Like Dr. Anthony Fauci and countless other petty tyrants, California’s Gavin Newsom (D) is not in any rush to give up the arbitrary powers he asserted during the coronavirus pandemic.
The governor made that clear Friday when he announced that he will not be lifting California’s state of emergency on June 15, as he had promised, even though he is lifting most COVID-related restrictions, Fox News reported.
Newsom’s order may seem contradictory at first, but there is a sinister logic to it, writes author Daniel Greenfield: he is asserting indefinite authority over his residents.
As Greenfield put it, Newsom is lifting restrictions to shore up his position ahead of a recall election, which was brought on by popular backlash against his COVID response.
While the restrictions may fade out for now, it’s hardly a victory. Having usurped the unilateral authority to impose them, Newsom can always bring them back when he pleases. Greenfield explained, “Facing a recall, Newsom opened up the state. But no single politician should have that kind of power. Newsom has opened things up, but he can close them down again.”
Indeed, Newsom is sticking closely to the tyrant’s playbook, playing on fears of the unknown. “The one thing I am certain of is: There’s uncertainty in the future,” he said.
Never mind that uncertainty is part of human life: Newsom’s comments are not reflective of reality, with infections at their lowest level since last March, when the lockdowns started. Still, Newsom insisted, “we’re still in a state of emergency. This disease is still in effect. It is not taking the summer off.”
Governor faces popular referendum
Greenfield enlarged on Newsom’s power grab, noting that 2020 “ushered in a new normal in which a crisis effectively suspends the rule of law” and that many politicians, not just Newsom, are loath to give up arbitrary powers. What’s more, many Americans have appeared to accept these new circumstances.
That restrictions may be ending now in many places does not mean the threat to freedom is gone. “The political norms that are violated by emergency decrees and power grabs can’t just be restored,” Greenfield wrote.
“Politicians and bureaucrats are unlikely to give up their newfound powers. And people who consent to this sort of thing once are far more likely to accept it as the new normal,” he continued.
Not everyone has accepted the “new normal,” however. Newsom’s recall is the one tangible, significant case of a politician facing consequences for the unaccountable exercise of power since the pandemic began.
Booting him wouldn’t make California free again, but it would be a healthy start.