With the holiday season underway, executive orders that put government interests and revenues above the basic principle of equality under the law are putting a damper on the holiday spirit. The most recent intrusion in my own backyard is an executive order from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf arbitrarily banning the sale of alcohol in bars and restaurants from 5 p.m. Wednesday to 8 a.m. Thanksgiving Day. Wolf says these measures are intended to mitigate an increased risk of exposure to Covid-19. I guess it’s simply coincidental, then, that it helps his bottom line by helping state-run liquor stores, whose hours remained unchanged.
This is just another example of a government official interfering with the free exercise of commerce and overstepping their authority in our daily lives. Unfortunately, the problem is growing nationwide.
It’s been said that a power-hungry politician should “never let a good crisis go to waste,” and COVID is turning into a perfect example. We have no viable solution to contain the spread of the virus, so Pennsylvania’s governor, just like his counterparts in Michigan and Washington states, has conveniently stepped in to increase his own power at the expense of American freedoms.
This seems likely to continue under a Biden Administration which has publicly supported growing government power. One of Biden’s most recent proposals is the creation of a new bureaucratic position: a “Supply Commander” who would “take command of the national supply chain for essential equipment, medications, and protective gear.” Sound familiar? It’s an old move from the Soviet Union’s playbook: It’s like the “Gosplan,” or central committee, that tried to supervise and organize the USSR’s planned economy to disastrous ends.
The double standard makes all of this worse. California Governor Gavin Newsom unilaterally banned Thanksgiving dinners that would gather three or more families, but participated himself in a lavish birthday party at an upscale Napa Valley restaurant with more than 50 people. Similarly, Nancy Pelosi arranged for a fancy dinner in the halls of congress to welcome new members at the taxpayer’s expense while publicly encouraging lockdowns for the American people. Now state-run liquor stores in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will continue to generate revenue while restaurant owners struggle to make ends meet.
George Orwell’s famous novel Animal Farm points out how obviously wrong it is for political elites to create and enforce laws that apply unequally to themselves and to the people. “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others,” reads the infamous rule. Today, we ordinary Americans are the animals looking into the farmhouse, wondering at the pigs walking on their hind legs as our communities suffer.
If it’s so obviously wrong, then why aren’t more people up in arms?
The answer is simple: We are suffering from a national delusion that such intrusions on our rights couldn’t possibly happen in our beloved country; that Americans’ love of freedom and our respect for the checks and balances that preserve our republic actually prevent undue intrusions on citizens’ privacy, autonomy, and freedom.
It’s time for Americans to wake up. Those infringements are happening here and now. We’ve let the bureaucratic state run away with the country, we’ve left politicians work unchecked in our state houses and in Washington DC, and now we’re paying the price.
Foundational to our identity as a country is our preference for dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery. This is something that we should fight for now.
From liquor sales, to family gatherings, to repairing the damaged economic engine of the United States, we would be better off with less interference from bureaucrats and their double standards. Let’s not forget, these people are supposed to be working for us.
Despite Covid and the despots, there’s still a lot to be thankful for at this time of year: Family, friends, good food, and an end to 2020; but for the holidays to be truly happy, the double standard for political elitists has got to go.