We should speak out against deadly, authoritarian lockdowns

“I desire that this land be a land of liberty, and every man may enjoy his rights and privileges alike.” — Mosiah 29:32

“The Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.

 For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies.” Ether 8: 24-25

“The power of government must have limits,” said Elder David A. Bednar in June 2020. “This time of restriction and confinement has confirmed for me that no freedom is more important than religious freedom. Protecting a person’s physical health from the coronavirus is, of course, important, but so is a person’s spiritual health. While believers and their religious organizations must be good citizens in a time of crisis, never again can we allow government officials to treat the exercise of religion as simply nonessential. Never again must the fundamental right to worship God be trivialized below the ability to buy gasoline.”

Like Elder Bednar, all Latter-day Saints should speak out against the deadly and authoritarian lockdowns that have been instituted by out of control governments around the world. Not only have these lockdowns affected religious and others freedoms, but they are causing millions of unnecessary deaths, destroying the economy worldwide, bankrupting businesses and causing an increase in suicide, depression, anxiety and a myriad of other health disorders.

Lockdowns should be voluntary. People who feel they are at risk should stay home. Mask wearing (more on that later) should also be voluntary. Governments that impose lockdowns and mask mandates are acting in an authoritarian manner. The purpose of this post is to increase pressure on society to end mandatory lockdowns and mask mandates so that healthy people can return to normal lives. Note that some protections should be taken for the most vulnerable in society (the elderly and others at risk), but these protections should follow the actual science, not the voodoo that is spouted by most people in the media today.

I would like to remind readers that in times of panic and fear, governments almost always respond by restricting freedom. During World War I, people of German descent were harassed and arrested. During World War II, 120,000 Japanese-Americans were sent to American detention camps because of fear and hysteria. The Supreme Court even upheld this clearly unconstitutional act. (I am happy to say that the Supreme Court recently apologized for this decision). We are living through a similar time now, when people allow their terror to justify government attempts to control other innocent people.

Many people have forgotten how we got to this place. Much of the panic started because of the media’s need for clicks. The media has spent much of the last nine months fueling panic to increase advertising revenue. And one of the primary sources was the now completely discredited projection that 2.2 million people in the United States would die from the coronavirus. The real numbers are likely to be one fifth of that, at worst. So, the primary reason for the first lockdowns in March and April were based on media exaggeration and bad science. (In fairness to the author of that report, he latter retracted it and pointed out that lockdowns were not the solution. Ahem.)

We must, of course, ask ourselves the common sense question: “if the lockdowns were successful, why are we locking down again, and if the lockdowns were not successful, why are we locking down again?” But the real point is that when you give governments power, they never want to give it up. We are beginning to understand why modern-day prophets and the Book of Mormon have warned us again and again to protect liberty. Liberty is a precious thing that can disappear in a few days, and we have seen that truth unfold in front of us in 2020.

So here we are at the end of November 2020, with governors literally starving their own populations in New Mexico by shutting down grocery stores left and right. We see unprecedented curfews imposed on tens of millions of people. Meanwhile, businesses and churches continue to be fined and controlled by a long list of capricious rules that seem to change ever week. In my ward in Colorado, one week we were allowed to have 100 people at Sacrament meeting, the next week, 175 people and now only 50 people. Meanwhile, all of these people are masked and sitting at least six feet from everybody else. And of course no singing, no going to the bathroom, and no drinking from the drinking fountain!!! One ward in our stake was visited by government bureaucrats wearing hazmat suits to make sure they were following the rules.

The lockdowns are more than just Orwellian nonsense: they are also deadly. Ponder this (hat tip to Tom Woods for most of these statistics):

United Nations report in April warned that economic hardship generated by disruptions of commerce could result in hundreds of thousands of additional child deaths in 2020. The report warned that 42 million to 66 million children could fall into extreme poverty as a result of the crisis. Even The Atlantic had to admit, “When you ask them to stay home, in many cases you’re asking them to starve.”

