There is a very ancient concept in the English common law known as a writ of habeas corpus. Governor Edwards’s latest proclamation requiring everyone but those his administration defines as "essential personnel" to stay at home and practice the ridiculously named "social distancing" until April 12th completely upends that tradition of freedom from arbitrary confinement.
For this reason, and for others we will get to below, we encourage everyone to peacefully disobey this order.
We are not supporters of the idea that every man may willy-nilly decide which laws to obey and which not. However, when the government acts in ways that are clearly irrational and destructive of human well-being, it becomes our duty to withstand those acts as best we can.
In the case of this illness, we now know better what we are dealing with:
But what is Gov Edwards (and many other State, federal, and local government officials) doing? They are using the proverbial axe in place of a scalpel. We can and should protect those who are most vulnerable to this disease (which has not reached the proportions of a global pandemic, contrary to the claims) - the elderly, for instance - but we can do that without destroying the livelihoods of millions of people and without wrecking the communal structures men and women need to live normal, healthy lives.
Chief among those communities is the Church. It says volumes that Governor Edwards does not list bishops, priests, deacons, etc., as ‘essential workers’. But it is clear throughout history that without spiritual health, there will be no physical health either. Some priests are pushing back against these bans on church services by the authorities. But we need many more like them to speak up and act for the good of their parishioners.
Considering all this, and considering the cowardice of all other elected officials in Louisiana and across the South, and in other States outside the South, who refuse to protect us from the destructive acts of our various governments, we say plainly: Ignore the stay at home orders. Ignore the orders to act like helpless, ignorant children. Ignore the orders that are destroying our souls and bodies. Pastors, open your churches. Restaurant owners, ready your tables. Schoolmasters, call back your students. Live bravely, like men and women who trust in the Providence of God. That will be our honor in this time, not craven cowering before a new idol: the virus.
Walt Garlington is a chemical engineer turned writer (and, when able, a planter). He makes his home in Louisiana and is editor of the 'Confiteri: A Southern Perspective' web site.