“The remedy is worse
than the disease.”—Francis
March 25, 2021 "Information
Clearing House" -One way or another,
the majority of Americans will survive COVID-19.
It remains to be seen, however, whether our
freedoms will survive the tyranny of the
government’s heavy-handed response to the
Indeed, now that the government has gotten a
taste for flexing its police state powers by way
of a bevy of lockdowns, mandates, restrictions,
contact tracing programs, heightened
surveillance, censorship, overcriminalization,
etc., we may all be
long-haulers, suffering under the weight of
long-term COVID-19 afflictions.
Instead of dealing with the headaches,
fatigue and neurological
aftereffects of the virus, however, “we the
people” may well find ourselves burdened with a
Nanny State inclined to use its draconian
pandemic powers to protect us from ourselves.
Therein lies the
danger of the government’s growing addiction
What started out a year ago as an apparent
effort to prevent a novel coronavirus from
sickening the nation (and the world) has become
yet another means by which world governments
(including our own) can expand their powers,
abuse their authority, and further oppress their
Until recently, the police state had been
more circumspect in its power grabs, but this
latest state of emergency has brought the beast
out of the shadows.
It’s a given that you can always count on the
government to take advantage of a crisis,
legitimate or manufactured. Emboldened by the
citizenry’s inattention and willingness to
tolerate its abuses, the government has
weaponized one national crisis after another in
order to expand its powers.
No Advertising - No Government Grants - This Is
The war on terror, the war on drugs, the war
on illegal immigration, asset forfeiture
schemes, road safety schemes, school safety
schemes, eminent domain: all of these programs
started out as legitimate responses to pressing
concerns and have since become weapons of
compliance and control in the police state’s
It doesn’t even matter what the nature of the
crisis might be—civil unrest, the national
emergencies, “unforeseen economic collapse, loss
of functioning political and legal order,
purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency,
pervasive public health emergencies, and
catastrophic natural and human disasters”—as
long as it allows the government to justify all
manner of government tyranny in the name of
so-called national security.
This coronavirus pandemic has been no
Not only have the federal and state
governments unraveled the constitutional fabric
of the nation with lockdown mandates that sent
the economy into a tailspin and wrought havoc
with our liberties, but they have almost
persuaded the citizenry to depend on the
government for financial handouts, medical
intervention, protection and sustenance.
This past year under lockdown was a lesson in
many things, but most of all, it was a lesson in
how to indoctrinate a populace to love and obey
What started off as an experiment in social
distancing in order to flatten the curve of this
virus, and not overwhelm the nation’s hospitals
or expose the most vulnerable to unavoidable
loss of life scenarios quickly became strongly
worded suggestions for citizens to voluntarily
stay at home and strong-armed house
arrest orders with penalties in place for
Every day brought a drastic
new set of restrictions by government bodies
(most have been delivered by way of executive
orders) at the local, state and federal level
that were eager to flex their muscles for the
so-called “good” of the populace.
There was talk of
mass testing for COVID-19 antibodies,
screening checkpoints, mass surveillance in
order to carry out contact tracing,
immunity passports to allow those who have
recovered from the virus to move around more
snitch tip lines for reporting “rule
breakers” to the authorities, and heavy fines
and jail time for those who dare to venture out
without a mask, congregate in worship without
the government’s blessing, or re-open their
businesses without the government’s say-so.
To some, these may seem like small,
necessary steps in the war against the
COVID-19 virus, but they’re only necessary to
the Deep State in its efforts to further
undermine the Constitution, extend its control
over the populace, and feed its insatiable
appetite for ever-greater powers.
After all, whatever dangerous practices you
allow the government to carry out now—whether
it’s in the name of national security or
protecting America’s borders or making America
healthy again—rest assured, these same practices
can and will be used against you when the
government decides to set its sights on you.
