England has no constitution, but their ideas about freedom – at least until fairly recently – have long been more or less the same as our own. Many American ideas about what freedom means come from English thinkers, and frankly — America’s forefathers were essentially English people who expatriated and created a new country.
This is important for Americans to understand since what happens to the rights of English citizens can serve as a warning. As stated, they do not have a constitution. They have an agreement to govern in a given way until a new agreement is made. Their “constitution” is an agreement, not a set of laws.
Here, things are different. If the government does something which is not constitutional, then it has broken the law. Of course, we know that the Constitution is not taken as seriously by many authorities and citizens as it should be. But we still have this one stop-gap between our freedoms and tyranny.
During this pandemic, we can see very clearly how these differences are playing out in the US and England, respectively. English citizens started getting arrested for disobeying “lockdown” orders earlier and more frequently than Americans.
But the wave has caught up with us. In recent days, a California man was arrested while paddling a surfboard across the water with no one anywhere near him. The incidents are increasingly many, in which Americans are being arrested for flouting local “lockdown” ordinances.
Most disturbingly, people have been arrested for protesting the quarantine orders in the United States. Now, this is where authorities are crossing the line.
The fact is that these protesters were not standing close to anyone other than their fellow protesters. That means that they were willingly taking on the additional risk of contracting the virus. Anyone in the group who might have had it already was not endangering anyone who was not willingly taking the risk.
But what’s more important is the fact that a fundamental, constitutionally protected right of Americans is the right to peacefully gather with persons of our choosing. By choosing to break up a protest, the local leaders and the police who enforced the order are directly violating the law of the land.
Looking back to England, the situation has gotten much worse – and it has been much worse for some time. People have been getting arrested for at least five years for criticizing political Islam, transsexuals, or the way the UK government is extending additional rights to these groups.
Until the COVID-19 crisis, we have not seen this here to an extent comparable to the English. But, remember, we have a legal stop-gap which the British do not. The will to abolish our rights is and has always been there. But until now, there has not been an ostensible reason to legally put every American effectively on house arrest. COVID-19 is the reason they need, and they love the control it gives them.
People are being called murderers for breaking quarantine. That is all that is needed to strip you of your rights. We are just a few lines of legislation away from being in the same situation as the English.