If there’s a more precise way to describe willful ignorance of reality, enlighten us.
But doesn’t this come close — “Excessive and single-minded zeal, especially for an extreme religious or political cause”?
And so, with apologies to comedian Jeff Foxworthy:
If you, as Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler did last week, accuse Gov. Brad Little of violating the Constitution by imposing a stay-at-home order in response to the coronavirus pandemic;
If you, as Sheriff Wheeler did, cited a three-page manifesto Floridian Alfie Oakes sent off to U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., as reason to doubt the World Health Organization (“reckless”), the Centers for Disease Control (“inept”), media (“fear mongering” and “complicit”);
If you, as Sheriff Wheeler does, live in a county with the equivalent of 0.0001 hospital beds per individual and where 23 percent of your population is at least 65 years old and therefore at risk of serious illness or death from the virus;
If you, like Sheriff Wheeler, are responsible not only for the physical well-being of your deputies and first responders but also the people under your charge in a county jail;
If you, like Sheriff Wheeler, tell the governor: “I do not believe that suspending the Constitution was wise because COVID-19 is nothing like the Plague. We were misled by some public health officials, and now it is time to reinstate our Constitution;”
And if you, like Sheriff Wheeler, declare yourself sole arbiter of what laws will be enforced and what laws are unconstitutional;
Then you just might be a fanatic.
If you, as state Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, undercut Gov. Little’s stay-at-home order as an “unprecedented government power quest” in pursuit of a “never let a crisis go to waste” agenda;
If you, as Rep. Scott does, accuse Little of following “in the footsteps of, at this point, most liberal states” when Idaho’s infection rate is higher than about 30 states, including most of its neighbors;
If you, as Rep. Scott has, claim a unilateral right to declare Little’s order “unconstitutional, un-American and not the Idaho way”;
If you, as Rep. Scott proposes, deny government its fundamental, historic and, yes, constitutional authority to protect the country — even if it means curtailing individual freedoms — during a health emergency or even an insurrection;
If you, like Rep. Scott, ignore how government historically acts in an emergency such as the Battle of Gettysburg when Union forces temporarily confiscated property, World War II when factories were told what to produce and consumers were issued ration cards, as well as past polio or measles outbreaks when public movement was restricted;
And if you, as Rep. Scott, inaccurately suggest that you can’t trust government officials — especially small-government Republican officials such as Little — to bow to public opinion and historic precedent by relaxing the restrictions on individuals when the threat has passed;
Then you, too, just might be a fanatic.
If you, like Idaho Freedom Foundation President Wayne Hoffman, accused Little of suspending the Constitution — thereby turning “politicians into rulers, and the rest of us into prisoners or slaves,” when the very fact of his publishing a column critical of the governor is proof to the contrary;
If you, like Hoffman, say such concerns are not “hyperbole” because Vermont has “banned the purchase of items deemed nonessential, with customer access to those items blocked,” (the state allows the purchase of such nonessential items online, by phone, through delivery or curbside pickup);
If you, like Hoffman, decry the state of Kansas for using a “GPS program to track people’s locations through their cellphones” when the company behind the program told National Review the data “is on the aggregated level — we can’t tell or disclose if any individual is staying at home or not”;
And if you, like Hoffman, cite California Gov. Gavin Newson’s partial quote in Breitbart as proof the governor is “toying with the idea of implementing martial law”;
Then you just could be a fanatic.
If you, like Ammon Bundy of Emmett, twice took up arms against the government — first in 2014 during his family’s standoff with federal officers in Bunkerville, Nev., and then two years later while occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore.;
If you, like Bundy, have openly defied Little’s order by gathering people in what Boise Public Radio reporter Heath Druzin described as a “pandemic safety nightmare. Dozens of people sit elbow to elbow, greeting each other with hugs, even posing for pictures with an arm around Bundy’s waist”;
If you, like Bundy, are poised to create another insurrection, this time to countermand the closing of pandemic breeding areas such as restaurants, bars and sporting arenas;
If you, like Bundy, tell the New York Times: “If it gets bad enough, and our rights are infringed upon enough, we can physically stand in defense in whatever we need to ... But we hope we don’t have to get there”;
And if you, like Bundy go too far even for Eric Parker of Hailey — who did time behind bars for aiming a rifle at federal officials during the Bunkerville incident and is president of the militia group, The Real 3%ers of Idaho — (“We understand this is a health crisis ... We would expect everyone to act accordingly,” Parker old Druzin);
Then you, most certainly, are a fanatic. — M.T.