The Myth Of Continuity

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

There’s a myth that the United States of America began with the
Revolution in 1776 and continues today. I say it’s a myth, because the
name is the same, but the contents have changed.

In 1776 to 1787, we fought a war and then attempted to form a nation
under the Articles of Confederation. Not the same form of government we
have now.

 From 1787 until 1861, we had a free association of independent units
under one Constitution collectively called “the United States” but that
union perished when the southern states attempted to leave and the
northern states invaded and conquered them.

 From 1865 until about 1935, we had a weak central government to handle
constitutional responsibilities with foreign nations and a collection of
state governments to handle local affairs. That nearly died with the
Great Depression and FDR’s gigantic increase in the size, scope and
domestic power of federal government. It was finished off by 1975, with
LBJ Great Society, immigration reform, anti-war protest, affirmative
action, feminism. We are living in the ruins with transgender rights,
systemic white privilege, antifa, and ever-smaller warring factions. The
nation is disintegrating; we simply haven’t started the shooting in earnest.

The final proof is that every Governor can invoke emergency powers to
suspend the Constitution and no one blinks an eye. Walz banned religion.
He banned the right to make a living, except for favored contributors. 
He issued a state-wide house arrest restricting travel. These acts would
have been unthinkable under previous versions of the United States but
today they are not only accepted, they are vigorously defended by half
the population.

I don’t know what the next country will be like. It will not be a
collection of independent, proud, pioneers pulling themselves up by
their bootstraps. That country is long dead. When enough people get sick
of the uncertainty and violence, I fear they will turn to a strong man,
a dictator, to impose order by ridding the country of independent,
proud, people who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps. Small
business men. Entrepreneurs. Independent thinkers. Me.

Not looking forward to it.

Joe Doakes

Nope.

If He Didn’t Exist…

I’m pretty sure the Minnesota GOP would have to invent Ryan Winkler.

This was him over the weekend on social media:

So in other words, our House Majority Leader stands for the abolition of Federalism – one of the things our country got completely right.

Oh, he’s not done yet:

He went to Harvard, you know – but apparently never read the Federalist Papers.

The Constitution is precisely about denying unlimited power to the majority!

Not sure if Winkler, and the people he’s aping, want a civil war

But if they do, it’s hard for me to figure what they’d do differently.

Tag It And Bag It

Dennis Prager puts it well – the Left (today’s extreme left, not the center-left American liberalism of Hubert Humphrey or John F. Kennedy) destroys everything it touches.

The American Civil Liberties Union of the sixties and seventies, the ACLU of Nat Hentoff and other principled center-left civil libertarians was an organization with a political point of view, but that realized civil liberties were for everyone; that if the Manhattan crowd infringed rural Missouri’s civil liberties, they’d eventually regret it.

I’ve been joking – and then “joking” (see Berg’s 21st Law) – since the nineties that the ACLU should obey truth in advertising laws and change its name to the San Francisco, Hollywood and Upper East Side CIvil Liberties Union (SFHaUESCLU), since that’s really all they represent.

So I’m not sure if I should be happy or concerned that the ACLU has dropped all pretense to the contrary.

Peaceable Assembly

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

First Amendment of the Constitution protects the fundamental right to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.
60 days of rioting, burning down buildings, destroying property, is not what the Framers contemplated. Those are not peaceful protests so they’re not covered by the First Amendment. They are Insurrection, which must be put down to preserve civil order.

Portland needs to announce that we’ve had our little fun, but we’re done now. Starting tonight, anybody suspected of Riot will be shot on sight. Then shoot a few people,  “a whiff of the grape,” to encourage the others.

The time-out from reality is over. We are going back to constitutional republic.

Joe Doakes

The government of Portland – like that of Minneapolis, except apparently the Charter Commission – is so dependent on the (politically connected parents and aunts and uncles of the) mob in the streets, they wouldn’t dare raise a finger to them.

Let’s Set The Record Straight, Here

Since the topic of political “extremism” is on everyone’s mind, I may as well get this out there.

I’m an extremist.

I’m an extremist for Western Civilization.

I’m an extremist for the legacy of the value of the individual that comes from the Judeo-Christian tradition.

