But ambitious governors emboldened by your failure to push back against “lockdowns” and “mask-mandates” are taking the next logical step through the opening you have given them.
C19 “LOCKDOWNS” AND MASK-MANDATES BY STATE GOVERNORS are all illegal, as I have shown with sample analyses of eight state constitutions which all expressly prohibit the “executive orders” by which the offenses are committed. However, so far no one– not a single business owner, nor a single legislator in any of these states or any other– has had the balls to defy the illegal orders and tell any of these criminal governors to shut up and stand down.
The reason would appear to be that claiming a big- and dire-sounding threat like a “public health crisis” as the hob-goblin grounds for the illegal government behavior, and portraying it as universally-recognized as a deadly peril by all the right people, muddies the water in many peoples’ eyes. That packaging makes insistence on a close look at the details, and being slow to quaff the Kool-Aid, seem practically unpatriotic.
It then becomes difficult for such people to reject assertions of authority, however black and white the law. They think, “Well, somebody’s got to do SOMETHING! Don’t you know there’s a virus goin’ ’round?!!”
Defending against precisely this sort of panic-induced, easily-exploited passion of the mob is what was spoken of by James Madison when he said,
“It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of Citizens and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The free men of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle. We revere this lesson too much soon to forget it.”
Unfortunately, modern Americans have forgotten this wisdom, and so…
THE NEXT STEP FOR THESE WEAK-MINDED FOLK is to head for the mental “off” switch and begin mumbling nonsense like, “After all, the Constitution’s not a suicide pact…” The “reasoning” is that the only answer to the crisis du jour is despotic action by the state, and therefore such action is ok.
It never occurs to these people, and wouldn’t slow them down anyway, to reflect on the fact that it is only by virtue of the Constitution involved that “the state” can claim authority to do anything. Upon stepping outside the state Constitution’s limits, a governor is not governor of anything, and has no more authority to mandate masks or shut down businesses than does your Uncle Jim.
Nor would such folks ever imagine that a crisis could be addressed by anything other than the state (something about which those doing nothing on any of several fronts concerning offenses by the state, and who are instead biding their time until another revolution erupts, might reflect). These folks are captive supporters of every “crisis management” edict.
They can even be made to denounce and harbor actual anger for anyone who doesn’t drink the Kool-Aid with them and meekly obey the edicts as well. Such deniers are (so they are made to believe) endangering everyone by refusing to wave the mask and dress their lines to six-foot intervals.
This last bit of shepherding is right out of the Nazi playbook, as articulated by Hermann Goering:
“Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
Substitute “maskless” for “peacemakers” (and maybe “spreading the virus” for “lack of patriotism”) and you’ve got it.
WITH ALL THE FOREGOING TRACK RECORD IN MIND, it is to no reasonable surprise that those aggregating power and money through the exploitation of the foggy “public health” hob-goblin are eager to find new opportunities for more of the same. The latest of these is the pronouncement by Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer that “racism” is a “public health crisis”.
Whitmer has learned that sheer brass will be endlessly rewarded while those being ruined and disenfranchised by her power-grabs are paralyzed by confusion and intimidated by the Nazi-esque tactics deployed against them. She sees herself as having a “unipolar moment”, and is sufficiently contemptuous of the rule of law as to milk that moment for all its worth.
As noted, even the Republicans who control both houses of the legislature in Michigan can’t manage to stagger to their feet and point out that Whitmer has no actual “emergency powers”– indeed, is prohibited from such powers by the state Constitution.
Hence, Whitmer seeks to keep the pot boiling and her opponents and victims thereby neutralized, while cementing into place pet political positions that couldn’t possibly make the cut honestly, in a proper contest of ideas, and which really are just panders to the kind of burn-down-the-world supporters on which she and her party rely these days.
OTHER ROGUE GOVERNORS can be expected to follow Whitmer’s lead for as long as the alleged grown-ups in the room persist in their contemptible fits of natal regression. Indeed, Iowa’s governor Kim Reynolds has already upped the ante on this game.
Last week Reynolds issued an “executive order” that convicted felons shall be allowed to vote in November, in plain defiance of Iowa’s Constitution. That Constitution says, at Article II, Sec. 5: “A person adjudged mentally incompetent to vote or a person convicted of any infamous crime shall not be entitled to the privilege of an elector.”
Per Reynolds, “Nahhh!”
