"Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one" – Tom Paine
The question – How will we know when the Coronavirus pandemic has ended? – has, until now, produced highly attenuated, ambiguous answers.
But there are, here and there, some hopeful signs that the nation has shown Coronavirus the door. True, the ubiquitous signs posted in shop windows announcing “no entry without a mask” have yet to be replaced with more hopeful messages – “no admittance to anyone wearing a mask, including burglars” – but give it time.
Anthony Fauci, the nation’s medical scold, has ceased screeching from the rooftops, and a smiling President Joe Biden -- whose White House windows have been broken by Iranian supported Hamas terrorists, a profoundly stupid border policy, and the unfortunate cancellation of an energy pipeline, just as Russian hackers closed the southeastern coast’s chief energy pipeline -- announced, belatedly, that facemasks may now be discarded.
Some in Connecticut who remained unintimidated by Fauci’s meandering and contradictory pronouncements during the plague year regard facemasks as a political device to enforce beggary and an unquestioned compliance with the obiter dicta of politically ambitions progressive politicians.
A waitress at a diner now fully opened, writhing under the indignity of her facemask, recently told me she was looking forward to a bonfire of the political vanities burning of facemasks at the state Capitol in Hartford.
“We should burn them.”
I told her she would have to wait until opposition Republicans campaigned in favor of such a liberating spectacle. Her eyebrows went up like a blazing torch and, perhaps remembering her Tom Paine from High School, she sighed that courage is best retained rather than regained.
“There can be no worse form of government,” my breakfast companion observed, “than an autocracy of doctors.”
“What about,” I asked, “an autocracy of professional politicians supported by questionable science, or an autocracy of psychologists?”
Following an affirmative vote in the State Senate extending Lamont’s extraordinary powers through July 20, “Sen. Eric Berthel, a Watertown Republican, asked Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney on the Senate floor to explain why the two-month extension was needed,” according to a story in a Hartford paper. The interrogatory, the paper wrote was an “unusual questioning of the chamber’s top lawmaker,” Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney, the powerful gatekeeper in a Senate in which Democrats far outnumber Republicans.
Hardly realizing that he was making an argument in favor of a permanent executive autocracy, Lamont said that a chief executive armed with plenary powers could more quickly make and enforce important decisions than the slow moving, deliberative body of eunuchs over which he has presided these last 14 months. True enough: Julius Caesar moved more quickly than the Roman Senate, and Soviet Czar Joseph Stalin was even more decisive than the Presidium of Communist comrades over which he ruthlessly presided. Republicans in Rome assassinated Caesar, but Stalin died covered in plaudits, until he was called out by Nikita Khrushchev and later Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
Addressing Berthel, Looney prettily put it this way: “’I think we differ on our premises here. I think we still are in a dangerous pandemic,’ said Looney, adding that some medical professionals at Yale New Haven Hospital do not believe the state’s wide scale reopening should occur as planned on May 19. ‘There are certain things that can only be done by the executive. We are a deliberative body. The executive can do something immediately or overnight.’”
No challenging voices in the Senate chamber cried out that if Looney was not prepared to do his job, he should move on.
“Sen. Saud Anwar, a South Windsor Democrat who is also a medical doctor,” like Fauci, “agreed with Looney and said the extension needs to be continued because the pandemic’s problems still remain that include mental health.”
It is not the mental health of the state that necessitates the plenary authority invested by majority Democrats upon Lamont. The Governor has been permitted to play Caesar in Connecticut for more than a year because Democrats in the General Assembly fear that if they were forced to vote on questionable policies, some in a functioning legislature would raise debatable questions. Cowardly legislators hiding behind an autocratic governor might then be held to account by a public that takes more seriously than does Looney the fearful legislative responsibility that is his by virtue of election.
It is cowardice that drives bad policies and the virtue celebrated by all the founders of the American Republic that drives good policies.
John Adams said it best: “Liberty can no more exist without virtue and independence than the body can live and move without a soul ... The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue… the laws of man may bind him in chains or may put him to death, but they never can make him wise, virtuous, or happy."
Perhaps Looney’s Senate can be persuaded to take a recorded vote – a public one – on the sentiment.