I am a zealot for that civilization’s rejection of group guilt for the sins of the individual.

I am a full blown foot soldier for the idea that rights – freedom of expression, conscience, innocence until proof of guilt, and defending my life, family, home, freedom and community – are all indivisible parts of being human, not “privileges” granted to you by a benevolent government (and taken away by a less-benevolent one).

I am a militant (intellectually speaking, and here’s hoping it can stay that way) for the notion that “citizenship” means having all the powers, rights and responsibilities of government, allowing me (and you!) to govern a society together, regardless of (indeed, ignoring completely) the rest of our various identities.

I’m a howling berserker (again, purely intellectually, here) for the free markets of ideas as well as goods, which has made this civilization the most humane human system in all of history.

I am a full-blown crusader for the tolerance of dissent, and indeed exaltation of informed criticism of and dissent from our rulers, our laws, and indeed the imperfections of Western Civilization itself that our civilization, pretty much alone among all the world’s cultures through history, invented – as well as for the ability to tolerate, learn from, and co-exist with other cultures as equals in the eyes of God and the law…

…while keeping, living by, and proselytizing the parts of our civilization that have made it the system in human history that has most effectively and systematically upheld the dignity and value of human life, even with all its (amply studied) imperfections.
I’m a stormtrooper for the ideal that these freedoms, exaltations, values and traditions are not zero sum propositions; that taking freedom away from someone doesn’t give you more.

I’m a flag-waving militiaman for the imperative to spread those freedoms to as many people in the world as want them – and, if needed, defend them from those who don’t.
For those things, I’m an extremist. A peaceful one, one that welcomes both agreement and civil disagreement.

But I’m absolutely an extremist. You can have my Western Civilization when you pry it from my cold, hand – and you will spend an eternity trying to pry it from my hot, living soul, and failing.

“Extremism in the defense of freedom is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue”
— Barry Goldwater.

Putsch

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Republicans agreed to police reform bills in the second special session.  This is a mistake.

There should be NO legislative action, on ANY proposal, until Dictator Walz relinquishes his totalitarian control over the entire state back to the peoples’ elected representatives in the legislature.

Otherwise, it never ends.  Ever.  And in that case, why do we need the Legislature at all?

Joe Doakes

One hopes the MNGOP gets this message.

The Unmarked Van Of Remorseless Logic

I’ve had a couple people ask what I thought about Federal law enforcement, driving rental vans and wearing generic mil-cop camouflage, grabbing individual “protesters” off the streets of Portland.

To be honest, I’m not of two minds about it. Maybe three or four.

Bear with me, here.

I was a Libertarian with a capital L. I’m still a libertarian with small “l'”. I read my Soviet history (which is why I’m not a DFLer or a “progressive”). Cops descending out of nowhere and throwing people into vans and driving off is not a good look.

And if you can show me that those people have disappeared without a trace – as opposed to appearing in federal court being arraigned on charges involving destroying federal property and other federal crimes – then we’ve got something to talk about.

On the other hand:

I will wager a shiny new quarter that every single one of these “peaceful” protesters is going to appear in enough video, witness statements and other credible evidence to support at least an indictable allegation that they were involved in destroying federal (as in “you and me paid for it”) property, and/or travelled across state lines to organize other peoples’ felonies.

Now – given that Portland has in effect been turned over to “Anti”-Fa [1], and in effect told its own police to leave them alone and get out of the way, what’s going to be the best way to get these alleged violent conspirators – rolling up in a van labeled “FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT”, warning the wannabe tough guys to form a mob and get their bats and bike chains and guns out, and starting yet another riot?

Or maybe take the subtle approach, get the organizers they want, and leave without letting the mob destroy the neighborhood – again?

On the other, other hand:

All of you people demanding openness and transparency in law enforcement in tracking and arresting (for sake of argument) people who are credibly alleged to be organizers of violent riots that have caused tens of millions of dollars of damage to private, local and federal property: Where were you brave, iconoclastic souls in 2011-2013, when prosecutors in Wisconsin were serving no-knock “John Doe” warrants with SWAT teams armed not one degree behind the Specal Forces fashion curve, along with gag orders signed by courts that the Kangaroos released a statement saying they didn’t want to be associated with, against people accused of…

…supporting Scott Walker for Governor?

