Fear Makes It Easy for Governments to Expand Power

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FEAR MAKES IT EASY FOR GOVERNMENTS TO EXPAND POWER

With every new wave of fear, governments become bolder

 

 

The coronavirus epidemic has for the past couple of weeks compelled panicked households to flood grocery stores in search of basic goods.

Until this past weekend, however, US governments had refrained from using special powers to order forced business closures and curfews.

 

Autocratic responses to the health crisis, it seemed, were being put in place exclusively by authoritarian governments such as China’s Communist Party, which managed to allegedly contain the spread of the virus through martial law— barricading people in their homes, arresting those who wouldn’t comply with quarantine mandates, and issuing passports to households so that authorities could verify whether individuals leaving their homes had already used up their weekly stroll quotas.

 

Following an announcement from President Trump, however, things changed.

 

After several states declared a state of emergency, some states took further steps by ordering forced business closures.

 

Ohio, California, Washington, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Indiana ordered owners of bars, restaurants, and wineries to shut down. In their effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, however, they ignored what medical experts themselves have been saying about the epidemic, mostly that the elderly are at greater risk and that precautions to keep them from being exposed to the pathogen should be put in place.

 

Restaurants and bars, small businesses that greatly benefit workers, might be hot spots when it comes to the younger crowds, but, for the most part, nursing homes and other businesses that cater to the older community are the ones that should be taking the necessary precautions to keep them safe—something that appears to be happening as we speak.

 

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