UNICEF warned of 1.2 million child deaths — “visits to health care centers are declining due to lockdowns, curfews and transport disruptions, and as communities remain fearful of infection.”

Oxford University’s Sunetra Gupta has pointed to warnings by global authorities that as many as 130 million people are at risk of starvation thanks to the possibility of famine in several dozen places around the world, brought on by lockdown-induced disruptions of supply chains.

Suicidal ideation is massively on the rise in the United States. The federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports on percentages of people who have considered suicide within the previous 12 months, organized by age. People between the ages of 18 and 25 fluctuate between 6.8 percent and 11 percent. Now, from the Centers for Disease Control, we find that percentage (for the 18-24 group) has leaped to 25.5 percent — and this survey asks not about the previous 12 months, like the earlier one, but whether they’ve considered suicide just in the past 30 days.

In the UK, cancer authorities have been warning that the lockdowns will wind up leading to as many or more avoidable cancer deaths than COVID deaths there — as many as 60,000, according to one estimate. In fact, says Richard Sullivan, a professor of cancer and global health at King’s College London and director of its Institute of Cancer Policy: “The number of deaths due to the disruption of cancer services is likely to outweigh the number of deaths from the coronavirus itself. The cessation and delay of cancer care will cause considerable avoidable suffering. Cancer screening services have stopped, which means we will miss our chance to catch many cancers when they are treatable and curable, such as cervical, bowel and breast. When we do restart normal service delivery after the lockdown is lifted, the backlog of cases will be a huge challenge to the healthcare system.

The CDC estimates 93,814 non-COVID “excess deaths” this year, including 42,427 from cardiovascular conditions, 10,686 from diabetes, and 3646 from cancer, and many of these were caused by the cancellation of “nonessential” care in the midst of the COVID panic.

Meanwhile, almost no American hospitals were actually “overwhelmed” during 2020. In April alone, 1.4 million health care workers were furloughed because the hospitals were empty. In May NPR reported on those field hospitals that were assembled to take care of the surge of people who were supposed to appear: “U.S. Field Hospitals Stand Down, Most Without Treating Any COVID-19 Patients.”

According to The Lancet, “During lockdown people with dementia or severe mental illness had a higher risk of excess death.” Dementia patients had a 53% greater chance of death because of lockdowns and elderly patients with severe mental illness had a 123% greater chance of death.

As a direct result of the lockdowns, the New York Times reports that there will be 1.4 million excess tuberculosis deaths, half a million excess HIV deaths, and 385,000 malaria deaths.

Meanwhile, we are facing the horrific scene of tens of millions of the world’s elderly in their last years being confined to nursing homes where they cannot have access to family members. Many of these people, who have lived many decades and know they must soon die no matter what the cause, want to be able to see their children or grandchildren before they die, but governments will not allow visits, and they will not allow the elderly to leave. In Greeley, Colorado, which is about 30 miles from where I live, long-term care residents protested recently, saying they would rather die from COVID-19 than not see their families. What kind of monster do you have to be to prevent these people from getting that last hug from family members before they go to the spirit world?

So, to be clear, if you believe the trumped-up worldwide numbers on COVID deaths (which I don’t), there may be as many as 2 to 3 million death worldwide from this coronavirus pandemic. But the response to the pandemic — caused by panic and hysteria — will cause millions of unnecessary deaths, and of course the poorest people worldwide will be affected most of all. If we had approached this pandemic like we have most pandemics in the last 65 years, by encouraging the vulnerable to take protective measures but allowing everybody else to go about their business, we would have millions fewer deaths.

If you oppose lockdowns, you should not be asked by the chattering classes, “why do you want grandma to die?” Instead, you should showered with praise for wanting fewer worldwide deaths and for wanting to protect the poor and vulnerable from famine.

