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GUEST COLUMN: Return to our Heritage and Manage to Freedom

By Barry Farah
Guest Column in The Gazette and Colorado Politics, July 24, 2020


The governor is playing a dangerous game. He assumes the role of health czar. He is managing to safety versus managing to freedom. And that is suffocating the citizens of Colorado. When it comes to the role of public servant, managing to safety is morally inferior to managing to freedom.

Though the COVID-19 death rate for those without a preexisting condition is close to zero, the extended power grab has crimped our freedom rights in three ways. First, managing to safety assumes the government knows best — that it must solve the problem. Managing to safety interferes with your right to manage your own life.

Second, the infrastructure of the manage to safety strategy ignores dissent. In their execution of expansive emergency powers, governors and mayors often disregard challenges to their assumptions. Manage to safety-minded elected officials act more like hypercontrolling guardians of children than public servants. Managing to safety minimizes your right to personal liberty.

Finally, the manage to safety mindset is financially reckless. The rescue plans are testament to the government’s guilt. It interfered with your private property rights, your freedom to assemble, the ability to build your business — and discounted your capacity to mitigate your risks. Ultimately, managing to safety interferes with your right to pursue happiness.

When governing officials overlay a manage to safety grid on their citizens, they presume they alone can de-risk the problem. Over time, their increasingly expansive rules undermine individual dignity.

A manage to freedom approach is superior, not to mention fundamentally American. If the response to the pandemic had been guided by a manage to freedom philosophy, elected officials would have only executed short-term executive powers to fix the supply chain. Recall, that was the original argument in mid-March. We would have quarantined the sick and protected the vulnerable, in keeping with a time-tested approach.

Now to the absurdity of masks. In light of a plethora of data against the efficacy of face masks, our elected officials are obligated to give us the freedom to speak unmuffled. I performed a data dive on the topic reading the test results run by the world’s most respected epidemiologists and related infection control organizations.

Before the COVID-19 era, the tests expose why the CDC and the U.S. surgeon general repeatedly stated with impassioned authority that masks should not be worn by the general public and why masks could increase the risk of contracting the virus. Dating back to 2006, “Face Mask Use and Control of Respiratory Virus” tests reveal that most people touch their masks, seed it with bacteria and render it useless or harmful. A professional medical study in 2012 showed a long-term negative medical effect.

After the CDC’s politically driven change of guidance, the NEJM in April warned, “We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection…the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety.” In their follow-up article July 9, they add that masks are only effective “when circumstances compel them to be within 6 feet of others for sustained periods.” Peer reviewed JAMA states, “there is no evidence to suggest that face masks worn by healthy individuals are effective.” The University of Texas reported in April that “cloth masks are not recommended…moisture retention, reuse and poor filtration may result in increased risk of infection.” In June WHO cautioned, “the widespread use of masks by healthy people in the community setting is not yet supported by high quality or direct scientific evidence and there are potential harms to consider.”

By his words and actions, Gov. Jared Polis doesn’t believe these scientists and calls people who don’t wear their “damn masks” “selfish bastards.” The manage to safety presumption arrogantly trades a false sense of security for a long-term deprivation of our three foundational freedom rights. The manage to freedom mindset promotes safety, but with humility. Government can bridge the gap in an emergency, but when it manages to freedom it deploys its power with restraint.

For the balance of COVID-19 and for the next crisis that raises its ugly head, let’s return to our heritage and manage to freedom. It will be a breath of fresh air.

Barry Farah is a deal adviser and served as CEO of twelve businesses in six sectors, wrote three business books, and ran for governor of Colorado in 2018.