Remember that dusty ol’ thing, the US Constitution?
From their actions, it’s clear that many contemporary politicians either don’t remember it, or they’re jaw-droppingly unfamiliar with its so-called “rules."
This definitely seems to be the case in the Washington, DC Mayor’s office, where, as Bill Binion reports for Reason, Mayor Muriel Bowser has told retailers to call the metro police if they see shoppers sans face coverings in violation of her order.
That would be the order she has no constitutional, legal, or moral authority to issue, the order that is no more valid than that of a mobster shaking down a local shop owner.
Bowser's mandate—extended on July 22—requires that all persons wear a mask outside of their residence when they will be interacting with someone ‘for more than a fleeting time’ and that ‘businesses, office buildings, and other establishments open to members of the public’ post signage to apply that rule internally.
One need not get caught in the Gordian Knot of debating the meaning of “fleeting time” because, similar to the word “reasonable”, that’s one of those wriggle-room terms politicians use in statutes and mandates to let government define wrongdoing any way they wish.
The key here is that Bowser has no legal or moral power to issue such a command.
She doesn’t have it to tell people they have to wear masks on public streets, and she certainly doesn’t have the power to tell private businesses that they have to make sure people wear them in their shops – and that the business people must post government-mandated signs telling potential customers of that command.
Because far too many Americans falsely believe that businesses are “public places” it is important to repeatedly stress that a private business is private property. The notion that such private property owners can be told how to use their property is a form of enslavement. It is predicated on a faulty 1946 Supreme Court ruling in a case called “Marsh v. Alabama” in which the court majority ruled that a private campus built by a private company could not control that land as private property.
And Bowser’s action is, by definition, fascism, the in-name-only ownership of a business that is TOLD by agents of the state how to run.
Those who don’t comply with her orders will be fined $1,000 per infraction, and they could face jail time.
And Binion notes that Bowser isn’t alone in her mother-hen mandate.
Bowser isn't the only mayor to use cops for a mask mandate. Police in Miami have reportedly set up ‘mask traps,’ issuing $100 tickets to those who violate the area's mandatory order. ‘One woman, Johanna Gianni, says she removed her mask in the parking lot of a Publix grocery store in North Miami Beach, when a police officer approached her and wrote her a ticket for not wearing a mask,’ writes Christian Britschgi. ‘Gianni told the Herald the parking lot was nearly empty and that she felt set up by police.’
Ahh, yes. It’s not as if police might not have anything else to do than shake down innocent people in Miami and DC.
It’s not as if the 2019 homicide rate in DC was the highest in ten years. It’s the unproven masks that should take up police time, especially in shops that are privately owned and in which all participants voluntarily enter.
And, finally, Binion offers the poetic insult of Bowser’s “order”:
Notably, it ‘shall not apply to any employees of the federal government while they are on duty.’ Police are similarly not required to wear them while out on patrol.
Of course not.
As has been shown time and time again, political rules are for thee, and not for their tax-paid squad. They can send out armed agents to infect you, even as they threaten you for not behaving as the government commands, for not playing along with their theatre of “flattening the curve.”
Perhaps the behavior of the politicians is more dangerous than choosing to go mask-free…