Where were you?

Is opaque government only a problem when it’s the people you agree with (?) getting arrested under unseemly circumstances?

And on the other, other, other hand:

Is Federal law enforcement and the whole federal justice system, with its 98% conviction rate and its indulgent rules that allow federal prosecutors to squeeze people to choose between guilty pleas or having their lived completely destroyed and being personally, legally and financially ruined forever, too powerful?

Well, I agree – and if you root for that same system when they pick out a white collar criminal to hound to death (read Howard Root’s “Cardiac Arrest” for a great local story by a guy who beat the rap – at the cost of $25 million), but get the vapors when it’s an entitled, upper-middle-class, over-schooled but under-educated “progressive” anarchist, then yes, I am going to point out your (let’s be polite here) inconsistency.

Explosive Allegations

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Every year, I scan the news for stories of blind, fingerless, homeless Wisconsinites crossing the border into Minnesota.  Still haven’t found any. 

Fireworks that fly or explode are illegal in Minnesota.  Governor Walz vetoed a bill to legalize them.  But they’re legal to buy in Wisconsin and the Dakotas, so in a massive act of civil disobedience, Minnesotans cross the border to bring fun home.  The Twin Cities really did transform into Mogadishu for a couple of hours on Saturday night; sounded like it, at least.

DFL Karens insist fun fireworks are too dangerous for Minnesotans.  Firecrackers could blow your fingers off.  Bottle rockets could shoot someone’s eye out.  Your aerial display mortar could set the roof on fire.  You’re simply too stupid to follow the instructions printed on every package of Black Cats since I was a kid: “Lay on ground. Light fuse.  Get away.” 

If that were true, you’d think the news media would show the hordes of maimed and homeless refugees from neighboring states coming here for medical treatment, food, shelter, generous welfare benefits, solicitous churches . . . but no, there are no refugee stories.  I see only two possibilities: the news media is hiding the story, or there are no refugees which means Karen is lying.

And yet fireworks are banned.  There were 59 injuries from fireworks in Minnesota last year, half of them kids burned by sparklers which are completely legal.  For this, we ban fireworks in the entire state?  

The risk is negligible but the ban is permanent.  I see only one possibility:  DFLers believe Cheeseheads are so much smarter than Minnesotans, they can be trusted with freedom.  We cannot.  So they won’t give us any.

Actually, that explains a lot. 

Joe Doakes

And not just about fireworks.

Love Letter To America

Manny Laureano – friend of the blog, of the show, and of the good guys all over the Metro – writes this love letter to America on the Independence Day holiday.

You should read the whole thing.

I’m gonna pullquote a bit anyway:

I love being an American.

I love that in an airport terminal I can hear a strong Bronx accent, a Texas drawl, a sweet North Carolina lilt, and L.A. surfer-speak all spoken by people whose parents came from Germany, Japan, Ghana, and the Dominican Republic.

I love being an American.

I love that I’m different from others in the world. Because I love that I am secure enough in who I am to not want to be like others. I am content with the richness that is part of who I am without coveting the nature of others while accepting my foibles. I derive pride from living under the oldest constitution in the world. I love that we have grown over the last 233 years to amend that constitution to reflect some newer acknowledgements over earlier decisions. I love that we can bend without snapping in two although once we came close. We fought an internal battle and spent a long time healing.

And I love being an American.

And reading this – among so many other stimuli – so do I.

Happy Independence Day, everyone!

Spectrum

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Political scientists love to talk about the Spectrum, left-wing parties versus right-wing parties.
I look at it more from the point of view of government control. Anarchists are on one end, no government control it all. Totalitarians are on the other end, government control of everything.
Pure Liberty is pure license. It’s the right to do anything you want at anytime to anybody. We saw that during the riots. That’s anarchy. Nobody wants that.
Which means that in order to have real Liberty, there must be order. And ordered Liberty requires restrictions on what people can do. And restrictions require someone to enforce them, with force if necessary. Which means police.
If Minneapolis seriously goes forward with the plan to abolish the police, they are intentionally heading toward Anarchy territory. It’s no wonder businesses are uninterested in rebuilding there, and residents are talking about fleeing.
Joe Doakes

WIthout order, prosperity is impossible.

