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COVID Spiking of New York Nursing Homes Is a Feature, Not a Bug, of Progressivism

In Progressivism, legislators pawn off lawmaking to committees, executives, and agencies, and media people shower praise for one-size-fits-all decisions. In constitutional society, private decisionmakers, independent lawmakers, independent law enforcers, and independent case judges provide layers of protection for life.

James Anthony
February 26, 2021

COVID-positive new admissions into New York nursing homes, following the guidance of the New York State Department of Health under Gov. Andrew Cuomo, were associated with at least several hundred deaths [1].

This is how Progressive government works.

Nursing-home operators act under constant threat of being put out of business by health departments.

Legislators start by pawning off any semblance of lawmaking to committees. Committee members soon punt entirely on writing genuine laws consisting of rules and penalties [2]. Instead, committee members and legislators act chiefly as super-executives. Their so-called laws create departments and agencies, write mission statements, and executively direct departments and agencies to write so-called regulations that are really laws, consisting of rules and penalties. Media praise legislators for taking decisive actions on problems.

Executives accept all this as normal. Executives write some orders that are really laws, containing rules and penalties. Executives write even more orders that also direct departments and agencies to write regulations that are really laws, consisting of rules and penalties. Executives hold press conferences and write books. Media praise executives for taking decisive actions on problems.

Department and agency administrators gain their jobs through all this. Administrators write some regulations that are really laws, containing rules and penalties. Administrators write even more instruments that give executive direction using various degrees of softer-sounding control, but control nonetheless. Guidance, recommendations, letters, advice—even simply leading questions are readily used to push people in business to either take some action they’re not already taking or risk punishment. Administrators hold press conferences. Media praise administrators for taking decisive actions on problems.

Bending under the weight of all these meddlers, nursing-home operators take note of all this politics-driven pressure and understandably take actions to minimize what they perceive as their combined risk of losses from government punishments and from natural consequences. Natural consequences, though, lose some of their perceived natural riskiness when government legislators, executives, and administrators, and government-friendly media, all seem to mandate a single party-line course of action.

When all publicized actions are the same, the whole herd of actors feels safe.

The nursing-home residents affected by those actions aren’t safe, but that’s basically irrelevant. The people who are affected have just two functions: they are used as excuses to take publicized actions, and they are used as props to attack any actors who separate from the herd.

Constitutional society works much differently.

People take action independently. They have the benefit of far-more collaboration with people who have helpful knowledge and who have skin in the game. Everyone’s best interests are determined by the best interests of the nursing-home residents who are affected.

Nursing-home residents, family, and operators each have close knowledge of their own people and facilities. They have immediate access to customized health advice. They are directly responsible for and accountable for their actions.

Under a republican form of government [3], legislators almost-certainly should be prevented from interfering with these well-informed, rapid, free actions. They should not have delegated to them the enumerated power to interfere.

If legislators are delegated the enumerated power to interfere, then they still are required not take executive actions, and to not delegate legislative power, but to only pass bills consisting of rules and penalties. This action is independent of the private actions of the nursing-home, family, and operators. Since it reflects far-less knowledge, if it’s done wisely it will be far-less invasive. If committee actions are foregone, and if modern travel and communications are taken advantage of, then considerations can rapidly be weighed in public session, tradeoffs can rapidly be aired and considered, and rules and penalties can rapidly be passed in the event that any one-size-fits-all coerced actions seem possibly helpful alongside the extensive private actions already underway.

Executives then can simply execute the resulting rules, allocating government people and time as needed to give constitutional due process to any people suspected of violating the rules.

Judges similarly can simply hear cases, giving additional constitutional due process to any people charged with and tried for possibly violating the rules, and write opinions. If the opinions are independently considered constitutional by executives, then executives can carry out the penalties. If the opinions are independently considered constitutional by legislators, then legislators can weigh the overall results when considering whether to pass bills to repeal these laws or to pass bills to provide related laws [4].

Constitutional society leaves people largely free. On rare occasions, constitutional government adds broadly-applicable supplementary controls, and these controls further protect life, liberty, and property.

Progressive government controls people and changes their actions. By disempowering individuals and enabling tyrannical actions, Progressive government deprives persons of life, liberty, and property.

Constitutional society provides multiple independent layers of protection, like those used in industry as shown in the figure, that improve safety. Progressive government destroys the independence of these protections and degrades safety.

Layers of Protection

Figure. In Layer of Protection Analysis, a process is protected from consequential losses if at least one independent protection layer works (figure from Ronald J. Willey [5]).


Progressive government only exists for as long as all major parties are majority Progressive [6]. Progressive government is not legal; it is aberrant, both in processes and in results.

What caused nursing homes in New York to be spiked with COVID, almost certainly causing at least hundreds of deaths, ultimately wasn’t the local operators, or a local health department, or a single governor. It was a highly-evolved system for defying the checks and balances within the state governments, defying the checks and balances provided by the national government, and degrading the checks and balances normally provided by the individual actions of free people.

These lives ultimately were taken by a system: Progressivism.


  1. Hammond, Bill, and Ian Kingsbury. “COVID-Positive Admissions Were Correlated with Higher Death Rates in New York Nursing Homes.” Empire Center, 18 Feb. 2021, www.empirecenter.org/publications/covid-positive-admissions-higher-death-rates/. Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.
  2. Anthony, James. rConstitution Papers: Offsetting Powers Secure Our Rights. Neuwoehner Press, 2020.
  3. Anthony, James. “How Elections, Parties, and Charters Matter.” rConstitution.us, 22 Jan. 2021, rconstitution.us/how-elections-parties-and-charters-matter/. Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.
  4. Anthony, James. “On the Reading of Old Constitutions.” rConstitution.us, 9 Oct. 2020, rconstitution.us/on-the-reading-of-old-constitutions/. Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.
  5. Willey, Ronald J. “Layer of Protection Analysis.” Procedia Engineering, vol. 84, 2014, pp. 12-22.
  6. Anthony, James. “Republican Party Blocks Constitutionalist Majorities and Liberty.” rConstitution.us, 2 Oct. 2020, rconstitution.us/republican-party-blocks-constitutionalist-majorities-and-liberty/. Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

James Anthony is the author of The Constitution Needs a Good Party and rConstitution Papers, is the publisher of rConstitution.us, and has written in The Federalist, American Thinker, and Foundation for Economic Education. Mr. Anthony is a chemical engineer with a master’s in mechanical engineering.


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