Moreover, it’s relatively easy to move across a border if a state or city is doing something foolish. Leaving the country, by contrast, is a much bigger step (and a lot harder if you have some money).
That being said, politicians outside of Washington deserve plenty of scorn (to show that Washington has no monopoly on venality and incompetence, I periodically share columns that highlight “Great Moments in State Government” and “Great Moments in Local Government“).
And the coronavirus crisis is giving us plenty of new evidence.
Writing for the Federalist, John Daniel Davidson takes aim at control-freak politicians.
…some mayors and governors…think they have unlimited and arbitrary power over their fellow citizens, that they can order them to do or not do just about anything under the guise of protecting public health. We’ve now witnessed local and state governments issue decrees about what people can and cannot buy in stores, arrest parents playing with their children in public parks, yank people off public buses at random, remove basketball rims along with private property, ticket churchgoers… The most egregious example of this outpouring of authoritarianism was an attempt by Louisville, Kentucky, Mayor Greg Fischer to ban drive-in church services on Easter. …he also threatened arrest and criminal penalties for anyone who dared violate his order, and in an Orwellian twist, invited people to snitch on their fellow citizens. …this didn’t just happen in Louisville. Two churches in Greenville, Mississippi, that were holding drive-in services for Holy Week said police showed up and ordered churchgoers to leave or face a $500 fine. …the targeting of churches, while undoubtedly the most offensive overreach by state and local governments, is hardly the only instance of government gone wild. In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has taken it upon herself to declare what items are and are not “essential,” dictating to grocery stores what they can and cannot sell… Among the nonessential, and therefore banned, items are fruit and vegetable plants and seeds. …(Lottery tickets, on the other hand, are still permitted.)
There’s so much outrageous material in this article that it’s almost impossible to focus on one item.
I’ll simply note that it is entirely predictable – but totally disgusting – that Governor Whitmer in Michigan has exempted sales of lottery tickets from her lockdown order. I guess risk is okay if it’s for the purpose of getting more revenue by screwing poor people.
Since we’re on the topic of Governor Whitmer and Michigan, this tweet indicates that it’s okay to put infants in danger. After all, they don’t line the pockets of government by purchasing lottery tickets.
Per order from @GovWhitmer, people in Michigan are now banned from purchasing a new baby car seat in stores.— Tori Sachs (@Tori_Sachs) April 11, 2020
This is dangerous and this order needs clarification immediately. #migov #mileg pic.twitter.com/hlWNab6OTY
Let’s look at more examples of nanny-state authoritarianism.
David Harsanyi’s column in National Review is appropriately scathing.
Free people act out of self-preservation, but they shouldn’t be coerced to act through the authoritarian whims of the state. Yet this is exactly what’s happening. …politicians act as if a health crisis gives them license to lord over the most private activities of America people in ways that are wholly inconsistent with the spirit and letter of the Constitution. …What business is it of Vermont or Howard County, Ind., to dictate that Walmart, Costco, or Target stop selling “non-essential” items, such as electronics or clothing? …it is an astonishing abuse of power to issue stay-at-home orders, enforced by criminal law, empowering police to harass and fine individuals for nothing more than taking a walk. …The criminalization of movement ends with…three Massachusetts men being arrested, and facing the possibility of 90 days in jail, for crossing state lines and golfing — a sport built for social distancing — in Rhode Island. …In California, surfers, who stay far away from each other, are banned from going in the water. Elsewhere, hikers are banned from roaming the millions of acres in national parks. …Would-be petty tyrants, such as Dallas judge Clay Jenkins, who implores residences to rat out neighbors who sell cigarettes.
I’ll close with two amusing items.
First, every red-blooded American should cheer for this jogger (and you should cheer for him if you’re a red-blooded person from abroad as well).
What the heck is the harm of going for a run alone on the beach? It's probably a thousand times safer than putting gas in your car or getting groceries. Run Forest run! pic.twitter.com/Po1n8m4XWg— IAMis Dangerous to Evil I hope (@IAMISjp) April 10, 2020