Open your window, Governor
And Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and his administration wonder why so many Keystone State residents distrust him.
As the governor and his health secretary were arbitrarily and capriciously setting onerous operational standards for thousands of commonwealth businesses because of the coronavirus threat, Wolf, in secret, was cutting one whopper of a hypocritical side deal.
Behind closed doors. With no sunlight. Out of public view. With no public scrutiny. Until now.
All of us know all too well of restrictions on the size of public gatherings — though wholly inconsistent depending on the jurisdiction and, supposedly, in the name of beating the pandemic into submission.
And restaurateurs know the pain of the worst of a government edict that only allows them to operate at a farcical 25 percent of normal patron capacity.
Knowing such a limit makes any hope of profitable operations impossible, an estimated 160 Allegheny County restaurants have closed, permanently, according to one media report.
Now comes this revelation, in a Post-Gazette dispatch, about a giant annual “automotive flea market” in Carlisle:
“After arguing in court that holding an outdoor gathering that was expected to draw tens of thousands would ‘put the lives of Pennsylvanians at risk’ and threaten to reverse progress on the state’s mitigation of COVID-19, Pennsylvania officials gave the green light to a June car show in Carlisle — as long as organizers capped total capacity at 20,000 people on the fairgrounds at one time.”
As bad as that was, “The State,” the P-G learned, “agreed to a settlement that was under wraps and marked ‘confidential.’”
A public pandemic. A public event. The public’s business. “Confidential?”
Of course, as the newspaper also points out, “the state — as of the time of the June 19 settlement — was continuing to prohibit ‘any gathering for a planned or spontaneous event of greater than 250 individuals,’ which included ‘a concert, fair, festival, conference, sporting event, movie showing or theater performance.’”
And in Allegheny County, restaurants were being squeezed to extinction with operational limits based on no known science that they would help curb the spread of coronavirus.
Now, “The State” has, ex post facto, attempted to rationalize its secret deal. After all, it argues, “flea markets” are governed by a totally different set of guidelines.
Then why did “The State” initially go to court to shut down the Carlisle event?
Pennsylvania fast is approaching the point in which “The State” has little to no credibility.
Our Declaration of Independence reminds us that it is the “right” and the “duty” of a free people to “throw off” such governance and “to provide new guards for their future security.”
Few can reasonably deny that Pennsylvanians are near or already at that point. For free people will tolerate only so many times being told that their attempts to survive are “selfish” and that “government knows best.”
Far too many politicians, including Gov. Wolf, have stated, ad nauseum, that a failure to follow the government’s coronavirus-related edicts “will allow the virus to win.”
But that is exactly backwards.
We allow the virus to win by allowing government to destroy the economy and turning the people into nothing more than subservient and dependent sheeple.
As social essayist Albert Jay Nock reminded in his March 1939 column in “The American Mercury” magazine, “if you give the state power to do something for you, you give it an exact equivalent of power to do something to you.”
It’s past time for the Wolf administration to understand that government has no standing without the consent of the governed. And the governed, to paraphrase that old movie line, are opening their windows and shouting that they are mad as hell and just about not to take it anymore.
It’s time to open your window, Governor. It’s past time to listen to your bosses.
Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (firstname.lastname@example.org).