Some People’s Haircuts Are ‘Essential’

by | Apr 9, 2020


Politicians and the people charged with enforcing politicians’ directives really can be like the pigs in George Orwell’s book Animal Farm.

The pigs’ express commandment for governing became, over time, “all animals are equal but some animals are more equal to others.” The “more equal” animals were the pigs in charge for whom the rules they imposed on other animals did not necessarily apply.

For examples of this commandment in practice, we can consider haircuts during the government-mandated closing of “nonessential” businesses, including salons and barber shops, in the name of fighting coronavirus. No professional haircut is allowed for the regular person in many parts of America. But, for politicians and cops, the rules may not apply.

A photograph of a hair stylist with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot alerted people to the fact that the mayor had received a haircut from the stylist — something the state government is prohibiting for people in the sate. On top of that, Lightfoot had even publicly promoted the prohibition. Still, when confronted about the apparent hypocrisy, Lightfoot defended her haircut. Gregory Pratt reported Monday at the Chicago Tribune:

Asked about photos on social media showing her with a stylist, Lightfoot acknowledged getting a haircut, then said the public cares more about other issues.

A reporter asked the mayor about one of her “stay home, save lives” public service announcements where Lightfoot admonishes an off-screen person by saying, ‘Getting your roots done is not essential.’

Asked about that, a visibly annoyed Lightfoot said, ‘I’m the public face of this city. I’m on national media and I’m out in the public eye.’

‘I’m a person who, I take my personal hygiene very seriously. As I said, I felt like I needed to have a haircut,’ Lightfoot said. ‘I’m not able to do that myself, so I got a haircut. You want to talk more about that?’

Yeah, we get it: Some animals are more equal than others.

In at least one instance, the lower-level enforcers of government policy can also take part in the elitist haircuts exception to the coronavirus crackdown. Robby Soave wrote Thursday at Reason that, while the Florida state government has required barber shops across the state to be closed because they are “nonessential” businesses, Police Chief Sergio Velazquez in Hialeah, Florida, has “arranged for one barber to continue to cut cops’ hair.”

The police chief’s justification? It sounds much like the one offered by the mayor of Chicago. Soave quotes this explanation from Velazquez: “Particularly in these unprecedented times of a global health pandemic which has caused tension and anxiety and disruption in our community, it is imperative that our law enforcement Officers project an image of command and authority.”

So the argument is that it is OK for the law enforcers to break the law so they can “project an image of command and authority” while enforcing the law. Are you persuaded?


  • Adam Dick

    Adam worked from 2003 through 2013 as a legislative aide for Rep. Ron Paul. Previously, he was a member of the Wisconsin State Board of Elections, a co-manager of Ed Thompson's 2002 Wisconsin governor campaign, and a lawyer in New York and Connecticut.

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