We need to have a serious public discussion about government lockdowns. What the government did to the populace in response to COVID-19 was a disturbing abuse of authority – and trust.
We must relieve the government of the power to do that to us again. Because they will, and not just as a response to the next nasty virus we encounter. The next lockdowns may well be global – and permanent.
In January 2019 if you had told me that Nevada would be in lockdown two months later, I would have said the citizenry would never comply, that it was impossible. I thought Nevadans (and Americans) valued freedom too much to allow it to happen. Clearly, I was wrong.
You may think the pandemic is over. The directives, mask and vaccine mandates, lockdowns, vaccine passports, social distancing rules, etc are gone – for the moment. But they can reappear at any time, solely at the discretion of the governor. We must change that immediately. If we don’t, it is sure to happen again.
This isn’t an argument about whether or not lockdowns and mandates “worked” or not. That’s not the point. Arguing about those details is a distraction from the critical issue: that any one person (or one government branch) has the ability to misuse the power of Nevada’s Emergency Management statutes to suspend your rights, bark orders, and use the law enforcement system to mete out punishment for non-compliance.
This needs to change immediately. Despite some limiting language in the existing law, (NRS-414), Governor Sisolak continually exceeded his authority. To prevent this happening in the future, we must specifically limit the government’s emergency power in scope, duration, and the nature of what a qualifying “emergency” consists of.
There are at least three much needed reforms (for more details see Nevada Policy Research Institute’s 2021 Legislative Report Card):
- Make it harder to misrepresent the act;
- Emergencies must pose an immediate threat;
- Limit the duration of any ‘emergency.’
The previous legislature did nothing to address these issues. Three limiting bills were offered, but they went nowhere. Sisolak lost his job in November of 2022, but that doesn’t fix the problem. Without serious legislative reform, the power still exists, just waiting for the next tyrannical impulse to wield it. Nevada’s legislature must make fixing this a priority in 2023.
Even more disturbing was that Nevada’s supposed “freedom loving” populace went along with the tyranny. The local and national media pushed a propaganda narrative of fear and pseudo-scientific pronouncements – the vast majority of which turned out to be entirely wrong. The acceptance of near totalitarian control was lauded as “civic duty and social responsibility” by the media propaganda machine. This immediately became a good versus evil morality play. Science was made political.
In the minds of most Americans, the safety and efficacy of a “vaccine” depended on who the president was when it was offered. People seamlessly switched from “I’ll never take that Trump vaccine!” to “If you don’t take the Biden vaccine, you are an unscientific danger to society!”
Fear was stoked intentionally as a public health policy tool. That is the playbook that was run on us in response to COVID-19. Our abusers really got to see what worked and what didn’t.
The urgency of this matter is that lockdowns and mandates and all the rest of it is still an immediate threat. Our dear leaders have learned to love the lockdown, and they now have two very likely “reasons” to do it to us again.
The first: Covid still exists in the world, as do other viruses. Fear of them could easily be used again. Already some east coast schools are reinstating mask mandates – Ann Arbor Michigan schools were first. Many colleges are requiring students to have a booster to attend class.
The second is an even bigger threat: Climate lockdowns – we have already seen “climate emergency” declared in some places in Europe. It sounds impossible or hyperbolic (as Covid lockdowns did in 2019) but it is really happening. We are already seeing the form this will likely take. It’s called “the 15 minute city”.
This concept, promulgated by the World Economic Forum, basically divides cities into districts where people can ostensibly reach all needs and services within a 15 minute walk or a short bike ride. The reason isn’t shopping convenience – it is to drastically limit private car use as a means of combating climate change. But of course, it is more coercive than that. “Don’t need a car” + “climate emergency” = “your right to drive must be severely limited”.
A “test” of the concept has been approved by the Oxfordshire County (city of Oxford) UK council for 2024. It starts with “traffic e-gates”. They will be equipped with license plate readers and will track your movement through the city. If you want to drive through an e-gate you are required to apply for a permit.
Criteria for the application is not spelled out. The permit will allow you to go through the e-gate 100 times per year per household. (2 adults with 2 cars is 50 each or about once a week). If you drive across more than this allotment you are fined for each additional crossing, approximately £70-100 per offense.
The city is being divided into six 15 minute “cities” to define the area which requires a permit to exit in a private car. You can drive in your own district and cross the e-gate anytime on foot, on a bike, or on a public bus.
They surveyed the city populace and 90% were against the scheme, but the sponsoring council member made a statement that this was “happening whether people liked it or not”.
We all know that after they put in all the cameras and a tracking/fining infrastructure, it is never going away regardless of what the “test” shows. The proponents will call it a success regardless of outcome. And of course, once in place, they will tighten the restrictions. The number of passes will gradually go down and the cost of the fines will go up until you cannot travel by personal car unless you are an elite. Once you give up your car you are totally dependent on public transport. In China access to public transport can be limited for poor social credit scores.
One can imagine people actually enjoying living where all their needs are within walking distance. Many neighborhoods in Manhattan are already much like this. Modern city design could (and probably will) incorporate this type of design and be wildly popular in a free (or semi-free) market. But that is not what is being described here. The picture elites draw of the 15 minute city reflects a beautiful place, almost a utopia – like a high-income district might actually be. But existing low income neighborhoods are not suddenly going to become posh. These people will effectively be segregated from the nicer parts of the city. These lower income neighborhoods will essentially become ghettos, e-walled off from travel by private car.
You might not be overly concerned, this is after all the wacky UK, Not America. Don’t be overly sure of that. The mayor of Cleveland just made a speech that he wants Cleveland to be the first 15 minute city in the US.
Even worse, this concept has already been proposed in Nevada (in Storey County) and was endorsed by Governor Sisolak as a “smart city”, definitionally similar to the WEF’s 15 minute city – plus blockchains.
So beware, Nevadans. The threat of lockdowns (and worse) is still very real. We must act now to remove the government’s ability to tyrannize us in this way. If we don’t, they surely will.