Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel famously once said, "you never let a serious crisis go to waste."

We're in a situation right now where the public is scared and vulnerable. Americans will be willing to accept things now that they would push back on vigorously if times of calm.

Thursday, Gov. Phil Murphy "recommended" all public gatherings of over 250 be canceled to help mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. Great idea or overreaction? We may never know, but when the threat passes, government will take credit for keeping the spread to a minimum.

Following the 9/11 attacks in 2001 the federal government came up with the Patriot Act. The mood was right for that kind of idea to become law. As we have seen in recent years, it gave the government too much power over its citizens in violating their basic rights. But we were scared and vulnerable at the time. No one is sure if businesses or government are making the right decisions in this time of crisis. But be wary of what kind of liberty you are willing to give to government and the kind of reliance and indebtedness it leads to.

"Never let a serious crisis go to waste" may be the mantra of power-hungry opportunist politicians, but we as citizens must never let our guard down from these opportunists in times of crisis.

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