WIthout prosperity, liberty is pretty much academic.

Without liberty, prosperity is pretty much a “ruling clicque” thing.

The tension between liberty and order is what kept the founding fathers up all night writing the Constitution.

Never Waste A Crisis – Libertarian Edition

I pointed out with a bit of mindly tart surprise last month that California, after voting in lock step with the statist agenda for the past thirty years, had rediscovered the virtues of federalism via the current public health crisis, and the (to progressives) greater crisis of Hillary losing the election.

That was a tad sarcastic – but as José Niño at the Mises Institute points out, after quite a few policians romping and playing in power like Scrooge McDuck bathing in his coin vault…:

Amusingly, the COVID-19 saga has been host to some of the most flagrant political posturing in recent memory. Early in March (which feels like eons ago in today’s frenetic media cycle) New York City mayor de Blasio was telling people to go to the movies and have fun. Now, he’s done a complete 180, shutting down most private businesses and even calling for the nationalization of certain industries and begging the federal government for military aid to combat the epidemic.

…there’ve been some object lessons show, and learned, on the value of federalism coming out of this crisis:

We are indeed living in the strangest of times when LA Times columnists are expressing sentiments that better belong in a passage of Human Action. The jury is still out on whether this is merely oppositional posturing from the Left, but any kind of conversation entailing the restoration of federalism is a welcome surprise.

The “authorized” right can generally be counted on to disappoint its constituents who genuinely believe in small government principles. To their credit, there have been some bright spots on their side in the present pandemic. States like Texas have gone out of their way to declare gun stores essential businesses and to deregulate several parts of its economy at a time where bureaucracy is impeding various vital economic functions.

Elected officials like State Representative Matt Gurtler in Georgia have raised the stakes by floating a proposal that would allow law-abiding Georgians to concealed carry anywhere. South Dakota governor Kristi Noem projected a stark contrast in her relatively lax approach to handling the pandemic. Jeff Deist used her example as the basis for several pragmatic measures that state governments can take to reopen their economies without throwing civil liberties into the wood chipper. No doubt there is much work to be done, but we can find glimmering signs of promise every now and then.

The example I like to use – after Katrina, gun rights groups noticed the speed at which Louisiana and New Orleans’ layers of incompetent Democrat governments turned to confiscating the firearms of law-abiding citizens. In 2015, Minnesota’s gun rights groups pushed a law in Minnesota barring the state from confiscating guns from law-abiding citizens under states of emergency, or shutting down gun stores before every other store in the state was closed. The bills passed, with bipartisan majorities in both chambers powerful enough to scare Governor Dayton’s handlers away from telling him to sign a veto.

We – the good guys – need to do that with every other civil right.

Starting in November.

Timing

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Newest Covid statistics.

10% of the people tested got the virus.  1.5% of those who got the virus, needed hospitalization. One-half of one percent of those who got the virus, died from it.  80% of the deaths are in nursing homes.  No child has died from it.
 
The computer model estimates from the press conference in March, when the Governor imposed the lock down, were that 2.5 million Minnesotans would get it, of all ages, from 6 months to 91 years; that 15% of those who get it would require hospitalization; 5% of them would require ICU care; 1% would die. 
 
Testing proves the computer model was wrong.  Can we abandon the model, now?  Focus our efforts on those who need them, liberate the rest to go back to work so we can pay for it all?
 
Joe Doakes

I’m not going to say “nothing about Govenor Walz’s response has anything to do with public health.

But nearly every part of the response – especially last week’s luke-warm reopening announcement – is driven by political expedience.

In this case, most notably, as defiance of the state of emergency burgeons, the expedience of appearing to still be in charge.

Representative Karen

Tina LIebling, representative from…

…well, it might as well be Eastasia, given her attitude about, well, the role of the elected legislature, especially the part that’s in opposition., But I digress.

