Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., told the “Todd Starnes Radio Show” on Wednesday that he is concerned about recent measures taken by federal and state officials to combat the spread of the coronavirus and warned that American liberties may be at stake.
Massie drew some criticism over a Facebook post on Monday that said the “greatest harm to society” after the outbreak “will have been the public’s unquestioning acceptance of the unchecked authority of governments to force private behavior and disrupt economies. I fear the actions taken by our government will make FDR’s internment of Japanese-Americans look like a ‘light touch.’”
Massie stood by the comment and said that a crisis like COVID-19 can make it seem like dictatorships and totalitarian governments are best positioned to respond. After all, these governments have control over the media, businesses and citizens.
He said that it might even be appealing to governments, like the U.S., to “rush” and emulate them. But he said that position is short-sighted. He said now is the time to embrace our civil liberties and free market, not turn from them.
“If we are going to do better than other countries, it’s because of freedom and ingenuity,” he said. “Think about the financial incentive—in capitalism—to solve this problem, or to solve even a little bit of it.”
President Trump said Wednesday that the federal government is working on an emergency stimulus that could send two $1,000 checks to some Americans. The Washington Post reported that the details of the plan have not been ironed out, but could amount to $1 trillion.
Besides the stimulus for small businesses, state and local governments have acted swiftly to deal with the coronavirus. California’s Bay Area is under a “shelter-in-place” order and mayors in some cities have laid out plans that would ban the sale of firearms.
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Todd Starnes, the best-selling author and host of the show, told Massie that he took a trip to a grocery store in his Brooklyn neighborhood and noticed the empty shelves inside the store.
“I thought to myself, ‘This smells like socialism more and more every day,’” Starnes said.
Massie pointed out what he said are troubling signs. He mentioned the report out of his own state about the coronavirus patient who refuses to quarantine, prompting police to be stationed outside his house.
“What are they going to do if he leaves? Shoot him?” Massie asked.