Reynolds claims that Article IV, Sec. 16 “grants the governor the power to restore the rights of citizenship that were forfeited by such a conviction”, and relies on this assertion as the basis for her “order”. But actually, Article IV, Sec. 16 says no such thing:
Section 16. The Governor shall have power to grant reprieves, commutations and pardons, after conviction, for all offences except treason and cases of impeachment, subject to such regulations as may be provided by law. Upon conviction for treason, he shall have power to suspend the execution of the sentence until the case shall be reported to the General Assembly at its next meeting, when the General Assembly shall either grant a pardon, commute the sentence, direct the execution of the sentence, or grant a further reprieve. He shall have power to remit fines and forfeitures, under such regulations as may be prescribed by law; and shall report to the General Assembly, at its next meeting, each case of reprieve, commutation, or pardon granted, and the reasons therefor; and also all persons in whose favor remission of fines and forfeitures shall have been made, and the several amounts remitted.
While this language allows for gubernatorial “pardons”, it is clear from the very express prohibition on felon voting in Article II, Sec. 5 that relief from that particular consequence of conviction cannot be an effect of such a pardon. Reynolds herself has implicitly admitted this, having lobbied for the last several years for a Constitutional amendment to undo the prohibition.
Though it is common to imagine “pardon” to mean the absolute erasure of a conviction and all its consequences, this is not true as a matter of law. Black’s Dictionary of Law, 7th ed., puts it this way:
pardon, n. The act or an instance of officially nullifying punishment or other legal consequences of a crime. • A pardon is usu. granted by the chief executive of a government. — Also termed executive pardon. — pardon, vb. See CLEMENCY. Cf. COMMUTATION (2); REPRIEVE.
absolute pardon. A pardon that releases the wrongdoer from punishment and restores the offender’s civil rights without qualification. — Also termed full pardon; unconditional pardon.
conditional pardon. A pardon that does not become effective until the wrongdoer satisfies a prerequisite or that will be revoked upon the occurrence of some specified act.
general pardon. See AMNESTY.
partial pardon. A pardon that exonerates the offender from some but not all of the punishment or legal consequences of a crime.
Since Article IV, Sec. 16 of Iowa’s Constitution in which the pardon authority is granted does NOT specify that such authorized pardons are “absolute”, “full” or “unconditional”, and Article II, Sec. 5 says felons cannot have the franchise restored, it is clear that Iowa’s Governor is Constitutionally-prohibited from fully restoring a convicted felon’s civil rights, no matter what Reynolds and the Iowa legislature might wish.
It is also clear from the historical record that the prohibition on felon voting is very much solidly the will of the People. Article II, Sec. 5, in Iowa’s Constitution from the beginning, was amended, twice, within the last 20 years (making changes in the language, such as to replace “idiots and the insane persons” with “a person adjudged mentally incompetent”). But the People’s prohibition on the franchise for “persons convicted of any infamous crime” has been preserved.
I personally oppose conviction-limitations on the franchise. Often those hampered by such limitations are the very folks sensible people would most want to be exercising the franchise. Let’s remember, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Samuel Adams and other outstanding and indispensable architects of our liberty-grounded America were all felons in the eyes of the government of their time. Indeed, Jesus was a felon, in the eyes of the government of the day.
But Iowa’s Constitution says such folks “shall not be entitled to the privilege of an elector”. In Iowa, that’s the law.
THE SAD FACT IS, politicians– unlike rare-as-hen’s-teeth statesmen– loathe and fear Constitutions. If politicians could have their way, there would be no Constitutions. Instead, there would only be laws passed by the politicians themselves.
Politicians feel that way because Constitutions are the law laid upon THEM, by WE, the People. These folks don’t WANT any laws laid upon them by others.
Likely to be sociopaths to a far greater degree than the general run of the population, politicians view Constitutions the way petulant and spoiled children view parental commands– as best evaded or misinterpreted whenever such things can be gotten away with. But just as undisciplined children can burn down the house, so politicians left undisciplined by the People’s law can wreak havoc and bring great evil down on entire societies.
It was not idly that Thomas Jefferson thundered,
“[L]et no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
BUT I’VE LET MYSELF GET CARRIED AWAY on the more general when this column is meant to focus on the more particular. Let me return to the ridiculous notion that “racism” is a “public health crisis”– by which Gretchen Whitmer (to be followed soon by her counterparts) seeks to equip herself with another pretext for dictatorial power grabs.
