The Medical Slave State

"I’ll see you on the outside—68 days." "That’s in jail. You still don’t know where you’re at?" "Yeah, where am I at?" "With us, baby, you’re with us. And you gonna stay with us until we let you go."
— Randle McMurphy and Attendant Washington, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975)

This scene from the film adaptation of Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest offered up a cautionary tale nearly five decades ago that has tremendous relevance today. Because in that moment, Randle McMurphy, played by the great Jack Nicholson, realized he was in a situation he hadn’t bargained for and couldn’t control.

Decent Americans have no reason to empathize with Randle McMurphy, a character who was at the very least an incorrigible sociopath and a menace. But Americans today are in a situation they hadn’t bargained for, and they are rapidly losing control of their destiny.

Once whatever challenges Americans face are declared medical emergencies, it now appears they have no constitutional rights. All individual actions can now be controlled by executive fiat. If behavior that runs contrary to the objectives of America’s most powerful establishment institutions can be declared a pathology, the inconvenience of due process can be discarded. They’ll just put you in an asylum and throw away the key. They’ll lock you down. They’ll tell you where you can go, who you can see, what products you can consume, and what content you can watch.

Anyone who doubts this need only consider the events of the past nine months. A two-week “lockdown” to “slow the spread” has turned into a catastrophic shutdown with no end in sight. The entire nation has been turned into a medically supervised asylum as corporate elites mop up what’s left of independent businesses. Whatever chances America ever had of crawling out of debt have been drowned by trillions in new federal borrowing. Life in America may never be the same again.

The scariest thing about this medical usurpation of the constitutional rights of Americans is the precedent it has set. One may argue forever over whether or not the COVID-19 virus required this level of lockdown, but at least it was a virus. At least it was a genuine medical challenge. If this virus didn’t actually merit these measures, perhaps the next one will. But what if any agenda of social control can be medicalized?

The Medical Emergencies of “Systemic Racism” and Climate Change?

Don’t laugh. Already there are doctors willing to declare so-called “systemic racism” a public health emergency. With the lengths to which corporate America, the media, academia, the entertainment industry, and liberal politicians are already willing to go in the name of combating systemic racism, imagine how much further they’ll go once they’ve declared it a medical emergency? “Follow the science,” they will say. “Listen to the scientists.” Or the infantile phrase now used to make whatever statement it precedes beyond debate, “Science says….” And when “the scientists” decide systemic racism is a health emergency, politicians will be empowered to do whatever they want.

In the name of combating the health emergency of systemic racism, for example, forced integration of suburbs will become a matter beyond legal challenge. To be clear: Reasonable people don’t care if people of differing races move into their suburb and become their neighbors. What reasonable people object to is working all their lives to pay for a home in a safe, quiet neighborhood, and then having their taxes used to fund people moving in, becoming their neighbors, and living there for free.

Medicalization of political issues is sort of like the liberal rhetoric of compassion but more potent. It provides a powerful tool for self-aggrandizing opportunists, in an irony that utterly escapes rank and file liberals. For example, low-income multi-family housing, imposed scattershot into neighborhoods that were previously 100 percent single-family homes, offers financial windfalls to tax-subsidized investors. But now the hard-working residents who just want the people they live around to pay the same prices they did, and make the same sacrifices they did, aren’t just personally defamed as racists. Now they’re said to be suffering from a collective pathology. The cure, demanded because this is a health emergency, will undermine if not virtually erase their standing in court to object. Investors get rich. Residents get ruined. Racism is supposedly cured.

The “climate emergency” is also moving swiftly towards being defined as a health emergency, with all the streamlining of process and obliteration of constitutional rights inherent in such a declaration. It isn’t hard to see where this is going: micromanagement of virtually everything people do. To justify this, America’s elites, looking down from lofty heights, see a nation with a pathological need to overindulge in resource consumption. Sustainable options abound to address potential resource scarcity—clean natural gas, nuclear power, biomass conversion, hydropower, indoor agriculture, desalination, and eventually, commercial fusion. And of course, mass immigration is not inevitable, it’s a policy choice. More resources, slower population growth. Problem solved. But these options don’t allow opportunistic special interests to make more profit. They don’t allow America’s establishment elites to amass more power.

Turning environmentalism and the “climate emergency” into a health emergency, on the other hand, admirably fulfills the elitist goals of more profit and power. Cram people into the footprints of existing cities via “smart growth” in order to artificially inflate the value of entitled land. The rich get richer while everyone else no longer can afford rent or their mortgage payment. More and more voters demand subsidies. Artificially scarce, rationed energy and water deliver spectacular profits to the utilities, which collect a regulated percentage profit atop grossly inflated revenues, even while actually delivering less to consumers. High tech manufacturers deliver buggy, internet-enabled appliances that monitor and manage electricity and water consumption, and are obsolete within a few years. The plutocrats prosper. The people suffer. The planet is supposedly saved.

