Need more thoughtful conservatives


July 8, 2020

New Mexico’s Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham gave a scolding to residents Thursday as she announced the state would extend current COVID-19 restrictions instead of relaxing them more.

New Mexico’s COVID-19 caseload rose at a higher rate during Phase 1 of reopening than before, as it did in most other U.S. states that eased restrictions.

More mask-wearing and social distancing could have made the difference and allowed the state to push ahead in its quest to return to the normal. The governor let us know that in no uncertain terms.

I don’t know that governors should be lecturing their constituents, but I understand her frustration.

If COVID-19 were an invading army instead of an invisible virus, there would be no question about taking reasonable measures to defend ourselves.

This virus is an enemy just as threatening and far more insidious than an army with weapons.

What’s a governor to do, however, when the president of the United States won’t wear a mask and prioritizes self-indulgence through mass, shoulder-to-shoulder adulation over national health?

Further, the president’s defiance of common sense has become the conservative thing to do. The virus is made-up, they say. It’s a nasty Democratic plot to defame our poor, defenseless billionaire president.

Few organizations are more conservative in a libertarian sense than the Atlas Society, which is based on the ideas of ultra-individualist Ayn Rand, author of “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged,” which recount the triumphs of extreme talents over restrictions imposed for the “common good.”

When I consulted the society’s website, I was expecting the usual rights-supersede-science arguments and I was wrong. Here’s a sample of what the Atlas Society’s founder David Kelley has to say about the pandemic:

• “The novel coronavirus is a biological reality, as are its capacity to spread rapidly and its effects on people’s health. You can’t evade it or wish it away.

• “The lockdown is a political reality … For us as individuals, it too has to be accepted as fact.

• “Be rational in looking for information. The internet is a fabulous resource, but it is also a petri dish for fake news, conspiracy theories, and the like … Don’t fall for it.

• “Our plans are disrupted, and things we took for granted … are not available now. But we can still choose how best to deal with these new facts.

• (Even in isolation) “You can use your mind to advance your goals, … continue your studies … continue working and advance your career.

He also suggests a little gratitude:

• “We have the science to … develop vaccines, and produce everything from disinfectants to ventilators. Take a moment to thank the scientists, doctors, inventors, and business people who made this possible.

• “Take a moment to thank … doctors, nurses and others in healthcare; grocery and pharmacy workers and others who provide necessities; firefighters, police and ambulance drivers; and companies like Facebook that help people stay connected virtually.”

Kelley, reflecting Rand’s views, recognizes that science and fact are as important as individual freedom. This kind of thoughtful conservative would help even a Democrat’s efforts to confront a disturbing reality.

Steve Hansen writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:

[email protected]


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