Declaring The Causes That Impel Us

We’re into month two of the “State of Emergency” in Minnesota.

Let’s stipulate in advance – government does have emergency powers, and should have them, at least as a broad concept. One of government’s few genuinely legitimate roles is to exert its power to react to things that are beyond the power of the individual, or (rarely, at least in theory) subsidiary levels of government; invasions, natural disasters and, yeah, epidemics. We can argue the “should government have emergency power” question if you’d like, but it’s pretty much the status quo.

One of the obligations of a free people – and especially of a free people that wants to stay that way – is to push back when government overreaches. Not just in emergencies (although that’s the subject today), but always, on every facet of liberty. Conservatism holds that order and liberty exist in a constant state of tension; without order (or health) prosperity is impossible; without health, freedom is academic (subsistence farmers don’t have time to petition for redress of grievances); without freedom, order is onerous and, let’s be honest, prosperity is most likely concentrated among those keeping the order.

Government power, like a handgun, is a necessary tool in extreme circumstances. And like any necessary tool, free people need to make sure that the newbie isn’t sweeping people at the firing range with her hand on the trigger, and that goverment isn’t getting drunk and profligate with its use, or abuse of power.

And I think we can make a pretty solid case that Governor Walz’s emergency declaration does exactly that.

First – Covid clearly is an emergency. There is a valid public health reason to treat it as more than just the flu. But the record shows different states taking very different approaches to the emergency, and with very different results; New York State went full-on Mussolini, but between having one of the most densely populated cities in the country and being run by bungling clowns like Bill DiBlasio, it didn’t work; California also went full-on tyrant, but it seems to be working. Other states went the other way; in the Dakotas and the rural west, it seems to be working out fairly well, while in Louisiana and Florida, the libertarian approach (combined with a lot of ill-advised, Italian-style revelry in the face of the threat) didn’t pan out so well.

Minnesota has trended more authoritarian. I get the rationale. But let’s be honest – even if you ignore the ham-handedness of the administration’s management of information (of which more later in the week), it’s fair to say the Governor and his Administration have clobbered civil liberties while reacting to the crisis – in many cases, wrongly.

So lets put together a list of the usurpations:

Life and Liberty

  • While the movement restrictions in Minnesota are fairly benign so far – serving more as a muted threat than an active clampdown – the idea of telling people not to go to their lake cabin (i.e., trying to prevent people from moving temporarily from a place of high desnsity and greater vulnerability to someplace safer) is an intrusion. And Mayor Frey’s active use of the police to curtail traffic isn’t just a muted threat.
  • The ability to visit family, especially in hospitals and nursing homes. To be fair, in many cases this is a private response to the epidemic – it’s why I can’t see my mother, notwithstanding the fact that her husband of nearly 30 years just died – but it’s driven by the response to government regulations and the litigiousness that government regulators have promoted.
  • We’re paying for a lot of government “services” of dubious value in the best of times, that we’re not getting at all today.

The Pursuit of Prosperity

Here, the DFL’s disdain for business and private property rears its head, above and beyond any actual response to the epidemic.

  • The right to transact business is clearly subject to arbitrary, and in some cases seemingly capricious, interference. Small businesses are shut down (as big ones, and business with more, better lobbyists remain open), in many cases without regard to the business’ actual susceptibility to the virus (lawn services? Landscapers? They’re pretty socially distant to begin with). Arbitrarily shutting down businesses regardless of their own instincts for self-preservation, ingenuity and ability to achieve some resiliency against the epidemic (like all the small grocery stores turning their lanes into one-way thorofares) qualifies as a taking in my book. Classic example – liquor stores are “essential”, but vape and smoke shops aren’t. It’s best that your vices not be politically unfashionable.
  • The assignment of “essential” status was clearly utterly politicized.
  • While it seems an act of charity, and might even be justifiable, barring all evictions and foreclosures is certainly an arbitrary taking without some sort of compensation. The idea that
  • Contracts are pretty much irrelevant – business are foreclosed by decree, in many cases, from fulfilling them, and the courts are closed for purposes of arbitrating the results.

Government Transparency

  • The Administration is making huge, life-altering decisions about the economy based on a model that seems to be giving very different results than most other models, and whose proprietors are keeping secret for the most paternalistic of reasons: “On Friday, [State health economist Stefan] Gildemeister said he had concerns that models that let anyone use them might be “irresponsible” because “it allows folks to make assumptions that aren’t very realistic ones.” While “transparency” isn’t necessarily a constitutional issue, the idea that state bureaucrats treat the math and code that they created on our dime like something they have to prorect from a bunch of drooling savages should make every freedom-loving citizen hot under the collar, and ready to vote a whole lot of scoundrels out of office in seven months or so.
  • The legislature, already prone as it is to operating as a “star chamber” with the Governor, Speaker, and the two Majority Leaders, has gotten even less transparent than before; online gatherings (kept just below legal “quorum” status) have been substituting for public committee meetings; policy is being made completely absent public scrutiny.
  • The governor’s “press only” press conference Friday – if that doesn’t bother you, what does?

