by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy recently released an advisory titled “Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation.” It warns that social isolation is a major public health problem. The 81-page document presents six government-directed “pillars” of action to address the health hazards of social isolation.
On the surface, these six directives may look innocuous, but they present a clear and present danger to the autonomy of our private lives and relationships. The project is potentially so massive in scope that it’s not an overstatement to say it threatens to regulate our freedom of association in ways we never could have imagined. …
… The first stated goal is to “strengthen social infrastructure in local communities.” It defines “social infrastructure” as the regular events and institutions that make up community life, and says the federal government should both fund local organizations and direct how they’re structured, including their locations. This can only mean that all local communities must answer to the federal bureaucracy in the quest to strengthen social connections among people.
Social infrastructure, the report says, includes physical parts of a community, such as housing, libraries, parks and recreation spaces, transport systems, and so forth. The report expresses concern that some people have better access to such locations than other people, and recommends federal interventions.
Those are likely to be used to promote densified housing along the lines of the “15-minute city” (more accurately termed 15-minute ghettoes), as well as the eventual dismantling of single-family housing. The goal of replacing private vehicles with public transportation fits easily into this scheme too.
I don’t presume that this plan will, by itself, drive wholesale changes in our physical infrastructure. But it would certainly provide authority and justification for changes supported by radical environmentalists, all of which diminish our freedoms.