COVID-19 Tested Our Commitment to Freedom. Three Years Later, We’re Still Failing

John W. Whitehead
7 min readFeb 21, 2024

“The remedy is worse than the disease.” — Francis Bacon

The government never cedes power willingly.

Neither should we.

If the COVID-19 debacle taught us one thing it is that, as Justice Neil Gorsuch acknowledged, “Rule by indefinite emergency edict risks leaving all of us with a shell of a democracy and civil liberties just as hollow.”

Unfortunately, we still haven’t learned.

We’re still allowing ourselves to be fully distracted by circus politics and a constant barrage of bad news screaming for attention.

Three years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which gave world governments (including our own) a convenient excuse for expanding their powers, abusing their authority, and further oppressing their constituents, there’s something being concocted in the dens of power.

The danger of martial law persists.

Any government so willing to weaponize one national crisis after another in order to expand its powers and justify all manner of government tyranny in the so-called name of national security will not hesitate to override the Constitution and lockdown the nation again.

You’d better get ready, because that so-called crisis could be anything: civil unrest, 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.”

COVID-19 was a test to see how quickly the populace would march in lockstep with the government’s dictates, no questions asked, and how little resistance the citizenry would offer up to the government’s power grabs when made in the name of national security.

“We the people” failed that test spectacularly.

Characterized by Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch as “the greatest intrusions on civil liberties in the peacetime history of this country,” the government’s COVID-19 response to the COVID-19 pandemic constituted a massively intrusive, coercive and authoritarian assault on the right of individual sovereignty over one’s life…

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John W. Whitehead

Constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, is one of the nation’s leading advocates of civil liberties and human rights.