What have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”
“A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Our rights are not complicated. They don’t require opaque legal explanations and overpaid professors writing 2,500 word opinions in the NYT. Any reasonably aware American can explain them…perhaps not elegantly and concisely, but they are not confusing or difficult to understand.

And they are being violated. Our right to speak, our right to peaceably assemble, our right to worship as we see fit, our right to our own self-defense…they are all under attack from the anti-freedom cult that is progressivism in America. Sadly, they are being assisted by some who claim to be conservative, but whose desire to be safe and nurtured by overweening government dwarfs their desire to be free men.

The First Amendment Amidst the Coronavirus Crisis

“The Bill of Rights, as you well know, protects Americans’ rights — enshrines their right to practice their religion as they see fit and to congregate together to assemble peacefully,” Tucker Carlson said to Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey in mid-April. “By what authority did you nullify the Bill of Rights in issuing this [quarantine] order? How do you have the power to do that?” Murphy replied, “That’s above my pay grade, Tucker. I wasn’t thinking of the Bill of Rights when we did this.”

Murphy’s remark will define the complacent secularism that predominated during the coronavirus crisis. He wasn’t just speaking for himself but for many other political figures for whom the Constitution’s emphasis on religious freedom is just an antiquated quibble. It would have come as a surprise to the Founding Fathers that a crisis absolves a governor of any duty to uphold the Constitution. Murphy’s comment perfectly sums up the casual secularist tyranny under which we live.

We are a free people, but as Ronald Reagan famously said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” When the elites decide that it is more important to protect the right to abort a baby than to protect our right to worship, then something is seriously amiss. When people are arrested for protesting against government intrusion into their lives, then something is wrong. When government feels entitled to decide who can conduct commerce and who cannot, then our rights are being controlled from afar.

But what to do? In my state of New Jersey, our fascistic governor will probably be reelected, simply because that reasonably aware American is a rara avis in a state that has embraced a massive government that involves itself in all aspects of our lives. In other states the push-back has begun in earnest, but will the voters remember who respected their rights and who was willing to destroy the Republic in order to keep it safe? Or less charitably but more accurately, will the voters remember who was willing to destroy the Republic for crass and venal political ends?

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