First Amendment

  • The banning of group gatherings of all kinds – as opposed to pushing for voluntary enforcement of containment and distancing – pretty much forswears all protest against government overreach.
  • The enforced closing of places of worship – as opposed to strongly suggesting people wear masks, stay at home if sick, and observe spacing between family groups in services – is a clear violation of freedom of religion.
  • While closing places of worship by decree is onerous, many churches – including my own – closed voluntarily. But there are aspects to faith – Sacraments like Last Rites, Baptism and Confession, for Catholics, and there are many others in other faiths – that must be done in person, and where remote exercise is banned as a matter of doctrine. I’ve been informed of cases where priests have been barred from hospitals; no avenues left open for the administration of such Sacraments, whether through prudent adaptations (priests in masks and PPE, isolation rooms, whatever) or not. One administrative size fits all, whether talking about an ad agency or a church. This – not just the closing down, but the forbidding of any adaptation – has to be a clear violation of the First Amendment.
  • Freedom of assembly? Do I even need to say it?
  • Along with that – the right to petition for the redress of grievances, private or public, is pretty much toast until the courts decide to start meeting again.

Second Amendment

  • Many counties are curtailing the ability to apply for, or renew, carry and purchase permits.
  • The operation of the ranges necessary for taking permit training is pretty much shut down.
  • Thanks to a law passed by a bipartisan majority in 2015, government in Minnesota can’t confiscate guns, or shut down gun stores unless literally every other business in the state is closed, due to a state of emergency. This was an admirable bit of foresight – it doesn’t take a vivid imagination to see Jacob Frey, Melvin Carter and Kim Norton (frothing anti-gun ninny mayor of Rochester) sending their cops door to door in times like this. More on this later.

Fourth Amendment

Fifth Amendment

  • With the courts pretty much closed your right to a speedy trial by an impartial jury is pretty much toast for the duration.
  • And the closing down of the Judicial Branch offices give defense attorneys – who, unlike prosecutors, have no online access to Judicial Branch records – a serious disadvantage in prepping for cases for when they can get to trial.

Privacy

  • Government is using your cell data to track the effectiveness of social distancing. While we’re assured that government and the big cell providers they’re in bed with aren’t mis-using that data, we all know that’s only as safe as the government’s least ethical employee.

Got more (specific to Minnesota, for now)? Leave ’em in the comments, please.


I gave the example of Minnesota’s gun rights movement’s successful drive to foreclose government’s ability to confiscate firearms and abrogate the 2nd Amendment during crises. Gun Rights groups in Minnesota are big, well-organized, and badly funded (you can sure help out) but make up for it in volunteer action and the justice of our cause.

The lesson, though? Minnesotans need to get together in the same way to put stronger guard rails on the other excesses of government emergency power we’re seeing.

38 thoughts on “Declaring The Causes That Impel Us

  1. It is obvious that this shutdown cannot go on.
    Not that it will be bad if the shutdown does go on — it can’t go on. When store shelves grow empty, and people see their personal wealth evaporate, you will see riots.
    There is a thing called the social contract. It isn’t written down, and no one can tell you exactly what it is. The social contract is the arrangement where individuals give up their personal liberty in exchange for the benefits of government, tangible and intangible.
    The shutdown has to end.
    So how do you do it, while minimizing the ill effect of covid-19?
    It is obvious that you need to change the effort from preventing the spread of the disease to protecting vulnerable individuals and populations.

  2. Some Governors (all reprobate leftists) are extending their Martial Law decrees months out. It’s clear they are really digging their newfound authority.

    And for many of them, it’s adding to a sentence, that is already 6 weeks old.

    The fact that people willingly let themselves be sequestered proves there is a lot of weak people in this country, but I believe the peak of tolerance will crest long before the peak of infections.

    I believe we will start seeing mass exhibitions of civil disobedience within the next couple weeks. This is especially true since, despite the best efforts of the leftists in control, much of the perfidy behind the clamp downs are being shared widely on social media.

    It’s one thing when you don’t have money to pay rent when government is enabling your squat, but it’s another when you don’t have the freedom to go to the weed store and buy your favorite bud, or the money to pay for it.

    The worst is yet to come, and it’s not coming from gramma dying of the bat flu.