Here’s the representative, talking about GOP Senators who were doing the – let me make sure I’m perfectly clear oh this – actual job they were elected to do, standing up for their constituents’ interests.

No matter, to Rep. Karen:

Hey, at least state rules forced her to unblock me!

Science Fiction

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Pretend Covid is a Science Fiction/Fantasy story.

***

President Trump is at the table with his senior advisors, discussing how
to deal with Covid.  Suddenly, a being appears in the room.  Eight feet
tall, red, horns and tail, leering.  People scream, Secret Service try
to rush the President out but the doors won’t open.  They shoot but the
bullets fall to the floor without harming the being.  Eventually, the
being flicks his fingers and everyone freezes in place.

“Enough.  I’m here to collect my due.  You – Orange Man – you’re going
to do exactly as I tell you.  Understand?”

The Orange Man does nothing.  “Oh, my bad,” the being says, flicking his
fingers at the Orange Man, who is suddenly able to move.

“Who are you?  What do you want?”

“I’ve been known by many names but I like the first one, best.  I am the
Light Bringer.  I brought you the opportunity for total power, through
the Covid virus.  And you wasted it!  You idiot – you had the perfect
chance to declare martial law, drain the swamp, clean out the Deep
State, cripple your enemies, restore your country’s greatness and
establish a world-wide empire – but instead you let those morons in the
state capitols run around like idiots ordering people to Stay Home and
now the economy is in such bad shape you’re in danger of losing
everything I gave you.  Well, that’s going to change.  You’re going on
television.  You’re going to announce that you can cure Covid,
completely.  That nobody will ever die from that virus again, anywhere,
in the whole world.  And all it’s going to take is one small favor.”

“What favor?”

“I want you to sacrifice your son to me.  Kill that one person, and
everyone else is saved.”

“Are you kidding?  That’s ridiculous.  I’m not doing that.”

“Why not?  There’s historical precedent.  Abraham was willing. Ivan the
Terrible and Peter the Great both did it,  Herod killed two of his
sons.  What’s the problem?  Any sacrifice is worth it, if it saves even
one life, right?”

***

If it saves even one life.  Now we know where that idea comes from.

Joe Doakes

After the news about the state’s Covid modelers, it doesn’t even seem all that terribly far-fetched.

Techno Peasants, Arise!

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

There’s definite technological and age bias in the Governor’s Stay Home order.
Sure, curbside and drive-thru are open. But to pick up at the curbside, you must place an online order, and I can never make their menu website work. Old people are less tech-savvy. The order is age discrimination.

And to go through the drive-thru takes a million years because all the people who formerly parked to go inside and talk to one of the three order-takers at the counter, are now waiting to talk to the one order-taker on the tinny box. Cars at Chick-fil-A are backed up all around the parking lot, out across the driving lane, all the way to Barnes & Noble. I can never understand what the order-taker is squawking. Probably slight loss of hearing, what with being old and all. Again, more age discrimination.

What was wrong with going to Keys, sitting in a booth where the nice lady would take my order for meatloaf, bring me some water and bread, I could relax and read a book until my order came?

Joe Doakes

I’m thinking about building a replica of Mickey’s Diner (the one on West 7th, not downtown) in my basement.

Just One Life

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Governor Walz killed a man today.  He won’t be prosecuted for it. He’s
safe behind papers and attorneys and statutes.  But the man is dead by
Governor Walz’ act, same as if he’d done the deed in person.

Governor Walz killed a health care worker today.  The dead man was laid
off from a hospital.  They couldn’t afford to keep him. They were losing
too much money since the Governor banned non-emergency medical treatment
to keep hospital beds open for the surge of Covid patients that never
came.  But for the shut-down, the dead man would have been at work,
caring for patients, doing what he loved.

Governor Walz killed a father today.  The dead man was married, with
children ranging from 3 to 9 years old.  His wife is still in shock.
Family is staying with her.  The older ones are quiet, trying to
understand.  The little ones hear: “Daddy’s gone to Heaven” and ask:
“Yes, but when is he coming home?”  They don’t understand why he’s never
coming home.  None of us do. There will be no visitation, no memorial. 
They are illegal.

