I’m all for preparedness. But being prepared doesn’t need to follow the tactics of the jackbooted thugs of history: the fascists.
Well I was afraid the government fear mongering over H1N1 was going to lead to some fascistic megalomaniacal behavior from various levels of government. Now it has come to pass in Massachusetts in full fascistic glory in the name of public safety. Today the Massachusetts Senate Passes Draconian Flu Pandemic Bill (other sources: here, here, the bill itself (pdf)) that in effect turns that state into a police state under martial law if a flu pandemic is declared.
The fact that anyone would even consider such fascistic actions bodes ill for this nation. Being prepared for a potential disaster is one thing. Destroying the rights of the citizenry is another. Given our assorted governments recent arrogance and activities I’m naturally inclined to assume the worst about such measures when played off as “in the interest of the public good”.
The problem herein lies on several points:
1. Who determines when it is a pandemic? The state government? The same state government that passed the bill? WHO already declared H1N1 as a pandemic on June 11, 2009. So if the bill passes does Massachusetts become a police state overnight?
2. Allows for forced vaccination of the population or face imprisonment (or as they call it “isolated or quarantined”). This in spite a number of medical professionals concerned that the vaccinations are unnecessary and unsafe combined with the sudden easing of regulatory controls in order to produce enough of the vaccine.
3. Warrantless invasion of homes. Unconstitutional and likely will endanger the lives of those attempting such home invasions.
4. Warrantless destruction of private property. Unconstitutional. And leads to questions of why this portion is needed if, as is claimed, the intent is to isolate people from the disease. How does destroying their property accomplish this? We aren’t dealing with the bubonic plague here. Yes you can destroy contaminated items but what’s to stop it at just the contaminated objects?
5. Quarantine people against there will. While this is always the case with confirmed virulent cases of highly communicable diseases (e.g. tuberculosis) there appears to be no safeguards to ensure a person is allowed to appeal their quarantine as occurs in many other similar cases.
6. Restrict free assembly. Unconstitutional no matter how you look at it, even in the name of “public health”.
7. Involuntary transportation to treatment centers. This ones is questionable given other segments about quarantining people in their own homes without legal recourse. Can’t have it both ways, people.
8. Warrantless arrest. Gee, isn’t this the same thing so many liberals claim they’re against?
9. A real kicker: all involved in the (unconstitutional) acts can not be held criminally or civilly liable for their actions. Yep, nothing says trustworthiness more than making yourself exempt from accountability and responsibility.
So currently this bill violates the following portions of the Bill of Rights (off the top of my head): 1st, 4th, and 5th. You know those lovely rights that allow us free assembly (and religion), due process, protection from unreasonable search and seizure. I’m sure there are many other Constitutional violations involved as well.
Unfortunately other states (NC, FL, WA, etc.) are adopting similarly, some equally fascistic, approaches to curb the rights of the citizens in the name of “public safety”. Hopefully the MA House will kill this thing, but I’m skeptical of anyone in government at this point doing anything that is truly for the benefit of the people.
This bodes ill for all. Nothing good will come of this act.
Woe to Republic!