I am writing this column upon returning home to California after 5 days in Florida. For the first time since my first visit to Los Angeles in 1974 and moving there two years later, I dreaded likely to California.
That first trip, like a 25-year-old New Yorker, I experienced the palpable excitement exploring the American Airlines flight board at JFK airport and seeing “Los Angeles.” For most Americans, the very name “California” elicited excitement, wonder, even envy of Californians, and most of all … freedom. While America always represented freedom, within America, California exemplified freedom most of all.
Yet, here I am, sitting in a state where corruption reigns and where, for nine months, normal life continues to be shut down, schools have been closed and smaller businesses have been destroyed in unprecedented numbers.
During these last 5 days in Florida, a state governed by the pro-freedom party, I went anywhere I needed. First and foremost, I could eat both inside and outside restaurants. At one of them, after i stood up to take photos of individuals dining, a patron who recognized me walked over and said, “I assume you’re just taking pictures of individuals eating in a restaurant.” That’s precisely what I was doing. I even took my two grandchildren to some bowling alley, which was full of people enjoying themselves playing myriad arcade games in addition to bowling.
California is Becoming a Police State
None of this is allowed almost anywhere in California. It is becoming a police state, rooted in deception and irrationality.
Restaurants have been shut down , even for outdoor dining, without scientific reason. After ordering Los Angeles county restaurants closed, the health authorities of Los Angeles county acknowledged in court that they had no evidence that outdoor dining was dangerous; they ordered restaurants closed, even going to outdoor dining, solely to keep people home.
The left’s claim that they can “follow the science” is a lie. The left does not follow science; it follows scientists it agrees with and dismisses all other scientists as “anti-science.”
Not Following Science
Science doesn't say that eating inside a restaurant at least six feet from other diners, not to mention outside a restaurant, is potentially fatal, but eating inside an airplane inches from strangers is safe.
Science does not say mass protests throughout a pandemic are a health benefit, but left-wing scientists say they are – when directed against racism. In June, Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins epidemiologist, tweeted: “In this moment the public health risks of not protesting to demand an end to systemic racism greatly exceed the harms of the virus.” She cited the previous head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tom Frieden: “The threat to Covid control from protesting outside is tiny when compared to threat to Covid control created when governments act in ways that lose community trust. People can protest peacefully AND work together to stop Covid. Violence harms public health.”
Even The brand new York Times, in July, acknowledged the double standard: “Public health experts decried the anti-lockdown protests as dangerous gatherings inside a pandemic. Health experts seem less comfortable doing this now that the marches are against racism.”
Science doesn't say, “Men give birth” or, “Men menstruate.” But the left routinely argues that “science says” may be and that “science says” there are more than two sexes, a lot more.
Leaving a Free Society
The last time I felt I was leaving a free society and entering an unfree one was after i visited the communist countries of Eastern Europe. As a graduate student majoring in communism, throughout the Cold War, I would traverse the countries known as Soviet satellites: Poland, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. In the middle of my trips, I would stop in Austria to breathe free air.
Never did I imagine I would ever experience anything analogous in the usa, the Land of the Free, the land of the Statue of Liberty as well as the Liberty Bell. But I did yesterday, when leaving Florida and going back to California.
The United States?
There is no question that America is becoming, if it hasn’t already become, two countries: one that values liberty, from smaller businesses being allowed to operate to individuals being allowed to say what they believe, and one that has contempt for liberty, from eating in restaurants to free speech.
I am asked almost daily by friends around the country and by callers to my national radio show whether I plan to stay in California. Were it not for all the close friends who live here and also the synagogue I and a few friends founded, the answer would be no. But at a given point, I am sure which i will leave this Soviet satellite for a free state. The bigger and more important question is: How long will the Soviet states of the usa and the free states of America remain the United States of America?