Let’s discuss supply chain disruptions, which sound rather pedestrian but are essential to understanding the devastating impact on the world’s poor from the response to the pandemic. You may have noticed that many of your favorite products in the United States are not available in the stores right now. And this is in a relatively free market for consumer goods. I cannot buy my favorite beverages all the time, and many kinds of meats are often not available. I am a big user of Lysol, but it is impossible to find it on the shelves these days. Interestingly, you can find Lysol on Amazon Prime, but it is five times its normal price.

Whenever there is a disruption in the global supply chain, this means that many products that used to be inexpensive become more expensive (think of the Lysol example above). The world’s poorest people spend 60 to 70 percent of their income on food. So, if food becomes scarce, richer people (like most Americans) can usually find it, and they may have to spend a bit more putting dinner on the table. But what happens to the world’s poor? Instead of spending 60 to 70 percent of their income on food, they must spend 100 percent, and they must borrow. And when the lockdowns go on for months (as has happened in 2020), the poor simply run out of money and begin to starve to death.

When the global supply chain is disrupted because factories are closed or meat packing plants are closed, this inevitably means that the world’s poorest people in places like Yemen, Malawi and Haiti are the hardest hit of all.

This is why it is essential that governments allow people, especially the young and healthy who are not as likely to die from COVID-19, to continue to work and produce — it actually helps the global supply chain, which helps the poor.

So, please spare us the ignorant claims that people who oppose lockdowns only want the stock market to benefit. First of all, the stock market is doing quite well, even during the lockdowns, and secondly, economics is, at the end of the day, about life and death for billions of people.

What does the science say? If you know anything about science, you should know that if you have two scientists you very often have three different opinions. And trustworthy scientists concentrate on their areas of expertise. So, you should be very suspicious when immunologists like Dr. Fauci start making recommendations on economics. However, we do have epidemiologists and public health scientists who have issued something called the Great Barrington Declaration, which says this:

Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice.

I have not even mentioned, until now, the horrific decision that school districts worldwide have made to prevent children from enjoying in-person education. We are talking about an entire generation of young people who will learn very little, if anything, during the lockdowns, which may last 18 to 24 months (or more) in many places. What will be the long-term effects of more than a billion of the world’s children being denied education? It is impossible to name all of the possible ramifications, but depression, suicide, drug and alcohol addiction are already on the rise. Will millions of young people turn to crime because of the lockdowns? Almost certainly.

Before I end this post, I want to discuss masks. As I have written before, if you are in Utah or other areas where Church authorities have encouraged you to wear a mask, then you should do it. The Church is concerned, as Elder Bednar notes above, about our members being good citizens in a time of crisis. My personal policy is that I try to avoid wearing masks as much as possible, but if a store insists I wear a mask I do because I believe in private property. At church, I always wear a mask because my bishop asks me to. My kids wear a mask when they are allowed to go to school.

But you should be aware, as you don that mask, that the best study on mask wearing indicates that masks will not protect wearers from COVID-19. To be clear, if you are sick or if you are a doctor of dentist working closely with patients, wearing a mask is very beneficial. But if you are expecting that mask to magically protect you from the virus, the science says it will not.

So, as I say up above, lockdowns should be voluntary, and so should mask wearing.

This entry was posted in General by Geoff B.. Bookmark the permalink.

About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

17 thoughts on “We should speak out against deadly, authoritarian lockdowns

  1. Being a shallow fellow, this brings to mind a line from the 1968 Disney movie The Love Bug, where Dean Jones, playing a hippie cameo, says to a girl locked inside Herbie, “We all prisoners baby; we a locked in.”

  2. Thank you Geoff for putting this together. Much appreciated and I will be sharing it right now with others.

  3. Thank you for mentioning New Mexico. I feel like California and New York always get mentioned in the media for the overbearing antics of their respective governors, but New Mexico is doing ALL of the things first.

