During the course of this recent Democratic Primary there were more than a dozen debates. With more than twenty candidates for the job, you would think that a lot of things would have been said, a lot of ideas were thrown around, and there was a wide range of nuance among their opinions.
You would be wrong.
Every candidate responding to every question in every debate, when boiled down to its most basic form, came out to the same thing. It went something like this:
Moderator: As President, would you mandate the American people to . . .
Generic Democratic Candidate #1: Yes.
Moderator: I didn’t get to finish asking the question.
Generic Democratic Candidate #1: I’m sorry. How silly of me. Go ahead and finish.
Moderator: That’s quite OK. So, as President, would you mandate . . .
Generic Democratic Candidate #1: Yes.
Generic Democratic Candidate #2: I would mandate it even more!
You see, during this primary season, liberal Democrats told the American people exactly who they were. They told America, “Yes, we really do think that we’re better than you.” And, as an extension of that, “Yes, we have the right to tell you how to live your life.”
These are what I like to call the first two rules of talking to liberals: they think they’re better than us and they think they have a right to tell us how to live our lives. Very rarely will they say these things outright. But they tell us through their actions. They tell us every time they have power and they pass laws expanding government authority at the expense of personal freedom. They tell us every time they raise taxes (I know how to spend this money better than you).
They told us this with the Affordable Care Act. Remember that? It was a 2,000-page monstrosity that told Americans two things: you must buy insurance and it has to be the type of insurance we approve of.
They told us earlier this week when Democrats killed the Police Reform Bill in the Senate. Why did they do that? Well, among other reasons it was because they wanted greater federal oversight of local police training and accountability.
Now, out on the campaign trail, Joe Biden is telling us again.
In a Thursday interview with KDKA, the CBS affiliate in Pittsburg, the former Vice-President said, “I would insist that everyone out in public be wearing a mask.” While most people leaning left have already embraced this, there is still a lot of debate among conservatives.
Speaking for myself, the libertarian in me comes out when I hear about government mandating such things. I think I’m perfectly capable of making this decision on my own, thank you very much. Beyond that, businesses have the right to mandate it of customers entering their stores. If the customer doesn’t like it, he can take his money elsewhere. This is what we call freedom. If you watched the Democrats the past few years this may be a foreign concept to you.
But, if we want to expand the scope beyond the individual level, we can say that mandating this ought to be the job of local and state governments. While that may be a difficult pill for some to swallow (including myself), it is certainly within the bounds of the Constitution. This is what we call federalism. If you watched the Democrats the past few years this may be a foreign concept to you.
Ultimately, though, the President mandating this for more than 320 million people living across a vast country in radically different areas is too much, even if it is generally a good idea. Yet this is exactly what Biden was asked and his answer was that he, as President would do this.
“From an executive standpoint, yes I would… I would do everything possible to make it required that people had to wear masks in public.”
I find it scary anytime a Presidential candidate says he would mandate anything. What I find even more scary, though, is the number of Americans who are readily embracing this idea. It is possible to think that wearing a mask is a good idea and at the same time respect your neighbor’s choices not to. But for many in America, that concept has fallen to the wayside.
I’m reminded of a quote from C.S. Lewis: “Of all the tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under the omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber barons cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
The rebuttal to this is simple, wearing a mask hardly counts as torment. Which is true. I hate wearing the masks because of a slight case of claustrophobia that I have. But I can endure it when need be.
But what precedent are we setting when we sit back and allow the government to mandate this? A pretty big one if you ask me.
If these moral busybodies take these small actions today with the approval of a slight majority of us, then tomorrow they will probably take bigger actions with the approval of a few less. And then the next day take the next step, then another, then another, then another.
Again, I hear the obvious rebuttal, “But Tom, you’re making the slippery slope logical fallacy. You should have learned about that in your first year of college.” Indeed, I did. But in this case, I would argue that this is not a logical fallacy. Rather, the scenario of escalation I just laid out is a prediction made about future behavior based on the observation of past behavior. In other words, this is the way these things generally go when it comes to liberals.
Would anyone in 1960 thought that the Democratic party would seriously consider a socialist as their party’s Presidential candidate? No. But after 60 years of baby steps, we came close. Would anyone in 1960 have thought that one day the Supreme Court would consider gender identity as a protected class? No. But after 60 years of baby steps, here we are.
So, when Joe Biden says, “I’m going to require everyone to wear face masks,” the idea a future Democrat running for President saying, “I’m going require all Americans to follow a prescribed eating plan” doesn’t sound so off the wall. All it will need is enough time and enough intervening baby steps to get us there.