In the midst of our greatest national struggle, Abraham Lincoln called upon all Americans to ensure that "government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the Earth." Who would have imagined that Honest Abe's highest aspirations could be undone by . . . a microbe?
Today, as a pandemic covers the globe, hypocritical bureaucrats impose far-reaching restrictions while barely pretending to abide by their own rules. "Trust the experts," we are told. Yet most Americans are skeptical of being governed by unelected technocrats.
We know full well the perils of government by expert and the threat it poses to our individual liberty. Expert rule is an elitist political philosophy that has rapidly metastasized during the pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic "has resulted in previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty," said Justice Samuel Alito in his recent address to the Federalist Society. "We have never before seen restrictions as severe, extensive and prolonged as those experienced for most of 2020."
Of course, the very same people making these impositions on the individual rights of Americans unashamedly flaunt their own disregard for these restrictions. Lockdowns for thee but not for me.
Restrictions proliferate as positive tests climb. New Mexico and Oregon have implemented two-week lockdowns. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a 30-day stay-at-home order and proposes to cancel Thanksgiving. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo requires bars and restaurants to close by 10 p.m. and makes traditional family and friends Thanksgiving celebrations unlawful by limiting indoor gatherings at private homes to no more than 10 people. California and Washington draw a hard line against "nonessential" travel.
President-elect Joe Biden's campaign team is pushing a nationwide mask mandate to be coordinated with state governors and mayors. Biden's top COVID-19 adviser has proposed a nationwide lockdown of up to six weeks along with — what else? — a big, fat government "package to cover all lost wages, for losses to small companies to medium-sized companies, and city, state and county governments".
Lightfoot celebrated in the street with thousands of Biden supporters. California Gov. Gavin Newsom was caught attending a high-end birthday celebration in violation of his own restrictions. Fancy celebrations are fine for those in power, but down-home Thanksgiving dinners for hardworking families are verboten. Trust the experts!
We could go on. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Marie Antoinette moment at the hair salon. Cuomo's insanely flawed policy stating, "No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the [nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19." Trust the experts!
How did we get here? "The vision of early 20th-century progressives and the New Dealers of the 1930s was that policymaking would shift from narrow-minded elected legislators to an elite group of appointed experts," said Alito. "In a word, the policymaking would become more scientific."
In the ultra-leftist suburban neighborhoods of Washington, D.C., two popular yard signs are, "Thank you Dr. Fauci!" and "Science is real" (See how this works? "My political opponents are anti-science!") Meanwhile, let's remember what Dr. Fauci is telling Americans: Give up your "independent spirit" and "do what you are told". Oh, and forget about having Christmas, too. Everybody gets a lump of coal in their stocking.
Fauci, like Lightfoot, Cuomo, Newsom and Pelosi, lost public confidence after his original claim that "there's no reason to be walking around with a mask", followed by his dogged insistence on mask compliance, along with his own conspicuously unmasked face at a Washington Nationals baseball game after he attempted to throw out the first pitch.
Alito calls our attention to a long-term trend to take power out of the hands of the elected representatives and vest it in unaccountable and hypocritical experts. The pandemic crisis created an opportunity to accelerate that trend. It won't stop there: We will see it employed for gun bans, stifling religious liberty, and economic policies.
"All sorts of things can be called an emergency or disaster of major proportions," said Alito. "Simply slapping on that label cannot provide the ground for abrogating our most fundamental rights".
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy implemented some of the harshest restrictions, and yet his state endured the worst death rate. Asked about the implications of his actions under the Bill of Rights, he responded, "That's above my pay grade."
Ultimately, "liberty lies in the hearts of men and women," as Alito reminds us. "When it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can do much to help it."
Let freedom ring. Let us "highly resolve," as Lincoln said, that government of the people, for the people, and by the people shall not perish from the Earth. And as for government of the experts, by the experts, and for the experts: No thank you, Dr. Fauci!
Gayle Trotter is an attorney and political analyst based in Washington, D.C. She hosts "RIGHT IN DC: The Gayle Trotter Show" and is a frequent commentator on TV news programs and channels such as NewsMax, OAN, EWTN, Daily Caller and Fox. She contributes to The Hill, The Daily Caller, Townhall, and other well-known political websites, and is a frequent guest on radio shows across the country.