    I live in New Mexico, and I have zero patience for people that persist in the notion that somehow we can stop or slow Covid and/or that we need to continue to stay locked down. We cannot stop or slow this virus. We need to refocus our approach and help those who are truly in need of medical services, and food/shelter/clothing, and to allow businesses to operate fully. Everyone that I know who has contracted Covid was doing “all of the right things” as well eg: mask wearing, social distancing, isolating, etc, etc. What is the point of all of this, if people are still getting sick?

    Right now there are 2-4 hour wait times to get into the stores that have been allowed to remain open — on Friday we had a big snow storm all over the state, still our Governor’s heart was not softened. She kept her arbitrary and punitive 75 people per store limit and people were waiting outside in the snow to get their groceries for the week. Last week her rude spokesperson insisted that the lines were just “Republican talking points”. This week he went after a local reporter that had the nerve to do her job and ask the hard questions: https://pinonpost.com/gov-mlgs-comms-director-belittles-local-tv-news-reporter-for-asking-basic-questions/?fbclid=IwAR3a2x-rCX6sVaYjJoS2cpAjwy76rHO5fZpjwdvQmEnYnnO-6SwdBrqhoOk

    Kids have not returned to school yet and the state education department finally had to admit they don’t know where over 12,000 of New Mexico’s school aged children are. As in those kids have not logged into school, have not been withdrawn from school, cannot be found or contacted. Rates of sexual assault among New Mexico children are also rising at alarming rates, and CYFD does not have the capacity to investigate or place these kids in foster care, so they remain with their abusers. https://www.abqjournal.com/1521989/no-surprise-12000plus-nm-students-are-awol.html

    A few weeks ago a 4th grade little boy was discovered walking to school every day to connect to the wi-fi to do his remote schooling because his family didn’t have internet at home. We’ve become so heartless here, that the school staff wouldn’t even let him into the building to sit in a corner on his own to do his work. They left him outside all day long! https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/22/us/new-mexico-school-internet-trnd/index.html

    There are also reports of kids who live on the reservations, who do not have internet either having to drive out into the back country and hike up hills to get a cell phone signal to use the wi-fi hotspots their schools have provided for them. Those backcountry hills are inaccessible once the snow falls, so now those kids can’t “go to school”. The fact that New Mexico is consistently in 50th place in education and kids from the reservations/pueblos are at the bottom of state stats, is beyond the pale.

    New Mexico already had a high teen and youth suicide rate, but now we have the highest in the nation. Kids are despondent. They are desperate. They cannot see a way out. https://www.abqjournal.com/1472695/new-mexicos-suicide-rate-is-highest-in-us.html

    Here in my small town we’ve already lost several locally owned businesses and across the state the number of defunct businesses have reached far into the hundreds. Because our state government can’t live within its means either, New Mexico is currently borrowing money to pay for unemployment benefits and other social programs — all the while getting ready to gut the oil & gas industry vis-a-vie “green new deal” programs, thus robbing ourselves of a viable and steady source of tax revenue and income. Some friends waited for over 5 weeks just to be assigned a case number when they initially applied for unemployment benefits. That was just to get a case number. It was several more weeks until they were even able to apply or receive benefits.

    In the “Government is putting it’s nose into my business” files: Husband’s work demanded that everyone tell them their holiday plans. Were we going out of state, in state, was anyone coming to visit us from out of state? Where I go and who I associate with are literally none of the government’s business. In New Mexico they are also tracking us by our cell phones .. without warrants or cause. they just are.

    But the day I was officially over it all was the day my 4 year old daughter saw someone on the street without a mask on and started screaming at them to wear a mask. No kid should be conditioned to doing that. What have we become?

  4. Wow Joyce that is tragic. But of course those of us opposed to lockdowns just want grandma to die….

  5. Right? I’m clearly an evil beast for wanting to be self-reliant and to not wear a mask in public and for wanting to send my kids to school. Evil, evil, evil. I’m even more evil for wanting people to not lose their businesses and livelihoods.

  6. Trump got COVID. He’s the best protected man in the world, living in one of the most authoritarian communities in the nation. Everyone around him tests nonstop. He still got COVID.

