We’re almost one year into “15 days to slow the spread.” Texans were asked to give up some of their freedoms and accept the imposition of massive new restrictions and regulations to serve the greater good. Now that those statewide mandates appear to be coming to end, we see even more clearly that whatever their intentions the result was to erode liberty and extend suffering.

The last year stands as a sad indictment of how little our fellow countrymen value our Republic’s hard-won liberties. We have allowed governors to become feudal lords mandating restrictions that would have once been unthinkable, or at least required legislative debate. In terms of practical governance, the chest-thumping conservative bastion of Texas in reality more closely resembles the progressive reality of California.

Too many of our countrymen – even alleged conservatives – succumbed to the idea that it is possible to sacrifice a small bit of liberty to the false god of the public good.

Such a notion didn’t arrive overnight but has been woven into the fabric of our culture. We have rejected God, and therefore rejected the notion of inalienable individual rights.

History is abundantly clear: When individual liberty – even a small bit – is made subservient to the politically contrived “public good,” only pain and suffering will be the result. Whether it was Democrat icon Franklin D. Roosevelt sending American citizens of Japanese ancestry to internment camps and seizing their property, or Texas’ Republican Governor Greg Abbott unconstitutionally seizing the power to close small businesses, the claimed “good” cannot be found with the most powerful microscope.

Sacrificing individual liberty for the sake of what a politician decrees as the “common good” is to say that liberties originate from government and not God. 

The small bit of liberty for the common good cost millions of Texans their jobs. An untold number of small businesses were ruined. Misery and suicides rose exponentially.

As C.S. Lewis once noted, when moral busybodies determine what is “good” for everyone, everyone ends up suffering. Here is what he wrote:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult.

When a benevolent tyrant torments us for our own good, he is still tormenting us.

So, will we use the lessons of the last year to firmly reject the tyranny of the “common good”?

Tyrants nibble away at small bits of our liberty in the name of preserving our safety until all that remains is our subservience. The whole of history shows, in contrast, that the “common good” is best served by enhancing individual liberty.

As a self-governing people we must stop acquiescing to the politicians and moral busybodies. We must daily assert our commitment to preserving the inalienable liberties granted to us by God.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."