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Day 3: A Libertarian With Hopes, Fears & Regrets

I’d like to apologize for yesterday’s post. My friendly unofficial editor says it looks boastful, the words of a wise guy who saw it all coming.

I’m not here to lecture anyone. I don’t have to blog to sell my products, which have certain nonverbal charms.

I hope it’s clear that I’m more frightened than you are. I’ve built a lifetime hoard of masks and gloves and goggles and disinfectant, and I’ve been hiding at home for more than a week. My roommate and I withdrew from the world after H5N1 killed that vegan in Sweden. The authorities couldn’t blame chickens or pigs for her condition.

SINCE KATRINA, THE PENTAGON CARES MORE ABOUT OUR HEALTHI’m also sorry that some of you think I’m encouraging medical personnel to stay home. I agree that these times call for heroic acts, even if our first responders aren’t properly equipped. But I respectfully—violently—oppose the idea that they should be arrested and prosecuted for dereliction of duty. These people are civilians, not soldiers.

A lot of states are calling up emergency legislation to yank licenses from medical professionals who fail to show up for work. If the government is going to approach this deadly emergency by punishing the living, we’re worse off than I feared.

As for my politics, I can assure you I’m not particularly liberal. I am libertarian with a small l. I trust few politicians, no parties. No institutions. No tea brands. I haven’t seen leaders do much I consider praiseworthy. I’ve watched the presidency amass powers that few who signed the Declaration of Independence would have endorsed. I’ve watched Congress turn into the world’s most predictable game show. Our Supreme Court couldn’t judge a music contest without displaying extreme prejudice.

It’s nice to think that persevering civil servants in Washington will ensure we have enough food, water, electricity, and heat. But as this report from the American Civil Liberties Union warns, they’re far better geared to lock us all up. Post-9/11 doctrine gives the U.S. military and the Department of Homeland Security the authority to force Americans to be medicated, quarantined, and vaccinated if the president declares it necessary. Today's Pentagon intensively tracks flu around the world. (Do the generals know that ‘magic bullet’ is a metaphor?)

This libertarian simply wants the government to function politely and effectively.

I’m overwhelmed by demand for personal protection items, so I have work to do. I’ll return tomorrow with some useful information.

Meanwhile, I can report the failure of my neighbors’ annual April Fools bash, though it’s been a gorgeous night here. Normally the NYPD would have crashed the party by now. In lieu of guests, all I can detect across the street are empty thumping pop music and ripples of laughter. New Yorkers are lying low. Stay well.

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