The mad rush by governors and mayors to be the most draconian in their probably-not-legal restrictions of our liberties is a fine catalyst to examine the differences between a free republic and the more coercive and restrictive countries around the world.
Were we to adopt an authoritarian stance we could easily flatten the peak point of infection. Order total separation, and shoot violators. Segregate those who are already infected at remote installations, and escapees are executed.
But freedom entails a degree of chaos that many — perhaps most — people around the world are uncomfortable with. American Exceptionalism means many things to many people, but one of its core tenets is the innate sense that we know what is best for ourselves, and that government cannot manage the entirety of our lives.
Does that mean that more people will die? Perhaps, although American Exceptionalism has also created a wealthy and robust health care delivery system (even with its current significant flaws) that is probably the best in the world. I don’t think we are going to run out of medical equipment on a large scale (local shortages excepted). We will not be Italy.
With freedom and liberty must come some acceptance of the reality that the state is not everything to all people; that it cannot and should not try to do everything to protect us (it will fail at that anyway). Yes, the risk is there, but a free people must guard their freedoms as zealously as they guard their health.
We should chafe at the jack-booted thugs of government telling us what to do, how to behave, where to go and how many people we can have in our homes.
Does that mean I am going to go visit my 89-year-old mother? No…I am not a fool, and neither are most Americans. But we must accept the undeniable fact that with freedom and liberty comes a degree of risk that we have accepted for the entirety of our existence as a constitutional republic, and even before that, since the antecedents of our great country were exactly that drive for autonomy and freedom from overweaning and overbearing government.