Governor Walz killed a son today.  The dead man’s parents still live in
the house he grew up in.  The father, in his 90’s, crying, asking, “Why
him, Lord?  Why not me? He had so much to live for.” The Governor claims
he had to shut down everything to save lives. But the lives saved are
those like the father – old, sitting at home, waiting to die – which are
never weighed against the lives lost.

Governor Walz killed a brother today. He was the smartest of us all: honors graduate, advanced degrees, quick with a quip but heart as big as the world. He was my baby brother.

Joe Doakes

My condolences to Joe’s family – to say the least.

Pass it around.

Civil Disobedience

Saint Paul barbershop, facing a life-or-death business decision, chooses life:

In the shadows of the State Capitol, King Milan Barbershop had, for the first time in seven weeks, its lights on. Milan Dennie is the owner.

“It’s my livelihood,” Dennie said. “I’ve been sitting here coming up with strategies and plans on how to open up and do it correctly.”

His customers outside had at least two things in common: The plea to reopen businesses, and the need for a haircut.

For two hours, Dennie enforced social distancing and sanitizing as a way to prove he’s serious for the 16 clients he served.

Government chooses…

…well, not “death”.  

Let’s go for “mindless, unquestioning acquiescence to even the most arbitrary decision of The State”

The 17th person to walk in was St. Paul police.

“We just stepped outside and he talked to me,” Dennie said. “He said he feels what I’m going through, but the order is in place right now.”

Technically, the state can shut him down and fine Dennie up to $25,000. He’s aware he could lose his shop by this decision to reopen. He’s convinced he’d lose it by staying closed.

When the doors did close, donations came in along with support. Some from fellow barbers who are also stressed from not providing.

“Everybody keeps saying, ‘File this, file that.’ You file everything you want to, until your hands hurt,” Burnsville barbershop owner Nile House said. “You can keep typing til your hands are aching, but you’re not going to get it because it’s not coming.”

When people stop respecting what government does, you can expect people to start working around, rather than with, it.

Government Is The Things We Do Together – Stupidly And Arbitrarily

A Long Lake restaurant tries to put on a drive in movie, complete with take-out food with all the socially-distance, plague-aware trimmings.

The state shut them down:

Birch’s On the Lake has lost around 70% of its regular revenue while doing take-out only during the stay at home order.

The owner came up with a plan to do a family night at the drive-in outside the Long Lake restaurant.

“It sold out in a day,” Burton Joseph said.

The plan was to hand out notes to customers explaining the safety rules: stay in their cars, maintain distance, and no alcohol. They would be allowed to call in an order for take-out to eat in their cars.

On Monday state officials told Joseph they could not have the event.

“If we’re coming up with the ideas to keep everyone safe at this point I feel like they deserve to give someone a chance,” Joseph said.

Yet again: we have a government run by a man who’s never had a significant job in the private sector, at the head of an administration that has nothing but contempt for businesspeople…

…telling the people who actually have the interests of not only their business, but the customers and communities that are their livelihood, and who have greatest stake in providing creative solutions to our mutual problems, how to behave.

This is the sort of thing that delegitimizes government authority, and leaves you with a Ukraine, a Belanus, a Venezuela.

Officer Friendly

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

There’s a video of two Calumet County Wisconsin Sheriff’s deputies hassling a woman because her kids went to the neighbor’s house to play. 

In response, the Sheriff posted this message:  

The problem with both the video and the response is the attitude.  This is the kind of behavior that gets people upset at law enforcement.  

Look at the male deputy in the video.  His tone is berating.  His attitude is condescending.  His body language is aggressive.  The Sheriff says the Deputy is there to educate the mother, that the deputies were not there because of a violation of the order.  But that’s what the deputies accuse her of – violating the order by letting her kids play at the neighbor’s house. 

The male deputy’s posture and word choice is confrontational.  He doesn’t educate, he berates.  It angers me just watching it.  He did nothing to de-escalate the situation.  
The female deputy’s passive-aggressive behavior is little better.  She doesn’t educate or placate, she’s there to document the contact for future prosecution because now the mother has been warned.  And the mother was uncooperative!  That’s going on her Permanent Record!  

