Britain has been locked down. We might expect the Karens to be happy with apparent moral justification for their busybody selves, suspiciously peering out their windows at anybody that dare take two minutes too long on their one-daily permitted walk.
Yet we might not have expected nearly everyone to channel their inner Karen.
To much nodding approval, British local police have been cracking down on individuals (apparently) flouting the new lockdown restrictions. Warrington Police notified us that they have summoned people for merely driving around, returning from a party, and shopping for “non-essential items.”
Firstly, the police have not been given these powers, but they have been expressing them nonetheless. Brits were reassured by government that they would not be bothered if out for a drive to “blow away the cobwebs.” Moreover, there’s no apparent risk to anybody if someone goes out for a drive by themselves, and then coming straight back home. The police’s actions go against the law, and common sense.
There have been no stipulations by government about what qualifies as an essential item. Individuals are allowed to go shopping, and there have so far been no laws saying we can’t we buy scatter cushions or wind-up frogs. This is police taking their judgment not from the law, but from their whim.
People are starting to get sick of this B-Tech Stasi. Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens has been the loudest anti-authoritarian voice on this, amongst very few (shoutouts to James Delingpole, Lord Sumpton, and many decent American commentators pushing back).
Yesterday morning, Hitchens was granted a pitifully short interview on Good Morning Britain in which he was allowed to express his concerns about what he sees as a disproportionate power grab.
Also in the panel was a representative of the police who said he disagreed with what many local police forces were doing, but implored people to be kind to the poor coppers who, in a sea of misinformation, are doing their best to enforce the law properly.
This gives wind to the idea that police officers are mindless drones that are incapable of free thought, and can only dumbly follow orders. I differ. Policemen and women have just as much a brain as the rest of us, and are capable of regulating their behavior with it.
In the absence of a law clearly authorising certain conduct, police should operate by this principle: if you’re not 100% sure you’re protecting somebody from harm, bugger off. You don’t just cart about like a petty despot telling people what to do just because there’s a virus.
This kind of response was obvious as soon as the the public opened the door to comprehensive state control. Every one of the nosy neighbors that rejoiced in the lockdown must realize that these behavior of this kind was inevitable.
I can sort of empathize with those who are unhappy with the government basically shutting down society, yet argue it’s necessary to save lives. But the people who are unabashedly cheering the police and the state for instituting health fascism should be ashamed of themselves. I in turn am ashamed of my country for becoming a meme.
The British people’s value for basic liberty has been beaten out of them. It doesn’t even register that freedom might be a value at all.
And what are the chances of all these draconian measures going away when this virus thing is done? There is a high likelihood of what Bob Higgs calls the “ratchet effect.” The government pumps up the crisis, then white knights for us, justifying basically any policy they want on the basis that it’s for people’s livelihoods, and then doesn’t bother repealing the so-called “emergency measures.”