“Governments have no right or authority to tell us what business or other activity is ‘essential.’ Only in totalitarian states does the government claim this authority.” ~ Ron Paul
Just as all lives matter, so all businesses matter.
Most Americans have been confined to their homes for the past month except when they need to get something from an “essential” business. And who in their omniscience has decided which businesses are essential? Why, the government, of course.
And what businesses does the government consider to be essential? Well, it depends on the state. But this doesn’t exonerate the federal government in the least. It is the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the federal National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) that is responsible for inciting the coronavirus insanity. And it is the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) of the Department of Homeland Security that last month issued its “Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience In COVID-19 Response” that many states are following.
In my state of Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, issued an executive order (20-51) on March 1 “directing the Florida Department of Health to issue a Public Health Emergency” because of COVID-19 and then issued another executive order (20-52) On March 9 “declaring a state of emergency for the entire state of Florida as a result of COVID-19.” On March 17, DeSantis issued an executive order (20-68) restricting the operation of bars and restaurants and practically closing the beaches. On March 20, DeSantis issued an executive order (20-71) shutting down bars, restaurants, and gyms. Also on March 20, DeSantis issued an executive order (20-72) banning all “medically unnecessary, non-urgent or non-emergency procedure or surgery” and directing all dentists to cease performing “elective services.” On March 27, DeSantis issued an executive order (20-83) urging the elderly and those with serious underlying medical conditions to stay at home. Included also was “a public health advisory against all social or recreational gatherings of 10 or more people.” Also on March 27, DeSantis issued an executive order (20-87) suspending all “vacation rental operations.” On March DeSantis issued an executive order (20-89) restricting in four Florida counties “public access to business and facilities deemed non-essential.”
Finally, on April 1, DeSantis issued an executive order (20-91) directing “all persons in Florida” to “limit their movements and personal interactions outside of their home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities.” “Essential services” means and encompasses “the list detailed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce” and “those businesses and activities designed by Executive Order 20-89 and its attachment.” “Essential activities” include “attending religious services conducted in churches, synagogues and houses of worship” and “participating in recreational activities (consistent with social distancing guidelines) such as walking, biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, running, or swimming.” The Free Society Laurence M. Vance Best Price: $13.55 Buy New $17.54 (as of 04:55 EST – Details)
These executive orders are nothing but creeping fascism. Their destruction of civil liberties has resulted the insanity of churches closing when they don’t have to, “unessential” bookstores closing while “essential” liquor stores remain open, and outdoor seating areas at convenience stores wrapped in plastic.
Things are just as insane in other states. In Idaho, a woman was threatened with jail time for holding a “nonessential” yard sale. In Tennessee, churches are closed but abortion clinics are open. In all states (except Massachusetts) where recreational marijuana is legal, marijuana merchants have been deemed “essential.”
In a market economy, every business is essential because every type of industry relies on, stimulates, and necessitates the other industries. And of course, every business is essential to the owner of the business, the family of the owner, the employees who work at the business, and the customers who patronize the business.
Once it is accepted that the government can decide which businesses are essential, then no reasonable or logical argument can be made against the government deciding which products and services offered by businesses are essential.
That is, once it is accepted that the government can decide which businesses are essential, then no reasonable or logical argument can be made against the government deciding
- which medical procedures are essential
- which sporting events are essential
- which recreational activities are essential
- which foods are essential
- which television programs are essential
- which vitamins are essential
- which medicines are essential
- which clothing is essential
- which car repairs are essential
- which amusements are essential
- which religious activities are essential
- which movies are essential
- which books are essential
And of course, when the government deems something to be essential, it also means that it intends to suppress what it deems to not be essential.
Governors and mayors forcing businesses to close—with the prompting and full support of the federal government—is a big leap toward a totalitarian police state. And there is a reason I did not say “a first step.” The United States has been heading this way for years, as John Whitehead has so chronicled in detail. The coronavirus insanity may just be the final straw.
Just as all lives matter, so all businesses matter.