The war on drugs turned out to be a war on
the American people, waged with SWAT teams and
militarized police. The war on terror turned out
to be a war on the American people, waged with
warrantless surveillance and indefinite
detention. The war on immigration turned out to
be a war on the American people, waged with
roving government agents demanding “papers,
This war on COVID-19 could usher in yet
another war on the American people, waged with
all of the surveillance weaponry at the
government’s disposal: thermal imaging cameras,
drones, contact tracing, biometric databases,
Unless we find some way to rein in the
government’s power grabs, the fall-out will be
Everything I have warned about for
years—government overreach, invasive
surveillance, martial law, abuse of powers,
militarized police, weaponized technology used
to track and control the citizenry, and so
on—has coalesced into this present moment.
The government’s shameless exploitation of
past national emergencies for its own nefarious
purposes pales in comparison to what is
It’s downright Machiavellian.
Deploying the same strategy it used with 9/11
to acquire greater powers under the USA Patriot
Act, the police state—a.k.a. the shadow
government, a.k.a. the Deep State—has been
anticipating this moment for years, quietly
assembling a wish list of lockdown powers that
could be trotted out and approved at a moment’s
It should surprise no one, then, that the
Trump Administration asked Congress to allow it
suspend parts of the Constitution whenever
it deems it necessary during this coronavirus
pandemic and “other” emergencies. It’s that
“other” emergencies part that should
particularly give you pause, if not spur you to
immediate action (by action, I mean a loud and
vocal, apolitical, nonpartisan outcry and
sustained, apolitical, nonpartisan resistance).
In fact, the Department of Justice (DOJ)
started to quietly trot out and test a long
laundry list of terrifying powers that override
We’re talking about lockdown powers (at both
the federal and state level):
the ability to suspend the Constitution,
indefinitely detain American citizens, bypass
the courts, quarantine whole communities or
segments of the population, override the First
Amendment by outlawing religious gatherings and
assemblies of more than a few people, shut down
entire industries and manipulate the economy,
muzzle dissidents, “stop and seize any plane,
train or automobile to stymie the spread of
contagious disease,” reshape financial markets,
create a digital currency (and thus further
restrict the use of cash), determine who should
live or die.
These are powers the police state would
desperately like to make permanent.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that
anything will change for the better under the
Biden administration. That’s not how
totalitarian regimes operate.
Bear in mind, however, that the powers the
government officially asked Congress to
recognize and authorize barely scratch the
surface of the far-reaching powers the
government has already unilaterally claimed for
Unofficially, the police state has
been riding roughshod over the rule of law for
years now without any pretense of being reined
in or restricted in its power grabs by Congress,
the courts or the citizenry.
As David C. Unger,
observes in The Emergency State:
America’s Pursuit of Absolute Security at All
“For seven decades we have been yielding
our most basic liberties to a secretive,
unaccountable emergency state – a vast but
increasingly misdirected complex of national
security institutions, reflexes, and beliefs
that so define our present world that we
forget that there was ever a different
America. ... Life, liberty, and the pursuit
of happiness have given way to permanent
crisis management: to policing the planet
and fighting preventative wars of
ideological containment, usually on terrain
chosen by, and favorable to, our enemies.
Limited government and constitutional
accountability have been shouldered aside by
the kind of imperial presidency our
constitutional system was explicitly
designed to prevent.”
This rise of an “emergency state” that
justifies all manner of government tyranny in
the name of so-called national security is all
happening according to schedule.
The civil unrest, the national emergencies,
“unforeseen economic collapse, loss of
functioning political and legal order,
purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency,
pervasive public health emergencies, and
catastrophic natural and human disasters,” the
government’s reliance on the armed forces to
solve domestic political and social problems,
the implicit declaration of martial law packaged
as a well-meaning and overriding concern for the
nation’s security: the powers-that-be have been
planning and preparing for such a crisis for
years now, not just with active shooter drills
and lockdowns and checkpoints and heightened
danger alerts, but with a sensory overload of
militarized, battlefield images—in video games,
in movies, on the news—that acclimate us to life
in a totalitarian regime.
Whether or not this particular crisis is of
the government’s own making is not the point: to
those for whom power and profit are everything,
the end always justifies the means.
