Mayor Andy Berke announces a state of emergency for Chattanooga. (Photo

The dangers we face in Hamilton County today are more the beefy and bulky kind than the microscopic kind. 

By David Tulis / NoogaRadio 92.7 FM

The danger is the state itself and its claims upon us, and far less the genetically engineered virus that’s gotten lose in many cities and countries and is spreading to Hamilton County.

The threat is the durability of emergency decrees and the prospect of authorities’ violating sacrosanct God-given constitutionally guaranteed rights in their attempt to manage a contagion that has been declared to be a mass medical emergency on an international scale.

The power to break up gatherings and order people around in the name of public health should be short-lived — as long as authorities declare an emergency. When it’s over, those decrees should be rescinded. The safety of people’s rights, tranquility and liberty are paramount if prosperity is to be encouraged.

Much of the United States has been under federal executive decrees and orders from the time of World War II that have not been rescinded or revoked. 

They allow for arbitrary exercise of power by agents of the federal government, and their lesser cohorts at the state level, and even at the local level. 

These exercises of power locally occur despite clear rules in American law that say delegated power cannot be redelegated or subdelegated. This is a cardinal point in law, but it appears to be widely ignored.

Overall, if the panic worsens, the threat is the growth of compulsion. That would be coercive vaccination programs, mass arrests and confinement, denial of due process rights, militarization of civil authority, suspension of habeas corpus and martial law. 

The blockading of the public from attendance at the general assembly bodes evil against the rights of the people. That the media is allowed in, and that the public can watch proceedings on cable are no assurances of dealings done off camera. The deep state is deep enough as it is.

 Can state regulate movement?

The threat right now appears to be gatherings which would allow people to infect one another. To control gatherings, the state may impose bans that violate the 1st amendment and prohibit private communication among people operating freely and at their own will for their own pleasure and for their own profit purposes. The state may bar free association under power of the health, safety and welfare standard that allows police power to operate.

The danger, im the state’s eyes, appears to be gatherings and not necessarily the movement of people. But the state could prohibit gatherings by regulating or banning movement. That would be under an “in-place lockdown” of the kind imposed on schools under a shooter threat. Italy is in a lockdown that intended to freeze the population in place. People are forbidden from leaving their houses. 

The state could theoretically use its authority upon commerce through the driver license to ban any driving or operating a motor vehicle under emergency conditions. Driving and operating are commercial acts subject to the state’s department of safety and homeland security. 

The state has no authority over private and pleasure travel on the people’s roads and freeways. But the state and its agents would use the pretendedly universal control of all movement on the roads to ban even private use, as it has long done in practice. This authority might be exercise in Chattanooga, Hamilton County and in the state despite transportation administrative notice’s having been in effect two years, to which these parties have legally acquiesced.

To exercise the “lockdown” power through Title 55, the motor and other vehicles statute,  the state could say no one may drive a car anywhere and must stay-at-home or walk. 

That would practically impose a statewide and countywide travel ban and people would have to walk or ride bikes. However, the state would not say that people are not free to travel the roads privately. Only those you knew their rights would be able to do that, whereas everybody else would be agreeing to not drive (i.e., travel by car under commercial privilege).

I don’t believe that such an extreme is likely, though it would not be beyond those in state power to try to affect.

The enemies of liberty in Nashville and Washington and the big power centers are going to use the crisis to centralize the economy even further, possibly attempting to impose “national health care.” There are also centralizing effects of emergency declarations that in other countries give sweeping stop-and-question powers and quarantine powers. 

The state law Mayor Andy Berke cited in his press declaration-of-emergency press conference Friday allows him to depopulate the city, forcing everybody out of their homes and off property. That possibility is more likely to be evoked if there were a mass fire or flood. A virus is not the kind of emergency that would prompt a mayor to order a depopulation.

The danger of emergencies and panics is that people, acting out on their fears, will be extremely obeisant and compliant with police edicts and commands which have no basis in law and are even outside their authority under the emergency. Clamoring for safety, people will not have the inner will to resist false claims, including warrantless searches and warrantless arrests.

The excitement of the past few days is without precedent in at least the past 50 years. The coincidence of a market collapse and the panic of the virus is not happenstance, but I believe that the virus panic is an excellent cover for the collapse of the debt bubble economy. The Fed’s injection last week of F$1.5 trillion had little effect, as the central bank has no “tools” left in its toolbox to prop up the rickety economy.

The virus scare is a powerful distraction and compounds the damage of monetary contraction. It is ruining many lines of business — cruise lines, dining venues, convention centers and hotels.

For Christians, the danger is in being swept up in the panic and forgetting the duties of Christians in action and in faith. On the latter point, they are required to be confident in God’s providence and holy will, and to believe that events are in his hand and intended for his glory and for the benefit of God’s people. They are commanded repeatedly in the word not to be afraid. 

On the point of action, Christians are required to be selfless and other seeking, to put other people first, to yield their own security and safety and health for the benefit of others. This impulse to charity is modeled by the Lord Jesus Christ himself, who gave up his life for his people and their sins, taking upon himself the sins of all of his children of all time, and suffering the indignity of a public execution among scoundrels on their behalf. 

The collapse of the inflation-fueled market is long overdue and a mass liquidation is in order. The collapse of 2008 was a minor blip in a long rising gain in the monetary base, and the creation of trillions and trillions of dollars in debt in the U.S. dollar has continued for 12 years. But, as on many occasions before, the central bank will not allow a depression to burn away the economy deadwood — and allows only recessions. By riding to the rescue with fresh, cheap credit, the economy props the insolvent and irrational.

The Chattanooga building boom is stark evidence of the wild optimism and greed sparked by bank credit on easy terms.

Benefits and strengths

While huge losses are being suffered in the stock markets and across the economy, there are several benefits to local economy and free markets you should not overlook.

Brief respite from state schooling. For the next 2 weeks parents in Hamilton County and across the country will be dealing with their children at home. This is a great shock to many couples who have farmed out their children to public school and state employees. Having children at home is a great blessing, and the time that families will have together will restore slightly the family connection and suggest the need to end state dependency in education. 

➤  Better options in Christianity. The halt in many churches of Sunday worship services also may have a good effect. From myriad pulpits a poor gospel is preached and if people can’t go to the shabby sermonizing across Hamilton County, and stay home and read their Bibles or have private worship or read a good theology book, they may be better edified.

The American church has fallen into the trap of power religion and privatized personalized faith. It has denied many Christians any kind of training in life and public life, and has brought us to our current demoralized and impotent state as a people.

Centralization’s limits in many areas of American life are clear. The virus, like the Internet, threatens hegemony of centralized systems, starting with schools and universities. Centralization defeats marketplace solutions, but appears to be the direction of federal government response to the virus. 

Police state activity such as traffic stops may be reduced. The use of the shipping law to generate arrests probably will be scaled back to avoid bring noncriminals into the jail system. 

Dockets are being delayed. Courts are indicating that they will be handling only important cases, especially those of people in the jail.

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