The COVID Con | Opinion

If you want a preview of what the world socialists want, you don't need to read Karl Marx or the Democratic Party's campaign platform. You can just remember your COVID spring. I remember mine.

What I'll always remember is the hysteria, the bullying, the lying and the devastating pain caused by all of the above.

From the moment news reached the United States of a possible coronavirus outbreak in China, the radical eft wing of the Democratic Party was on the march.

It's easy to forget now, but when word first came of the so-called "Wuhan flu" spreading in China, the American Left's first priority was to downplay its importance. They insisted it was no big deal and just being hyped by anti-Asian racists.

Of course, once the virus did hit our shores, the Left did a hard 180-degree turn. COVID-19 suddenly became the greatest threat to health and safety in human history. "Experts" warned that tens of millions of Americans would be infected and that millions could die unless we shut down all our schools, businesses and public parks, and hid in our basements.

At that point, the lockdowns were supposed to last two weeks—specifically to allow the health care system and medical suppliers to pivot to a pandemic footing—to create more hospital space, produce more face masks and so forth. Two weeks to "bend the curve," we were told, which public health bureaucrats assured us could easily be accomplished if we obeyed marching orders.

But something happened on the way to "bending the curve." The Left got a taste of the kind of power it has always dreamed of wielding. Overnight, Democratic governors and mayors started declaring unprecedented emergencies and issuing arbitrary edicts for their communities. Their ideological allies in the media ate it up. They treated the most draconian steps—sending police to break up family picnics, enforcing quarantines and shelter-in-place orders—as life-saving heroics. They treated the most aggressive and condescending Democratic politicians, like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, like rockstars.

Meanwhile, Republican governors like Ron DeSantis in Florida, Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Mike Dunleavy in Alaska, all of whom defied the so-called "scientific consensus" and treated their less urbanized constituents like adults who could assess risks for themselves, were pilloried in the press.

Two weeks turned into a month—and then three. All the while, the American economy, which had been riding higher than ever under President Trump's deft stewardship, went into a tailspin. Millions of jobs were lost and businesses were closed—many permanently. Half a school year was lost. Churches were ordered closed. President Trump canceled rallies, and anyone who protested the quarantines was attacked as a fanatic—or worse, a bigot.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

Hardship. Unemployment. Isolation. Indignity. All in the name of "science!" We were told to just passively sit by while Congress borrowed and spent trillions of dollars paying us not to work.

And then, in an instant, all the warnings and hectoring disappeared the moment leftist protestors and rioters took to the streets in the wake of George Floyd's murder in Minnesota. Even "scientists" changed their tunes, insisting that racism is a greater pandemic than COVID-19, thereby justifying mass protests against the police and the burning of buildings.

Now we know the truth. The policies implemented by defiant conservative governors saved lives, and the oppressive incompetence in blue cities and states cost them. The George Floyd protests proved that outdoor transmission of the disease was always extremely rare. But millions of Americans are still out of work. And many governors want to keep their economies smothered until the election.

The fact is that the shutdowns had almost nothing to do with public health. It was about power and control—and the election. The pandemic was real, but the hysteria was a man-made panic—not to bend the infection curve, but to bend Americans' knees to their authority.

If you want to know what it will be like under socialism, this is it: problems exaggerated, dishonestly hyped into emergencies by the leftist media, in order to allow leftist politicians to control economic, social and religious activity and pass massive expansions of government power without debate, oversight, checks or balances—all for our own good. This election year, they did it on COVID-19. What will it be next time?

Let's hope we don't find out.

Jim DeMint is chairman of the Conservative Partnership Institute, author of Saving America From Socialism, and currently serves on President Trump's Economic Recovery Taskforce. He is a former U.S. senator from South Carolina.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.