Ramped-up mandates ring hollow against common sense

By Dennis Linthicum

In the movie “Collateral Damage,” Arnold Schwarzenegger saves the day at the last minute.

Aside from the bad guys, explosions, and the lustre of an action movie, there is another lesson: Don’t be fooled by kind words and false pretenses.

In Oregon, businesses are being forced to submit to a miasma of safety measures for “their own good.”

The result is untold collateral damage caused by grasping hands of overreach, manipulation and coercion.

The Governor’s Office finds itself battering against a historical bulwark of common sense, sound business policies, and prudent governance. Policy inconsistencies have spawned interventions which are becoming more nakedly absurd and less scientific as time progresses while reasonableness and balance have been cast-aside.

There is a perverse logic in the latest lockdown actions. For instance, last week restaurants could turn-on their state owned and licensed lottery machines, but they could not serve food.

What local Mom and Pop restaurant can afford to open their doors, keep the lights and heaters on to sell a handful of lottery tickets without welcoming diners who stop in for a meal?

What statistical evidence do we have to warrant these new rules?

Ultimately, this is simply a slap in the face of the hard-working, independent entrepreneurs who have barely survived the past eleven-months’ worth of shutdowns.

The New York Times has even reported that Oregon has some of the most restrictive lockdown rules and is only one of the two states in the U.S. where businesses are “Mostly Closed”.

Remember, Oregon has the fourth-lowest death count for states within the US. Oregon’s ratio for total death count (2,031) to active case count (147,932) is 0.0137. This ratio is not significantly different from seasonal flu statistics over the past decade.

Certainly, elderly patients with co-morbidities require greater protection, but it seems Oregon is more intent on managing everyone’s life, not just the various sub-populations which warrant greater attention.

Should customers of a local bar be forced out onto the street at 10 p.m. because of COVID regulations? Is there any science that justifies this outlandish requirement?

How can 12 customers be welcome, safe, warm, and merry inside at 9:59 p.m. then be thrown out into the cold, dark night under a blanket-edict that mandates this will be safer for the community? How are the state’s actions justified by the data? Besides, do we have any evidence that SARS-CoV-2 knows how to tell time?

A study published last November, with nearly 10 million enrolled participants from Wuhan, substantiated that asymptomatic carriers are unable to produce replication-competent virus or infect susceptible hosts. Is this study unknown in Oregon?

The study, published in “Nature,” confirms that if asymptomatic carriers do exist, they make up an insignificant percentage of any population (0.00029%). Given these results, one should ask why are businesses across Oregon still facing draconian fines, threats, and shutdowns for trying to keep their businesses afloat?

From my perspective, these centrally planned policy mandates are being ramped up and are not diminishing, but they are not working either. We can see this by trying to assess and quantify collateral damage which is well-hidden beneath the rhetoric of “saving lives.”

If the governor started a campaign to “End all Traffic Fatalities”, would there be brute force mandates, county risk assessments and new flashing highway lights? Would Amazon delivery trucks be essential but not food delivery or school buses? Would Multnomah County be stuck at a speed limit of 15 mph because there are more traffic accidents in that county than elsewhere, like Sherman County?

This leads me to my final questions regarding the cultural, societal, and economic destruction that is sweeping through our counties.

First, how many businesses can actually survive and thrive in this turmoil?

Second, how many people, families and individuals will continue to put up with the overt regimentation and intrusions into their private, constitutionally protected concerns?

Lastly, we are endlessly told that diversity is the answer. If we truly believe this, then it is surely time we let our diverse communities, churches, schools, families, individuals, and their private enterprises have the freedom to take the precautions they feel are most appropriate and necessary, given their situation and circumstances.

As author Jeffrey Tucker explains, we can do better:

“We do not need to destroy society, lock people in their homes, tear down businesses, close schools, traumatize kids, drive people to alcoholism and drug abuse, divide society between the clean ruling class and the dirty working class, ban travel, close churches, abolish choirs, close the arts, and whip up the population into a frenzied psychological meltdown in order to deal with a new strain of a respiratory virus.”

– State Sen. Dennis Linthicum, R-Klamath Falls, represents District 28.