The problem with people referring to this bizarre pandemic life limbo as “the new normal” is that there are people out there, both in and out of positions of responsibility, who are digging this opportunity to boss us around. And it is troubling to see that there are a number of prominent folks who are in no hurry to curtail their ability to boss us around. We need to note carefully who these people are and ensure that they never get a chance to control anything again.
You are starting to see more of that as this drags out. You have got Nancy Pelosi, Gavin Newsom and others thinking this is a great time to get our socialism on. You also have functionaries – all of whom are still getting paychecks – who are way too eager to start issuing orders instead of relying on citizens to behave rationally. We don’t need to be ordered around, but they can’t resist the ordering. The moron mayor of LA is offering rewards to freedom narcs, and government hacks making stores refuse to sell “non-essential” items – what the hell they are thinking telling us what is and is not “essential” anyway? They are thinking, “Hey, this power stuff is fun!” Which is why you should never give power to someone who enjoys it.
America is really run by consent. When we citizens agree that a policy was duly enacted through the proper processes and makes some semblance of sense, we obey voluntarily. Our tax system is essentially voluntary – it depends on people being generally honest. Sure, there are audits after, but while most people may grumble about the rates, paying our share is legit and so we generally try to figure out what we owe under the law and pay it. Have you ever driven at 3 am and seen people stop at STOP signs at empty intersections? It’s a legit law, so we accept it and obey it instead of having to have a cop right there to force us. Having lived on a couple of other continents, I can assure you that is not how every country works.
That’s why power-hungry jerks can actually harm our collective response. If the actions to ameliorate the pandemic begin to be seen as illegitimate and oppressive, we’ll stop doing them. Moreover, we need to show that these are temporary measures and we are going to lift them as soon as we can. You can see that President Trump is chomping at the bit to throw off the shackles of the pandemic response. Pretty soon, most everyone will be. We are all in when we see the response makes sense, but as this goes on with no light at the end of the tunnel and more power-hungry jerks getting off on getting on our backs, that will change. The fact that the grimmest Bat Soup Disease predictions have not come true will only accelerate this natural backlash. There’s a fuse on America’s patience, especially with the aspiring nanny-staters, and when it burns to the end look out.