COVID Precedent Points Toward Future Slavery

Everything put in place to combat the COVID pandemic is furthering the creation of a medical slave state. A medical emergency was declared, everyone was told to go on lockdown, and with fitful exceptions, everyone went on lockdown. The population is now desensitized to the term “lockdown.” That a medical emergency can erase constitutional rights is now a fact, not conjecture. And the technology of surveillance and control has taken a giant leap forward with contact tracing, facial recognition, the inevitable tiers of privileges that will be attendant to individual vaccination status, and the fact that the American people, by and large, accept this.

The medical state, usurping constitutional rights, is now a reality poised to mutate and attack whatever realms serve the interests of the rich and powerful.

President Trump, on three critical issues—the pandemic, systemic racism, and climate change—has been a consistent voice of common sense. This fact, that Trump opposes alarmist overreaction to these issues, and without fear or hesitation exposes the hidden agendas behind the overreaction, is the real reason he is bitterly opposed by every establishment institution in America. President Trump is one of America’s last hopes to reverse the permanent medicalization of public policy, bypassing the constitution.

If Trump’s most implacable and powerful opponents had their way, they would lock him up in an asylum like Randle McMurphy. Unlike Kesey’s unforgettable character, however, President Trump is dangerously sane, as are his supporters. Watch out. The doctors, with paid-for diagnoses, are coming for all of you.

About Edward Ring

Edward Ring is a senior fellow of the Center for American Greatness. He is also is a contributing editor and senior fellow with the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013 and served as its first president. Ring is the author of Fixing California: Abundance, Pragmatism, Optimism (2021) and The Abundance Choice: Our Fight for More Water in California (2022).

Photo: KrizzDaPaul/Getty Images

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13 responses to “The Medical Slave State”

  1. Antifa and BLM will be the enforcers of each “medical crisis”. Non-compliance will be met with a violent crowd that will burn down your business or attack you in your home.

    Any resistance to these enforcers will be met with indictment by Soros supplied DA’s.

    The problem for freedom loving Americans is that they are spread wide and far (look at the 2016 presidential election map of the country by county). This makes it difficult to raise the forces necessary to combat the Antifa and BLM thugs.

  2. For 20 years Don has been the only President with “common” sense!

  3. Edward Ring sez: “What reasonable people object to is working all their lives to pay for a home in a safe, quiet neighborhood, and then having their taxes used to fund people moving in, becoming their neighbors, and living there for free.”

    That resentment is a little of it, sure. Mostly, though, it’s the damage their houses take.

    People work and sacrifice to get a good single-family house in a quiet neighborhood. Once they do, for most, it becomes their primary asset, by far the largest slice of their savings and investments. Forcing high-density housing in the area usually results in a decline of its value. When that housing is a low-income project the decline is drastic, and for good reason: the residents of the project bring social pathologies with them that destroy the peace, order and security of the neighborhood. Prospective buyers simply go elsewhere, demand collapses, prices follow. Those who for their old age depended on the savings their houses represented are thrown into poverty.

    That’s the leading crime behind these programs: the destruction of the lives of some in order to promise benefits in the lives of others. Homeowners don’t miss seeing that one, and it’s their first concern here.

  4. Well stated, Edward.

    Not much more to add other than that when all this lockdown & mask hysteria & madness began earlier this year, I heard Dennis Prager say on his radio program: “I’m not afraid of dying — I’m afraid of NOT living.”

    I would like to see our side, from President Trump on down, adopt this as our clarion call in this battle.

  5. “When man believed that happiness was dependent upon God, he killed for religious reasons. When he believed that happiness was dependent upon the form of government, he killed for political reasons….After dreams that were too long, true nightmares…we arrived at the present period of history. Man woke up, discovered that which we always knew, that happiness is dependent upon health, and began to kill for therapeutic reasons….It is medicine that has come to replace both religion and politics in our time.” — Adolfo Bioy Casares

    All too many have latched onto a fantasy: that it may really be possible to cheat death. Though this is provably not the case, it powers the decisions — and the fears — of millions. Many of those millions have renounced religious faith, which renders them susceptible to making life their supreme value. Of the others, perhaps it’s about aversion to pain, from which few are exempt. But fantasies of an indefinitely prolonged and healthy life will fail in the end.

