The situation in Shanghai, coupled with the news that Philadelphia is going to start a new indoor mask mandate, caused me to realize something, something I decided to share with you in today’s blog post.
I’m not going to unpack my thoughts on everything going on in Shanghai, although I have many thoughts about that. Here’re my thoughts summarized: I’m horrified.
So, with that said, after reading and watching stories about Shanghai, I saw a news report pop up about Philadelphia starting their new indoor mask mandate in about a week. The story hit me differently after all I’d been consuming about Shanghai and after all I’ve been studying about the police, law enforcement and the implementation of law in the U.S.
Ok, I take it back. There are a few relevant thoughts about Shanghai that I’m going to share. When reading the stories and watching the videos, the thing that struck me the most was this: who on earth are these individuals with the white hazmat suits on, tracking people, tackling people, and closing people in their houses and apartments? Who are they?! And why are they ok doing what they’re doing?
Which caused me to immediately think about all that I’ve been discussing on here lately regarding the mindset of our law enforcement. Friends, this stuff is real. NOTHING like what’s happening in Shanghai would be happening without the joyful complicity of those doing the grunt-work. Sure, the twenty-five or so million individuals in Shanghai who are just doing what they’re told could reverse this situation easily. They have the numbers, but their mindset, in conjunction with the mindset of whoever fills those white suits are the necessary ingredients for an effective tyranny.
Which leads me to my realization regarding Philadelphia… really my realization about all of America.
Depending on the state, most municipalities and counties have the powers they have because the state government has specifically enumerated to them those powers per some statute. Some states may give broad enumerations of powers that allow local governments more discretion about which specific policies to pass while other states require local governments to make policies exactly according to the enumerated powers in the state statute. Either way, local governments have power because the state government and the state Constitutions gave them those powers. In other words, their powers are not arbitrary.
This means the powers local government have over issues like mask mandates, vaccine mandates and healthcare are either arbitrary (and should be stopped by the state governments) or they come directly from the state government. I don’t know every state’s Constitution, or all the statutes of each state regarding issues of healthcare, so I’m not going to commentate on the Constitutionality, per se, of mandates like that new one in Philadelphia or the ones we’ve had for the past two years, I just want to commentate on the strangeness of the enforcement of these local mandates.
In this country, enforcement of law is primarily left to government agencies and law enforcement. There are the obvious laws that prevent murder or theft, and then there are the less obvious ones like, builders must abide by some building codes in order to pass inspections done by state or federal agencies. Both of these are a form of law or rules but one is enforced by the police, while the other is enforced by what we’d probably call “red tape” agencies. The point being, enforcement is left to the government.
I’ll take this a step further. The Supreme Court ruled, decades ago, that state and local governments have the authority to require their citizens to be vaccinated because this was a policing power (this does not mean that that the Supreme Court ruled that every state Constitution imbued each state with such powers). This case meant that the state could require individuals to be vaccinated or pay a fine.
Key word here: individuals.
Ok, so what do you think struck me about this Philadelphia mask mandate news report? Especially given the context of everything I had on my mind when reading it?
The first thing to strike me when reading the report (which is interesting because this was happening the whole time for these past two years but this aspect didn’t hit me like it did last night) was simply this: enforcement.
Who is Philadelphia expecting to enforce their new indoor mask mandate? The police? Some federal or state agency?
They’re fully expecting and relying on private businesses to do the enforcement.
It’s the strange new proxy power. It’s not government mandating that individuals do something or else they’ll have to pay a penalty or fine. It’s the government forcibly requiring private businesses to forcibly require individuals to do something or the private business will be fined, shut down or suffer some other punishment.
It’s using the compliance of private businesses to force a public mandate.
What do the Philadelphia government think is going to happen on April 18th when this mask mandate starts up again? Are they going to send an army of heath care professionals or agents (like in China) to follow all citizens of Philadelphia around and make sure they are all wearing masks again?
No. They don’t have to do that because they know that on the 18th all the private businesses will require their workers to start following their customers around and forcing them to wear masks again.
That is how enforcement works in America right now and, for some reason, that realization is hitting me harder this time around than it ever has before.
The Liberty Belle