The Use of Force
By Evelyn Pyburn
There is lot’s not being said about all that is happening.
Despite what is claimed, COVID-19 is a political issue. When political power is brought to bear on any issue it is political. It becomes political in that moment.
One must remember that politics is about the use of force. When people are forced to do something against their will it is either criminal or political, because that is the essence of politics – a debate about how to apply the legalized use of force. At its root that is all it’s about as to whether government should be able to mandate the wearing of masks, closing of businesses or prohibiting the peaceful assembly of groups. Are these laws an appropriate use of force by government against innocent citizens?
Because government is nothing more than an instrument of force and because the only moral use of force is in defense of oneself and of others, the only just use of force by government, in the US, was determined to be the protection of its citizens. Whether it is against enemies from outside or within, or whether it is about a military attack at our borders or a thief stealing a bicycle from a neighbor’s yard, the primary purpose of our government is to protect us from that illegal and immoral force.
That is why the failure of governments in cities and states where rioting is allowed to rage unabated is such an atrocious thing to witness. These are government officials who are deliberately refusing to perform their primary and most fundamental duty — the protection of innocent citizens against the use of criminal violence. What purpose do peaceable and innocent citizens have of a government that cannot carry out that one and most profound charge?
How force is being used in our society right now is what many people find perplexing. It’s not about whether or not to wear a mask, it is whether the governor should be able to wield state power to force people to wear a mask, which gives cover to local, often unelected officials, to use such authority as a cudgel to intimidate, shame, and coerce citizens. As can be seen in many cities right now the inappropriate use of force is far worse than the threat of a virus. To challenge government’s use of force is important far beyond the realm of a temporary threat of a disease, if a peaceful, thriving and content society is the goal.
Even though there is no evidence of violence in our streets, the disquiet and anxiety in communities under the lockdowns being imposed by local governments, in the name of the coronavirus, is just as real as the more overt threats seen in Seattle or Portland or Chicago. There is no sense of peace and security in communities where people worry about being accosted about what they wear, or where their every action must be measured in terms of judgment by others, and the uncertainties of the force of law that might be brought to bear.
While there may be arguments to justify health and safety precautions regarding the coronavirus, those arguments should be made rather than bearing down with the business end of government. It is a fact, that no matter the degree that they are convinced about the reasonableness of health measures, business owners and employees are acting, not out of that conversion, but out of fear and duress. As civic leaders attempt to bully innocent hard working citizens, they create a pall of anxiety and resentment across the community.
It’s a fact, that business owners, their employees and customers are scared about the threats that are held over them. Such angst gnaws at the soul and psyche, and its imposition is cruel and ruthless. It is only slightly less onerous to its victims than facing the more direct and visible violence of rioters in the streets. In a different form it is violence and unconducive to a free, benevolent and peaceful society.