  6. Yes, they have found the key to unlimited power – declared health emergencies. Legislatures cannot muster the political will to counter these and so far courts are ineffective. I think the governor or someone else in Pennsylvania has already floated the idea of declaring gun violence a “health emergency”. Goodbye second amendment, just like that.

  7. I have the same response to this as to all the other pieces documenting the parade of horribles:

    What are you prepared to DO about any of it? Voting is not the only civic duty. Defending your rights as a citizen is another sacred duty.

  8. Maybe after saying this for seven months, people will finally start listening: you can choose to exercise your second amendment rights, or you can lose all of your rights. That’s how this ends. Until tyrants are shown they have reason to fear the public, they will continue to ignore the law.

  9. Why hasn’t anyone noticed that all this has paralleled the rise of women in power in politics, academia, and corporate America? Why should it not surprise anyone that these twisted policy initiatives reflect the infantile feminist principles that life must be all bliss, all the time, that no risk is ever acceptable, and that the truth is whatever they believe it to be?

  10. Unfortunately trump did not undeclare his National emergency so he may well get the blame.

    • No. Trump is scrupulously Constitutional. He understood that under the Constitution the US is a Federal system with different responsibilities for the States and the central Federal Government. He organized the legitimate Federal part magnificently – rallying industry, government, the military and the public health establishment to solve problems on a scale that only the federal government could – manufacturing billions of units of PPE, solving the problems of testing and promulgating effective testing at a level unmatched in the world, solving the problem of ventilators by having huge industrial companies set up production rapidly from scratch and supplying the US then the world, using the military to generative massive instant hospitals were needed and hospital ships where useful and set up logistics for delivery of whatever was needed – ventilators, treatments, and soon vaccines, pushing the FDA and CDC bureaucracies to actually do their job of helping move treatments forward reducing the death rate by 85% and moving vaccines forward in less than a year whose development would normally take four to five years, and proving thousands of federal doctors to fill in the gaps where needed. Meanwhile the States had the Public Health resources, the system, control over their hospitals and state resources, knew the local situations in detail, and were supposed to run their own situations. Most did competently. Some abused their powers to become petty tyrants punishing enemies (like the religious) while permitting allies (rioting demonstrators) free rein. Some free lanced on policies (like sending recovering but still infectious patients to nursing homes instead of using the thousands of beds for recovery the federal government had provided and caused 6000-10,000 unnecessary deaths. But that is the American system. The people elect their local, county and state leaders and those leaders are supposed to run their localities, counties and states.

      Trump followed the instructions of his experts in Public Health with a couple of exceptions. He shut off travel from China and Europe when his experts and all the Democrats thought it a bad idea. And he was right. He instituted the shutdowns to bend the curve when the hospital systems in some areas were threatened with being overwhelmed (if hospitals are overwhelmed and turn to triage from the EU experience casualty rates quadruple). But over time he soured on the economic shutdown as the cost in lives lost from other causes related to the shutdown – suicide, drug abuse, ruined businesses and lives – mounted. And being a business man he realized that the advice he was getting was narrow – convincing from a public health point of view but incomplete – and he changed his advisory team to encompass people with a broader viewpoint. He used his powers to restart the economy while supporting those rendered unemployed or businesses floundering. He produced an incredibly rapid V-shaped recovery. Cases continue but the death rate has dropped to a small fraction because of states like Florida that figured out that the point was not to stop cases but to protect the elderly and compromised. TO put a point on this – realize that over 30,000 cases of COVID-19 arose when the universities re-opened under considerable pressure from Trump) but there were ZERO hospitalizations and ZERO deaths in those 30,000 cases. This phenomenon is why, for example, Florida, a more populous state than NY has a more cases (752K vs 518K) but a death rate of 741 cases per million cases compared to NY 1720 cases per million) because NY ideologically focused on general control measures while Florida focused on the specific populations at risk. Meanwhile data comes from overseas that countries like Sweden who, like Florida did not engage in economic shut downs but protected the elderly (and have lower rates of diabetes and risk factors) came up with an even lower death rate of 585M. Meanwhile economically the USA was among the least damaged of the Western powers and is, as noted, recovering nicely.

      So ironically but unsurprising for a businessman, Trump’s policies, freed of complete reliance on the public health establishments (and their distain for economic consequences of their policies) are restoring the economy, reduced death rates by 85% and with vaccines are poised to eliminate the disease. Meanwhile Democrats, seeking more deaths because it serves their political purposes try to undermine the vaccines. It just shows who they really are – valuing power over lives.

      • He did not fire Fauci, who is still platformed. He is hurtling warp speed towards a vaccine (at army needlepoint! 300,000 voluntary! (like the mask!) doses already on order) whereas he should be throwing his weight behind warp speed hydroxy.