The seeds of this present madness were sown
several decades ago when George W. Bush
two presidential directives that granted the
president the power to unilaterally declare a
national emergency, which is loosely defined as
“any incident, regardless of location, that
results in extraordinary levels of mass
casualties, damage, or disruption severely
affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure,
environment, economy, or government functions.
Comprising the country’s Continuity of
Government (COG) plan, these directives, which
do not need congressional approval, provide a
skeletal outline of the actions the president
will take in the event of a “national
Mind you, that national emergency can take
any form, can be manipulated for any purpose,
and can be used to justify any end goal—all on
the say so of the president.
Just what sort of actions the president will
take once he declares a national emergency can
barely be discerned from the barebones
directives. However, one thing is clear: in the
event of a national emergency, the COG
directives give unchecked executive, legislative
and judicial power to the executive branch and
its unelected minions.
The country would then be subjected to
martial law by default, and the Constitution and
the Bill of Rights would be suspended.
The emergency state is now out in the open
for all to see.
Unfortunately, “we the people” refuse to see
what’s before us.
This is how freedom dies.
We erect our own prison walls, and as our
rights dwindle away, we forge our own chains of
servitude to the police state.
Be warned, however: once you surrender your
freedoms to the government—no matter how
compelling the reason might be for doing so—you
can never get them back.
No government willingly relinquishes power.
If we continue down this road, there can be no
surprise about what awaits us at the end.
That said, we still have rights. Technically,
We should not voluntarily relinquish every
shred of our humanity, our common sense, or our
freedoms to a nanny state that thinks it can do
a better job of keeping us safe.
The government may act as if its police state
powers trump individual liberties during this
COVID-19 pandemic, but for all intents and
purposes, the Constitution—especially the
battered, besieged Bill of Rights—still stands
in theory, if not in practice.
The decisions we make right now—about
freedom, commerce, free will, how we care for
the least of these in our communities, what it
means to provide individuals and businesses with
a safety net, how far we allow the government to
go in “protecting” us against this virus,
etc.—will haunt us for a long time to come.
At times like these, when emotions are
heightened, fear dominates, common sense is in
short supply, liberty takes a backseat to public
safety, and democratic societies approach the
tipping point towards mob rule, there is a
tendency to cast those who exercise their
individual freedoms (to freely speak, associate,
assemble, protest, pursue a living, engage in
commerce, etc.) as foolishly reckless,
criminally selfish, outright villains or
Sometimes that is true, but not always.
There is always a balancing test between
individual freedoms and the communal good.
What we must figure out is how to strike a
balance that allows us to protect those who need
protecting without leaving us chained and in
bondage to the police state.
Blindly following the path of least
resistance—acquiescing without question
to whatever the government dictates—can only
lead to more misery, suffering and the erection
of a totalitarian regime in which there is no
Whatever we give up willingly now—whether
it’s basic human decency, the ability to manage
our private affairs, the right to have a say in
how the government navigates this crisis, or the
few rights still left to us that haven’t been
disemboweled in recent years by a power-hungry
police state—we won’t get back so easily once
this crisis is past.
As I make clear in my book
Battlefield America: The War on the American
People, the government never cedes
power willingly. Neither should we.
A year ago, I warned that this was a test to
see whether the Constitution—and our commitment
to the principles enshrined in the Bill of
Rights—can survive a national crisis and true
state of emergency.
Nothing has changed on that front.
James Madison, the “father” of the U.S.
Constitution and the Bill of Rights and the
fourth president of the United States, once
advised that we should “take
alarm at the first experiment upon our
These COVID-19 restrictions are far from the
first experiment on our liberties. Yet if “we
the people” continue to allow the government to
trample our rights in the name of so-called
national security, we can be assured that things
will get worse, not better.
Constitutional attorney and author John W.
Whitehead is founder and president
Rutherford Institute. His books Battlefield
America: The War on the American People and
A Government of Wolves: The Emerging
American Police State are available
www.amazon.com. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
Nisha Whitehead is the Executive Director of The
Rutherford Institute. Information about The
Rutherford Institute is available at