Andrew C. McCarthy over at National Review has a great piece about how the government and “we the people” are supposed to interact during the best and worst of times.

He writes:

The politicization of science has ingrained in our political life something about which we ought to be highly skeptical: The argument from authority. It is doing extraordinary damage to the republic, through governmental responses — federal, state and municipal — to the coronavirus.

And it will keep doing damage unless and until we restore the burden of proof.

There is no doubt that governments have a compelling interest in public safety, which includes preventing the spread of a potentially deadly infectious disease. It is nevertheless the foundational conceit of the American republic that governments are created to secure the fundamental rights of a nation’s citizens — our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Moreover, the legitimacy of government is dependent on the consent of the governed.

In the United States, authority is subordinate to liberty. Government is the servant, not the master.

In our society, the argument from authority should never be the final word, notwithstanding the progressive vision of government by bureaucracies of purportedly agenda-free experts.

Exactly.  Scientists are invaluable right now – critical and life-giving.  But they weren’t elected.  They have no power over us.  Ideally, these experts are providing helpful counsel to our democratically elected officials, not running free reign over our liberties.

It should be noted that these experts have frequently been wrong. Or, at least they’d delivered conflicting information.  Remember when they said the Wuhan Flu couldn’t be conveyed by the air, so don’t wear masks? And now stores are turning away people who aren’t wearing them? 

And honestly, I’m not sure how many feet is the magic number where the virus won’t be contagious.  They began with 6, then headlines across America suggested that wasn’t sufficient.

McCarthy continues, “we don’t leave the decision to a panel of experts. Determinations about our most fundamental concerns are left to ordinary Americans — much as determinations in the political realm are left to officials democratically accountable to ordinary Americans, not to anointed experts. These decisions, whether in court or in politics, are not dictated solely by the scientists’ views; scientific evidence is respectfully given its due, but it is weighed along with other matters of consequence.”

That’s what I’ve been saying all along.  We need to have “common sense compliance” balanced with a healthy spirit of defiance. 

This is important in times of peace and prosperity and even more important in the economic uncertainty created by confusing epidemics.

Hat Tip: National Review

Image Credit: Pixnio

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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