According to Attorney General William Barr — who is supposed to be familiar with the legal history of the United States — lockdowns and stay-at-home orders that have been imposed to help control the spread of coronavirus are the greatest threat to civil liberties since slavery.
Speaking at a Constitution Day celebration hosted by Hillsdale College in Michigan, Mediate reports, Barr remarked:
“You know, putting a national lockdown, stay at home orders, is like house arrest. Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history.”
Yes, he actually said that. Being forced to wear a mask or not go to your favorite bar? You’re a slave. Upset that your children have to attend school virtually? You’re all slaves. If you’re asked to sacrifice for the common good so more people won’t die, that’s slavery.
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham was having none of the attorney general’s bullshit, remarking during an appearance on CNN, saying Barr’s absurd comparison was:
“Designed to feed a sense of paranoia and fear on behalf of an administration that is relying not on a message or an agenda of hope, grounded in traditional American understandings of liberty, and is instead is betting on finding just the right number of Americans in the right number of states who will say ‘yeah, we’re scared, we’re mad, we want a tough guy.
“If you think that this is akin to slavery, you obviously never suffered under the burden of slavery in real time or in its longtime system of segregation and the denial of the suffrage and voting rights that grew out of it.”
AG William Barr suggests that the calls for a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19 were the “greatest intrusion on civil liberties” in history “other than slavery.”
Presidential historian Jon Meacham fact checks what he called “incendiary hyperbole.” pic.twitter.com/YPmgFm3i7F
— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) September 17, 2020
Others expressed their outrage over what the attorney general said on Twitter:
Bill Barr equates quarantine with chattel slavery as one of the greatest intrusions of civil liberties in American history. Statements like these make you realize many in this country know nothing about what it truly means to be oppressed. https://t.co/peGsxLoYH7
— Sunny Hostin (@sunny) September 17, 2020
On one hand you have slavery. On the other you have to do Curbside Pickup at Applebee’s. They’re basically the same, according to Bill Barr. https://t.co/R4513ACKfy
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 17, 2020
Oh, seriously, fuck you Bill Barr. The county trying to contain a mass outbreak of a killer virus is like SLAVERY? This guy is demented, a racist, and will kill or arrest us all in his pursuit of a right wing theocracy. https://t.co/YQ87Frk6Y1
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) September 17, 2020
The thing about Bill Barr’s comments is that he knows better. Which is what makes them a whole lot worse.
— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) September 17, 2020
As he continues to make clear, Barr is just as unfit for office as the man he so slavishly serves.
Featured Image Via CNN Screenshot