"Immunize the Herd?" Part III
By Philip Drucker
What is the proper role of government? It strikes me as odd the same people who decried the Affordable Care Act for its supposed inclusion of death panels (it didn't) now cheer the actions of our legislators who in the name of opening the economy are acting as the arbiters of who, and who shall not ultimately suffer exposure to and death from the Covid-19 virus. This is a death panel. Yes, it is. Are death panels a legitimate function of government? I would say no.
All governmental power flows from the consent of the people. This is not to say the government must always do exactly what we want it to do when we want it to do it. This is childish. No one wants to pay taxes ever and everyone wants all of the best products for free, always. On the flip side, I believe it also fair to say we do not expect our elected officials to inflict needless suffering or pain upon us as part of a supposedly civic minded economic recovery program.
So, we open back up a bit slower. Profits may not be robust for the year, but the population will remain largely intact and ready to buy, consume, and buy some more, another day.
This strikes me as the wisest and prudent path to take. It also strikes me as the closest we are going to get to protecting the individual rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So why the rush? If there is a connectivity between freedom and killing yourself for a haircut, what should our elected representatives’ response be?
To aid and abet in what would appear to be at best attempted murder? Is the value to society in our current economic model, I call it the shut up and go to work paradigm, worth preserving to the degree we will force, yes, force with or without mandatory precautionary measures in place workers in meatpacking plants to well, shut up and go back to work? Your tax dollars at work?
Isn't it true the recent let's call them maneuvers under, over, and around the State Covid-19 restrictions by our local officials are at best placing unnecessary risk of furthering the often (10,000 times over and counting) deadly effects of the virus for what amounts to a handful of magic beans in the hands of a few "job creators"? A few restaurants, hair and nail salons, and yes, liquor stores, tattoo parlors and most recently gun shops. Well, when the end comes, at least we'll all be well oiled, fed, inked and armed to the teeth. Or, we can try another way.
We can use this pandemic as a moment to reflect and to think. Is there something we are doing wrong? Is there a better way forward? A more modern, holistic and importantly, realistic way for us to look at the basic relationships between the government, employers, employees, man and his creator? A way to better fulfill the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? I for one believe there is but we must act and it must be soon.
Every great moment of political and social ingenuity (and folly) begins with an idea followed by a demand of sorts and if not met, by action appropriate to the severity of the situation and subject to the restraints of the moment in time. Is it not the right time to redefine the role of economics in our daily lives? Is it not the right time to demand those who would prefer to protect the status quo heed us? And if our words fall upon deaf ears, is it not time for action?
Or, in this instance, legislation? Legislation in the grandest sense of the word?
Legislation to define the rights of the people? What the government can and cannot do, always and forever in the interest of the individuals and recognition of our individual and inviolate rights to live as free persons in a land where no one is superior by reasons of the blood running through their veins, or the birthright of title? Of the country of their origin, or the color of their skin? The gender, sexual preference of religion, or not religion of their choice?
In short, isn't it time we began working on a new Bill of Economic Rights? Regarding the economic rights of all Americans? Nay, of all persons the world over? I say yes and from the time of George Washington and George Mason's Fairfax Resolves, a rather longish letter sent by the colonists to England documenting their concerns, Americans have followed this tradition. In this spirit, I submit to you, the People, a list of Resolves concerning the changes needed and what we expect 21st Century American economic policies to reflect. I call it:
ECONOMIC REALITIES AND RESOLVES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
A 10-Point plan written in the hopes and aspirations of building a sensible, sane, sustainable, and humane economic policy for America and the World.
We the People, of the United States of America, in order further to insure our domestic tranquility and to protect our financial interests abroad, do hereby adopt the following resolves pertinent to all matters related to the economic stability and well-being of our nation as a whole, for all matters of economics and industry, manufacturing and services, financial dealings and intellectual property, or, in other words, for purposes of trade, barter, exchange and commerce we demand:
1. Resolved. We hold as self-evident that nature and all of her natural bounty are the subject of common ownership of equal share between the people. That the right to clean, breathable air, clean, potable water and unspoiled, fertile land cannot be infringed upon or derogated for matters of business, economics, monetary exploitation of any kind, or personal self-gain.
2. Resolved. That education being in actuality the coin of the realm be made available as a fundamental right to the People. To this end we state there can be no true pursuit of happiness without access to adequate and affordable information, instruction and learning be it of a scholastic or vocational nature.
3. Resolved. That a healthy workforce is of benefit to country, state, employers and employees and accordingly access to adequate, affordable healthcare is a fundamental right. That the right to life includes a right to health and issues of medical prevention, diagnosis and treatment cannot be based upon any capricious, arbitrary or cruel criteria including but not limited to financial concerns specifically, the lack of insurance and/or so-called ability to pay.
4. Resolved. That homelessness if no more the fault of the individual than society's inability to provide adequate housing of a permanent or temporary nature and therefore no person should have to "live on the streets." That shelter, be it in the form of a sleeping bag, tent, car, homeless shelter, apartment or home be made available as a fundamental right and hence an un-delegable duty of at a minimum, the State as part of its mission to insure the health, safety and welfare of its citizenry.
5. Resolved. (a) That the sun does not belong to any country, state, entity or individual and the fundamental right to utilize the sun as a source of power shall not be infringed. (b) That the wind does not belong to any country, state, entity or individual and the fundamental right to utilize the wind as a source of power shall not be infringed. (c) That geothermal energy does not belong to any country, state, entity or individual and the fundamental right to utilize geothermal as a source of power shall not be infringed. (d) That the movements of the oceans and waterways in general, specifically waves, do not belong to any country, state, entity or individual and the fundamental right to utilize the movement of bodies of water as a source of power shall not be infringed. (e) That any legitimate, natural source of energy not mentioned previously be included in this section.
6. Resolved. That seeds be made available to all who would commit to farming land in an effort to feed oneself, one's family, or the community at large. That it is a fundamental right to save and plant seeds without fear of infringing upon intellectual property rights of any kind or nature whatsoever. That all person's big and small and at all times retain the right to produce food through the natural resource we so humbly call dirt and free from government intervention in the form of taxation or otherwise.
7. Resolved. The right to collect rain water from one's own property is absolute and cannot be infringed upon by any contractual obligation whatsoever. Similarly, but of no less importance, is the right to utilize underground, well, and/or percolating waters for personal, agrarian use free from government intervention in the form of taxation or otherwise.
8. Resolved. Animals are sentient beings and accordingly, animals feel pain. Any business practice, contract, trade agreement, treaty or other similarly situated document based upon or including any words or directives contrary to the concept that animals do not feel pain, is null, void and of no legal effect, binding, enforceable or otherwise.
9. Resolved. Climate Change is real. Global warming is real. It is man-made and we must do everything in our power to reverse its deleterious, soon to be catastrophic effects on our environment, including but not limited to the United States of America rejoining the Paris Agreement.
10. Resolved. When personal debt becomes a detriment to both society and an individual's fundamental right to pursue happiness, all such debts will be subject to review and discharge as part of a seven year "jubilee", all or nothing forgiveness program, available to all persons regardless of the nature of said debts and is in addition to, and not subject to preemption under Federal Bankruptcy or applicable State creditor protection and debt collection laws.
Respectfully Submitted on this day the 28th of May 2020
Is this where it all begins? I hope so. How about you? Comments, additions corrections and criticisms for consideration are welcome. Together we can do this. Yes, we can. We must.