    We’re all going to get COVID. It’s just a question of when. When it finds us, let it find us enjoying our lives.

  7. I think many are not seeing the forest for the trees. Pay attention. We are being quickly subjugated to the control of the state with lockdowns, quarantines, checkpoints, etc. We are being tested as guinea pigs for future martial law implementation. This is all part of a much larger agenda and steps toward globalization. The “big reset” as is now being openly discussed by progressives, governments and globalists the world over is only a taste, a morsel of what is to come We have made a HUGE mistake appeasing, ignoring, and denying the progressive agenda and ideological subversion that has been taking place for decades. The train has left the station and is increasing in speed. We will all stand aghast at what we have allowed if we don’t wake up quickly. This is not conspiracy thinking….do your research….it is not hidden, not a game, not some wild delusion. This is reality and they simply don’t speak to the larger agenda of globalization and what the end game is.

  8. Welcome to the End Days when evil will become the new normal. It will even seek to destroy true followers of the Lord. Most sad of all is the Scriptures are not a comfort, because it warns that nothing will be done until Christ has to step in to keep all believers from disappearing. I want some real hope. I want to believe something can be done. It is all so depressing that even Republican governors are allowing this garbage to go on!

  9. The most vulnerable people in society are nursing home residents and people working in nursing homes.

    We can conclude a few things:
    The isolation and ppe protection isn’t working. The workers there and residents there are still getting sick at much higher rates.

    If you care about grandma or grandpa, get them out of those homes where possible. It will put a burden back on your family as you figure out how to do what needs to be done. But it relieves the burden of care on the already stressed nursing, home and protects their life at the same time.

    Finally, the general thrust of those post I agree with and support. On first amendment grounds, the mask mandates should be thrown out. I’m not sure how literally covering my facial expression isn’t a violation of freedom of expression. To say nothing of the fact that wearing a mask is most certainly a form of speech and the state is compelling me to make it. The justification is nebulous public health, but that would only be required if I test positive and while I’m infectious. You can’t eliminate civil liberties by declaring everyone “guilty” of being sick without proof. And moreover, the presence of dead viral particles in my nose is not proof of being sick, or even if having been sick. And certainly not proof of being infectuous. It’s possible those things correlate broadly. But in an individual level, which is where our rights function, there’s no certainty.

    The courts are either hoodwinked or turn a blind eye to the uncertainty in the science here and err in disfavor of civil liberties. That’s exactly backwards as the bill of rights is concerned. And even then, those rights are enshrined precisely because at times the temptation and need is specifically to override them.

    Pip pip

  10. Jettboy
    I want some real hope
    I think the best hope we have is being rooted in the gospel but the Lord did say that it is not meet for him to command in all things. You mentioned how depressing it is that even Republican governors given to this hysteria. Well, why not run for governor yourself? I firmly believe that the kingdom is not going to come to completion until we all start digging in and doing our part my hope is anything I put out there on a blog will somehow help someone and not be a hindrance

  11. Jon makes a good point, and it’s one I make to many many people nowadays:

    Run for local office.

    The most pernicious trap regarding where American society finds itself lies in the notion that faraway government matters. Everyone’s glued to election fraud and palace intrigue and mean tweets, but there’s nothing going on in those faraway places that impacts your life meaningfully right this second. But you’ve got a governor who’s probably considering locking you in your home, a county commission/board that thinks it’s helpless, a state legislature and city council that think your money is actually their money, and a local school board that wants to erode your relationship with your children. Those are all people in offices much closer to you, who can screw up your life TODAY in critical ways. And many of those people are people you can actually get facetime with, who hold public meetings you can actually attend, and who are either reachable or replaceable by the concerted efforts of a loud pack of community members. They actually answer to you. They’re actually accountable to you. And they’re all hiding, using Washington as a grand distraction while they run wild.