  3. MP;
    This may be closer than anyone thinks. Been to a grocery store lately? I went shopping first thing yesterday morning to my local Cub. I got there about 15 minutes after the store opened. Knowing that store well, I was able to go down only the aisles that I need products from. Here were my observations. One caveat here; since Saturday is a big shopping day, I know that much of this might be due to that.
    a. produce aisles still had a normal level of stuff
    b. the racks for the small cans of soup are still basically empty. Larger cans were well picked over. Pricier brands, like Amy’s, were still pretty well stocked.
    c. the pasta, rice and dried beans were pretty picked over.
    d. the meat coolers and freezers were pretty picked over. The meat department guy was just putting out hamburger and said that he only had 100 total packages of it, because they weren’t getting their regular meat supplies for in store grinding and a few chicken and pork processing plants are already down. Then, this morning, they announced that two more plants in South Dakota, are closing down, due to labor issues, i.e. sick employees.
    e. frozen stuff was real low, too, including ice cream, which are normally well stocked, regardless of when you go in. Although, Kemps were BOGO, so that explains some of it.
    f. paper products, sanitizers and disinfectants virtually gone.
    I did get everything that I needed, but I give it another couple of weeks and then all bets are off. Prices on everything, are already starting to rise.

  4. Swiftee;
    Apparently, people are already rebelling. There was a report on the news this morning that there was a shooting at a party of about 400 people at an apartment complex in Bakersfield, CA.

    And Mitch, to your excellent post, I went by a mosque in east Bloomington off Old Cedar Avenue on Saturday and there were services going on there. I’m sure that the lefties don’t want to “oppress” the muzzies anymore. After all, they escaped war, pestilence, bad guys, yada, yada, yada.

  5. Trump (and the Governors) can “reopen the economy” but only to a certain extent. Ultimately, people decide how they will spend their money.

    If people don’t feel comfortable going to sporting events, concerts, making big purchases, planning vacations, etc. the economy will suffer. Businesses will also be reluctant to make capital investments.

    In short, it’s not really up to Trump or any politician. He can’t compel people to do anything.

  6. Well, Emery, your left wing overlords are sure doing their parts to be little Mussolinis, haven’t they? Funny that these were the same people that called Trump a fascist. Obviously, the meaning of the word is lost on them. What they don’t realize is, to Trump’s credit, he has the ability to impose far greater government controls. Further, these same critics and the propaganda arms, are begging Trump to take actions so that they can get away with them in the future. He’s not taking the bait.

  7. All those people that said Trump is a wannabe authoritarian leader.

    He’s facing the biggest crisis of his presidency and he’s running away from taking control. Or responsibility.

  8. It’s true, you really don’t understand how freedom works.

    The United States is not a dominion and Minnesota is not a province of a crown colony. We have no monarch, no supreme leader. There’s nobody with authority to place the entire nation under house arrest at whim.

    Refusing to become a tyrant is not running away from taking control or responsibility. George Washington did it, and before him, Cincinnatus. Trump is acting in the grandest tradition of a true statesman and you hate him for it.

    Says a lot about you, E. None of it good.

  9. The US is ways away from universal testing. It will be interesting to see what metrics the governors use.

  10. White House council to reopen America to include Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner,
    Chief of staff Mark Meadows’ council will also include Mnuchin, Kudlow, Lighthizer and Ross ~ John Roberts Fox News Apr. 13, 2020

    Relax guys. We’re in good hands. This will be handled smoothly and wisely.

    Imagine the outrage if Hillary appointed Chelsea and her son-in-law to a panel 😂

  11. MP, the official demographics say Bakersfield CA is approx 68% Mexican, but since it’s a hub for many illegals it’s likely higher than that.

    It’s highly probable it was Spanish speakers involved. After all, if you’re here illegally, and know the leftist government has your backs, what’s your motivation to listen to some pinche pendejo who says you need to stay in la casa?

  12. Or the silence from your media overlords over the Clintons paying for Chelsea’s wedding from a 501c3 foundation funds, heh Emery?

  13. The governors want to open things up as well. There is a black hole out there that they want to avoid falling into as much as anyone else. Trump can coordinate actions between regions and states, and clear any federal obstacles to restarting commerce.

  14. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 04.13.20 : The Other McCain

  15. So according to the President:

    The Governors have to decide if they want to close down the states.

    But the President decides to open them up.

    He is going to play facilitator and take the credit when the Governors decide.

  16. Emery,
    Have you been tested for dementia? You really seem to have either that or ADD. The lefty governors are talking out of their asses, as usual, but you can’t see that. Suddenly, the Left Coast leftists are forming cabals with east coast leftists on when to open their economies, while they still keep their boots on the throats of their subjects.
    But, you know, since these same rat bastards would blame Trump for their ignorance of economics if they guess wrong for opening their states up too soon, it’s only fair that he takes credit if it works. That’s called tit for tat.

  17. A pale, legless insect chirped:

    “ He is going to play facilitator and take the credit when the Governors decide.”

    Yeah, he’s gonna want all that Baltimore MD has got.