That is the sort of officious, snotty, condescending, infuriating behavior by petty tyrants that causes unrest, as in “unrest in the Middle East” or “another day of unrest in Northern Ireland.”  People who can’t behave professionally in customer-facing positions should find another line of work.

Let me be perfectly clear for law enforcement and other people of limited intellectual ability: I am not calling for people to shoot cops.  But if this woman had and I were on the jury, I’d vote to acquit.
Joe Doakes

There’s something about “public service” that brings the worst out of a certain type of personality – the kind wonderfully parodied by Rainn Wilson for nine years as “Dwight Schrute”.

Although this isn’t funny.

So Let Me See If I’ve Got This Straight

“We” – the Governor’s junta, at this point – can re-open Minnesota when we “have enough testing”, and we will be testing 20,000 people a day – or we will. We are assured is going to happen any day now.

Which we’ve been assured is happening any day now for over a month. And after a month of bureaucratic proclamations and excuses and deflection, we are testing about 10% of the rate that the governor says would make him talk about opening things up again.

And they wonder why people are protesting?

Stunning

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

“That which is not prohibited is permitted.”

It’s the underlying principle of American law. We inherited it from English constitutional law, which goes back at least 500 years. I suspect it was also Norman law and Roman law, going back more than 2,000 years.

Certainly, there were variations. And subpopulations had restrictions, there have always been slaves or persons treated differently. Religions imposed restrictions.  The guilds had rules. But the general societal rule throughout the history of Western Civilization has been to leave individuals free to do as they please, with limited exceptions.

Until last month, when Governor Walz flipped it on its head.

Everything is banned except those few items which are permitted. Every job is banned except those deemed essential. Every activity is banned except those deemed essential. Everything is banned, except.

Hitler didn’t do it.  Lincoln didn’t do it during the civil war. None of the Caesars did it. 

I’m not sufficiently familiar with non-western Traditions to know about other nations: Mao’s China, Pharaoh’s Egypt, Stalin’s Russia, Castro’s Cuba. Maybe they were all totalitarian states with everything run by whim of the Chief, and everyone bowing and scraping subserviently.

And now Walz’ Minnesota. We still have people commenting on Internet sites, demanding that the boot remain on their faces, insisting that people should be punished for violating the edicts. “No, no; don’t give us any of that freedom, we don’t want it.”

Stunning.

Joe Doakes

If we are smart…

…well, I was about to say “if we, The People, are smart we’ll make damn certain our legislature puts some guardrails around the executive’s emergency power in the future”.

Of course, betting on the wisdom of the crowd usually breaks one’s heart.

But not always. Five years ago, the Second Amendment groups in Minnesota got Governor Dayton to sign a bill forbidding the government from confiscating guns under a “state of emergency”, and foreclosing it from shutting down gun shops unless literally every other store in the state was also closed.

So it can be done.

Will we do it?

The Real Virus

Epidemics and other disasters come and go

But the worst side-effects of the Covid epidemic are going to be with us for years.

This was the Raleigh NC Police’s response to a protest against the government’s shutdown restrictions:

And if the people allow this attitude to continue, then they – we – will deserve what follows.

The First Amendment isn’t more important than the broad concept of “order” – but it is certainly more important than the Raleigh PD treats it in this case.

Someone needs to get hauled into court, but good.

The ACLU has been showing some signs of paying attention to actual civil liberties again during this crisis. Here’s hoping.

Blue Fragility, Part II

It’s a steroetype of “blue” America – at least, the “elite” version of it that gets (and makes) the headlines – that liberty, at least the kind that involves something other than waving one’s genitals about and dunking crucifixes in urine – terrifies them.

Stereotypes exist for a reason. Blue Amerca’s official vision is that liberty is a scary thing. Of course, this vision is broadcast by an “elite” that thinks they stand to benefit from living in a society where an elite – including them, natch – makes the trains run on time.

Which is why as calls from the hinterland to open up the economy get louder, you can expect to see a lot more of this sort of thing, equating those calls with scary backwoods guys with un-oiled bears and lots of guns.

Bonus steroetype: why did the New York Times put scare quotes around “liberty” in the headline?