    Know who these people are. Read the meeting agendas. Go to some meetings (most are on Zoom now anyway). Speak out on items that matter. Find others in your community doing the same. Work together locally to make your community better. It’s all you can do.

    If you’re not prepared to do that, and instead just want to shriek about whichever grotesque old white pervert is going to ascend to the imperial seat next, then you’re part of the problem.

  12. Lattertarian and Jon, excellent point. So, here is some good news: Young Americans for Liberty has elected about 150 pro-liberty candidates on the state level (not federal level) in the last two elections (2018 and 2020). This is HUGE. These state representatives are mostly Republicans who are committed to pro-liberty issues like ending the lockdowns and promoting small business, promoting the Constitution and promoting religious freedom. These are potentially the people who will prevent your authoritarian governor or county commissioner or mayor from forcing you to cower in your house in fear the rest of your lives. We are heading for another huge and important election in 2022 where hundreds of new pro-liberty candidates could be elected. So, if you want to do something positive, get involved with Young Americans for Liberty. This is a way you can truly make a difference.

  13. Lattertarian,
    Unfortunately, in many of the ways that matter most the hands of local government are tied at the state or federal level. Most of it comes back to funding of roads, water or schools. Everything we do as a society is prohibitively expensive and complicated. I don’t disagree with the “get involved where you can” mantra, but in general, once you get there you find your self being an agent of the hegemony.

    pip pip

  14. “Sadly, responses to the pandemic have been politicized and contentious. Ours need not be as we anticipate performing more proxy ordinances in the temples we do for others what they cannot do for themselves. Without these blessings, these deceased individuals are profoundly disadvantaged. The savior taught that the second great commandment after loving God was Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. As it relates to this pandemic, especially in temples, that means social distancing, wearing a mask and not gathering in large groups. These steps demonstrate our love for others and provide us a measure of protection, wearing a face covering is a sign of Christlike love for our brothers and sisters.”
    Elder Renlund

  15. Old Man, I have found that you often ignore the actual subject of a post so you can pursue whatever cause seems important to you in the comments. My post is primarily about government-imposed lockdowns, which is not addressed in Elder Renlund’s statement above.

    Elder Renlund’s announcement came on the day that the Church announced that some temples would move to Phase 3, meaning the return to limited proxy work for ancestors in some temples. The announcement is primarily about encouraging people to return to the temple safely.

    Let me make it clear that I do believe, and have always believed, that Church leaders, at least in Utah, have spoken out in favor of the mask mandate and general rules of social distancing. I have pointed out in all of my posts on the virus that I am in favor of wearing a mask at church and obviously I would do so without issue in the temple, as Elder Renlund asks. When it comes to temples, many of the patrons are older, and of course these are among the people most at risk of getting the virus, so it is basic common courtesy and common sense that we should use methods to decrease exposure to these men and women.

    Like in many contentious issues, it appears that people who feel strongly about the issue of the virus are talking past each other. If you re-read my posts on this issue, I am opposed to *government mandates* on this issue, not voluntary decisions. Notice that the Church and Elder Renlund do not ask *governments* to impose more rules on people. The Church and Elder Renlund are asking individual members to *voluntarily* act in certain ways. This is similar to people who claim that Jesus was in favor of higher taxes because he was in favor of individual charity. No, Jesus never asked the Romans or the Sanhedrin to raise taxes so governments could be charitable — instead he asked *individuals* to be charitable.

    As a person who has spoken out forcefully against the lockdowns and mask mandates, I am fully in support of Elder Renlund’s statements in this video. I see absolutely no contradiction between saying that people should have individual liberty, free from government mandates, and also that people should act in caring, charitable ways in their personal interactions.

  16. My gosh Geoff, wondering if you are being unduly hard on Old Man. If he wanders a bit, let it sit. Maybe tangent thoughts can be off-track without detract or distract. He is not fog on the blog!
    Just my take, brother of cherished forum!
    Thanks for everything you do. 🙂

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