  18. Opening the economy is not a calendar-date driven event, but rather contingent on pervasive availability of virus and antibody testing, availability of personal protection equipment for all healthcare workers and masks for the general population, and plans to handle flare ups.

    If Trump is interested in opening the economy up, he should tell us when these will be available. It is otherwise pointless to talk about fully opening the economy.

  19. Imagine the scene that will follow when degenerate leftist Governor’s announce huge tax increases to keep their sh*thole state governments afloat while 1/3 of the population is facing eviction and foreclosures.

    Good times.

  20. I think it is advanced TDS.
    Trump is supposed to have been irresponsible for not believing in the models, but the models have been shown to have been wildly inaccurate. A week ago Emery was saying that Trump’s stupidity meant that we would not have enough masks or respirators. We’ve got plenty of masks and respirators. No one is dying because they do not have a mask or a respirator.
    The amount of wrongness in an average Emery comment is about at the limit. He starts with bad suppositions, uses bad reasoning to follow them to their conclusion, and then misstates that conclusion anyhow.
    The last time I saw this much bad reasoning was ‘way back when a blogger claimed (on Penigma blog) that Homosexuality must be genetic because 96% of lesbians were Left-handed.
    The problems with that blogger’s arguments were-
    1) The study did not say that 96% of lesbians were left handed. It said that women who were lesbians were 96% more likely to be left-handed than women who were not lesbians (3.9% vs 2.0%)
    2) Not all homosexuals are lesbians.
    3) The “study” was a meta study that combined data sets taken decades apart, with different definitions of “lesbian” and “left-handed.”

    So the blogger had used a bad data source, used bad math to analyze the data, and then misapplied the results of her errors.

  21. MP, what do you expect from a pale, legless insect? Where is your empathy?

    Check yourself.

  22. If Trump realized there was a real problem at the end of January, why did he do almost nothing for the whole month of February?

    He found time to travel to Europe for Davos. Then he golfed, and flew around the country and held rallies.

    When the first wave passes most people will still have zero immunity and risk severe lung damage. I don’t see how repeating waves will be better until there are vaccines or some miracle antiviral.

  23. Emery: see my @7:32.
    You are either talking about the past (doesn’t matter in this context), or are making poor assumptions about the future. What is the risk of severe lung damage from covid-19 by age demographic?

  24. This is just an example of a President who talks 100% out of his ass on really important things, and is supported by people who thinks that’s fine. He Presidents like he tweets.

  25. But Emery, the deaths predicted by the models are decreasing at an exponential rate.
    Do you hear me?
    EXPONENTIAL!
    You are horrible at analysis. Your mind works on emotion, like a woman.

  26. Here it is, April 13th.
    There is no shortage of ventilators.
    There is no shortage of ICU beds.
    Adjust to this magnificent thing that lies outside of the human imagination called ‘reality.’

  27. Emery on April 13, 2020 at 2:37 pm said:
    Imagine the outrage if Hillary appointed Chelsea and her son-in-law to a panel

    Fortunately, Hillary tested negative for the presidency.

  28. Many people are wondering how a pandemic can go from fifteen cases down to zero and end up turning into 560,433 active cases and killing over 22,115 Americans in less than a month.

    Remember the good old days when COVID-19 was a “hoax” that was “no worse than the flu”?

  29. “Remember the good old days when COVID-19 was a “hoax” that was “no worse than the flu”?”

    Yeah, I certainly do remember the media telling us that. I’d post the screenshots if that was possible here.

  30. Ian, April 14, 1:31 – Excellent!

    Emery . . . oh, what’s the use?

    Covid-19 has killed fewer Americans than an ordinary flu season, which usually ranges from 30,000 to 60,000. And that’s WITH the change in reporting so every death from respiratory illness is counted as a Covid death instead of influenza, emphysema or pneumonia, but WITHOUT a test to confirm Covid presence. They can’t even CHEAT the number high enough to be as deadly as plain old ordinary influenza.

    Just occurred to me – these must be the same guys who were in charge of printing extra ballots to store in the trunks of cars for Hillary’s campaign. They came up woefully short of projections, too, and that was also blamed on Trump.

  31. Trump, Feb. 28: “The press is in hysteria mode” over coronavirus.

    Trump video, April 13: “The media minimized the risk from the start.”

  32. “the more I read about MN, the more glad I am to have moved 250 miles south.”

    That’s a good start, but imo, you stopped about 600 short.

  33. MP, even hysterical women can be talked down, usually. We’re dealing with a bug-man brain.

  34. According to Trump, Joe Biden will have absolute authority. Are you Trump lovers excited?

  35. According to Trump, Joe Biden will have absolute authority. Are you Trump lovers excited?

    Boy, you sure put a lot of stock in what Trump says, Emery.
    Maybe you should be more skeptical.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.