Across America over the last week large groups of people have been protesting. Many people have also crowded together rioting and looting, often with no police taking any action to stop the out-in-the-open assaults and theft. Meanwhile, in many of the same cities and towns across America businesses remain totally shut down or are legally allowed to operate only under new restrictions that make profitable functioning difficult to impossible, all in the name of countering coronavirus.
That is not fair. That is not just.
Sure, people have a right to protest. But, people also have a right to engage in commerce.
People do not have a right to physically attack individuals who are not endangering people or property. And people do hot have a right to steal. Yet, in many places across America, cops are just letting such happen.
In contrast, people do have the right to strike a bargain for mutual benefit — exchange money for goods or services at a business, for example. Yet, they fear to do so because of government mandates prohibiting such actions.
Governments mandating, in the name of countering coronavirus, that businesses shut down or operate under new restrictions has been an aberration since it started in March. Now, there is the additional blight that owners of businesses are continuing to suffer under these draconian mandates while other activities such as protests, rioting, and looting that could spread the coronavirus under the logic of the mandates are flourishing. Of course, businesses have also suffered directly from the thefts and physical destruction.
Take New York City for example. While New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is condoning people engaging in mass protests in favor of certain causes with which he agrees and while the looting of businesses and destroying of property has occurred with little effective counter-action from city police, the coronavirus crackdown on businesses continues strong.
Karol Markowics addresses the problem well in her June 2 New York Post editorial “If protesters can march, why can’t businesses open?” Early on in her editorial, Markowics describes the painful situation many New York City businesses find themselves in under the continuing government-mandated restraints on their operation. She writes:
New York City is still a full five days away from entering Phase 1. This will open up only some industries, like construction and manufacturing and retail on a pickup basis only.
Many business owners are wondering if they’ll have a business left to open when their turn finally comes.
Continuing, Markowics writes:
The protests have exposed the absurdity of the continued lockdowns. It’s either a public-health emergency and crowds must be stopped or it’s not. It cannot be both.
On Sunday, as protests continued in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, a video circulated online of a city sheriff just a few avenues away giving tickets to open stores on 13th Avenue in Brooklyn.
None of this makes any sense anymore. The jig is up, the lockdown is over, our elected officials just need to catch up.
Exactly. Governments across America should ditch the phased reopenings and the accompanying new regulations, including percentage occupancy caps and new surveillance programs called “contract tracing.” Instead, just let people buy and sell as they choose. End the mask mandates too, along with the group size limits, stay-at-home orders, and the rest of the kit and kaboodle of draconian restrictions placed on businesses and individuals in the name of countering coronavirus.
Politicians should leave their dystopian dreams of a “new normal” behind and immediately rescind the entire coronavirus crackdown so Americans can choose to return to their “old normal.” As Markowicz writes, “the jig is up.”