It is a dangerous absurdity to propose that an attitude can be a “public health” matter of any kind– or indeed, can be a “public” matter at all. It is, in fact, not merely akin to the “Red Scare” arguments of the 1950s, but is exactly those pernicious, First Amendment-violating arguments, by which Americans’ interest in the ideas of communism was declared to be a threat to the country’s safety.
That proposition was wrong in the 1950s, and it is wrong now, just as would be the Chinese government’s treatment of respect and advocacy for individual liberty as a “public health crisis”.
Racism is a vile and shameful reflection of ignorance, ill-breeding, low self-esteem and difficulty with rational thought. Expressions of that particular mental defect which extend outside the inviolable sanctuary of the mind and heart– such as assault– are crimes, exactly as are assaults committed out of anger, envy, lust, avarice, sloth, and so on.
But just as “anger” is not a “public health crisis”, neither is racism.
WHITMER HAS ATTEMPTED TO SUGGEST that racism can be characterized as a “public health crisis” because according to the current C19-panic-scam narrative, the virus has taken a disproportionate toll on blacks. This, goes the subtext, is an expression of racism– as in, blacks get less quality care in hospitals, because apparently some number of the “heroes” elsewhere celebrated under the same narrative are vicious racists.
Additional, more palatable and more overtly articulated arguments in the same vein are that blacks are disproportionately victims of comorbidities rendering them more vulnerable to dire outcomes from illness, with the higher comorbidity prevalence being caused by lower status on the “affluence ladder”– due, goes the argument, to racism. (As a side note, the plain and, to the narrative managers, unwelcome implication that it’s the comorbidities that are really taking the toll, not C19, and the corresponding C19 death-count should be discounted accordingly is coyly left unremarked.)
But all these arguments really amount to is a revisit to the “war on poverty”, which we have been waging at enormous expense for 56 years– a fact which underscores Whitmer’s “public health crisis” nonsense as the pure, venal opportunism it really is.
HERE’S THE BOTTOM LINE (or, at least, my end-point to this long observation): As long as the American people are going to stand down and allow demagogues and sociopaths like Gretchen Whitmer to have their way, rather than be bound down by the chains of the Constitution, such demagogues and sociopaths will poison the landscape in ever wider swaths.
The people of Michigan need to stand up like soldiers for liberty and the rule of law. They need to realize that they don’t have to wait on anyone else to read and understand Michigan’s Constitution for them before recognizing that Whitmer is in violation of that fundamental law with every “executive order” threatening anyone outside the executive branch of Michigan government with anything (all as concisely laid out here).
In issuing such orders, Whitmer is bereft of any authority of office. An unconstitutional order has no more authority behind it than the bark of a junk-yard dog.
The General rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of it’s enactment and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it. An unconstitutional law, in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been passed. Such a statute leaves the question that it purports to settle just as it would be had the statute not been enacted.
No repeal of an enactment is necessary, since an unconstitutional law is void. The general principles follow that it imposes no duties, confers no rights, creates no office, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection, and justifies no acts performed under it.
16 Am Jur 2d, Sec 256
The same is true of Kim Reynolds’ orders, and those of Greg Abbott in Texas, and every other governor who has issued orders as their state’s Constitution says they may not (seven examples of which, in addition to Michigan’s, can be found here).
In short, YOU’VE GOT TO STAND UP, PEOPLE!!
Here’s a thought: Download your state’s “Lockdown Liberty Key” (again, available here, for those of you in Michigan, Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia, Wyoming, Texas, Louisiana and Wisconsin). Print a few hundred copies. Or a few thousand.
Pin them up on every grocery store bulletin board. Put them under windshield wipers in parking lots. Hand them out in front of restaurants and bars and anything else your local dictators have deigned to allow to remain in business.
Hand them out at every political gathering. Post the .pdf links everywhere you can throughout cyberspace with an insistent message that they need to be read, and why.
As hyperbolic as it sounds, there is a coup underway. It is not necessary to explain or even consider the end desired by those responsible– the acts already taken are themselves fully sufficient to qualify for that label.
Like pregnancy, there’s no such thing as nearly despotic. One step across the Rubicon is the whole crime, and look about you! Many more steps than one have been taken, and as Gretchen Whitmer’s latest experiment on our liberties makes clear, these criminals aren’t even close to stopping, and won’t ever be until YOU STOP THEM.
Hendrickson out (mic drop).
“It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the Government from falling into error.”
-United States Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson
All governments are run by liars and nothing they say should be believed.”
-I. F. Stone