government? One could argue we have been a state of emergency for the past 5 decades, as I noted back in 2019. The U.S. had 31 ongoing emergencies even before Covid.

I’ve been reading Oren Gross and Fionnuala Ní Aoláin’s “Law in Times of Crisis: Emergency Powers in Theory and Practice.” Published in 2006, it feels like it could have been written in 2020.

The book was published with the U.S. government’s reaction to the events of 9/11 clearly in mind, but the authors took pains to make their work applicable to government emergencies across all times and places.

“The word ‘emergency’ conjures sudden, urgent, usually unforeseen event or situation event of situation that requires immediate action, often without time for reflection or consideration… for normalcy to be normal, it has to be the general rule, the ordinary state of affairs. Emergency must constitute no more than an exception to that rule – it must last only a relatively short time and yield no permanent effects.

As Cecil Carr notes: “Free people, when they temporarily surrender their freedom, will expect to see their inheritance restored to them when the storm is over. There will be two anxious questions – how large must that surrender be and how soon will that restoration come? Traditional discourse on emergency powers posits normalcy and crisis as two separate phenomena and assumes emergency is the exception … based on a clear separation of the normal and exceptional cases. The belief that a clear line can be drawn between normal times and times of exceptional threats to the nation underlies all of the models of emergency powers.”

The authors quote Frederick Watkins: “it is in this connection with the problem of temporary emergencies and in this connection only that the possibility of constitutional dictatorship can ever arise …when faces with situations of entrenched or prolonged emergencies, the Business as Usual model will come under strong pressures to allow the legal system to fight off the threat of the nation.

The longer the people live under the shadow of the emergency, the more likely they are to demand that the legal system accommodate the necessities of the situation. Continued adherence to the Business as Usual model in those circumstances may lead to adjustments to the system that are made in ways that are less transparent.

Eventually the system will reach a position where significant portions of the “ordinary” legal system will have been formulated and reformulated in response to crises. As emergencies become more prolonged and less exceptional it becomes harder to argue for a business as usual approach since it is clear that much is not as usual.”

As is usually the case, government emergencies last far longer than we anticipate. Emergency power is the most consistent threat to liberty throughout the history of government. We must remain vigilant. Paradoxically, government may ask us to do something — like wear masks — that we should probably do even if we lived in an anarchic society. But every day that we submit to government’s authority, we must ask ourselves, is the threat large enough to the community that I should take precautions. Often, the question is “which precautions should I take” rather “should I take any precautions.”

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how Vermont and the U.S. will change permanently from Covid-19. Send me an email.

David Flemming is a policy analyst for the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Public domain

10 thoughts on “Flemming: ’15 days to slow the spread’

  1. The lockdown and closures were sold to us as 2 weeks to flatten the spread so that hospitals didn’t become overwhelmed. Somehow this has morphed into closures, masks and restrictions of all kinds til we reach zero Covid numbers! As that seems highly unlikely to happen given that this virus seems to operate no matter the weather, just how long are we supposed to go along with this? It’s been over a year and here we are………

  2. This is not about what “emergency shutdowns do to GOVERNMENT”

    People’s expectations get slammed! People, Citizens get almost completely shut down.
    They become more amenable to new requirements/mandates.

    We have been RE- conditioned in SO MANY WAYS; work, school, travel, Church, speech, gathering, family, friends, list near endless. PURPOSEFUL! But Riots OK?

    All these “Human and Constitutional Rights” Have become Optional, under control of politicians.

    And if they can hold us for a full year, they can hope we forget as many of our freedoms as possible, and WE become easier to accept the “Next COVID, or whatever, “Emergency”

  3. My contention is that we do away with all medical mandates, emergency or not, as these are unnecessary (people aren’t stupid) and allowed for enormous abuses in the past.

    We say that we’re “following the science” but we aren’t. Covid-19 policies have been based on wildly cherry-picked science. Public health scientists who argued for the path of least harm were sidelined.

    Science has been subverted to agenda. We can make all kinds of speculation about what that agenda is, but it’s crystal-clear that what we’ve been hearing as justification for restrictive lockdowns in based on mare’s-nest thinking, and that medical measures that could have saved thousands were, and are, being deliberately subverted. We can speculate as to why, but the most important thing is that we recognize that whatever the reason is, it has to stop: we must take the best science and throw out the junk science that’s used to prop up this agenda, and we must never allow this to happen again.

    Sadly, Vermont is a backwater, still listening to Dr. Fauci, who is fully invested in whatever globalist vision Covid-19 policy is serving. Other states with clearer views and with their sights set on the liberty upon which our country was founded are saying: no more. Lockdowns have done tremendous harm, and they’ve set a terrible precedent. No more.

    What did Dr. Fauci know, and when did he know it? Dr. Fauci was instrumental in funding gain-of-function research to make harmless coronaviruses into deadly pathogens: this is beyond dispute as it’s in the public record. It’s also beyond dispute that Fauci helped fund the Wuhan lab. Fauci is claiming that Covid-19 isn’t a lab release (if it were, wouldn’t that affect his funding and his status?), that its advent is due to human disturbances to ecological niches. There’s zero evidence for that latter contention; it’s pure speculation and not one single shred of evidence supports it in relation to the emergence of Covid-19.

    Even if the idea that Covid-19 is a lab release is wild speculation, we have to realize that it’s no fantasy to say that lab releases of deadly pathogens pose a great danger to humanity– they’ve happened before– and these, and not ecological disturbances, may become justification for endless lockdowns in the future. This has to stop.

    How should Vermont and the US change in response to Covid-19? Throw the bums out, stop careless GOF research, and strip medical emergency powers from the governor and the power of medical mandates from the legislature. Instead of blasting “stay safe” on highway signs, start blasting “stay free.”

    • There is a picture of Fauci with David Rockefeller, George Soros and he media elite. You know the people he rubs shoulders with. And this guy is the highest paid government employee at $450K a year. All the people get for their tax dollars is a face on TV telling people what to do, and he really doesn’t know. Sen Rand Paul puts him in his place many times. Sen Paul is also a doctor.

      Rand Paul on explosive clash with Fauci: ‘Keeps moving goalposts’ Mar 19, 2021
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkShz1zF2qk (7:58)

  4. Well that’s a breath of fresh thinking! Kudo’s.

    Yes, yes, yes…..

    The Flu is part of life, it happens every year, it will happen every year in the future, some are bad some not so bad.

    Yet….we have an “emergency” this year.

    Ask why? Ask who is framing this emergency? Ask, who is making all the rules of this emergency? Ask who is making all the money of this emergency?

    Ahhh, this band of merry misfits known affectionately as the NWO Pimps……

    Yes these questions you ask are most relevant. Well done sir, well done.

    • So what will happen? We will become a colony of the united nations, we will embrace the New World Order……we will eschew our little Republic, based upon truth, laws and the word of God for some variation of lawless, hateful, envious, divisive, impoverished form of government know as communism, Marxism, democratic-socialism…pick the name du jour.

      Tis the path we are choosing…..some might suggest we change direction, the old school term being repent! Love, Joy and Peace baby….that’s the better path.

      • All you guys are as pee’d off as I am!

        This thing has been too transparent to last all year, and no let up yet!!!

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