America is becoming a nation of tattletales

One of the disturbing aspects of our five-month-long descent into Wuhan virus madness is that Americans are becoming a nation of tattletales. Too many people are responding with alacrity when their local government tells them to report their fellow citizens for violating executive orders of dubious practical or legal merit.

We tend to think of tattletales in a negative light. In the schoolyard, being a tattletale is a social crime. Children instinctively feel that the tattler isn’t telling information to preserve the other children’s wellbeing. The tattling is, instead, one of the ways unlikable children ingratiate themselves with the adults in charge. At a more extreme level, totalitarian states deliberately create a climate of fear in which neighbors and even family members spy on each other to protect themselves. It is one of the vilest ways in which despots maintain power.

In Wuhan virus America, governing entities are telling people to tattle on each other for infractions connected with the endless shutdown. Importantly, it’s not clear that the orders sustaining the tattling are valid, undermining the justification for this despotic tactic.

First, the science about protecting against the Wuhan virus is unsettled, although the media pretend otherwise. There’s no fixed data about what constitutes a safe distance to limit the disease’s spread; there’s no certainty that masks help (e.g., both Holland and Denmark assert that masks are dangerous); and the battle over hydroxychloroquine has become so politicized that it’s impossible to tell whether or not it’s an easy fix for the disease. Governments that should have some humility are turning themselves into East Germany’s malevolent and intrusive Stasi.

Second, it’s questionable whether these executive orders are legitimate. Both our federal and local governments are representative democracies, not dictatorships. This means that the people’s elected officials enact the laws that control our lives. We give our executives authority to issue rules to implement those laws, but that’s a limited authority.

However, we also recognize that, in times of emergency, legislative bodies are too slow to react. In those cases, it also makes sense to allow the executives to issue orders on the fly.

It’s that last power – the power to issue orders on the fly -- that state and local governments have been seizing. Keep in mind, though, that those executives issuing an endless stream of draconian emergency orders are the same ones relying on scientists who say the outbreak could last up to a year and a half!

In other words, we’re not looking at an emergency; we’re looking at a new world order. That being the case, shouldn’t it be up to elected representatives to set the new rules? I’m sure no one in America elected Governors Cuomo, Whitmer, Newsom, Walz (or any of the other political figures issuing ukases left and right, complete with severe consequences) to have permanent control over the most minute matters in our lives.

It’s these same petty dictators who are urging citizens to squeal on each other so that the malfeasors thus tagged can be punished. For example, in Maryland, there’s now a statewide hotline so that citizens can rat each other out:

Maryland has opened a statewide hotline to report potential violations of executive orders meant to stem the spread of COVID-19, contrasting Gov. Larry Hogan’s previous statements urging local jurisdictions to take more control over enforcing the orders.

In a release, the state said the toll-free “COVID Prevention Line” is a joint effort between Maryland’s Emergency Management Agency, Department of Health and State Police to respond to concerns residents may have about people not exercising proper social distancing or otherwise not taking necessary precautions in light of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, there's already a hugely successful tattletale hotline in Marin County, a place in which almost 80% of the voters wanted Hillary:

Basketball players, without masks, who bumped up against each other during a game. Construction workers sitting within a foot of each other during a lunch break. A restaurant cook wearing his mask below his nose while he worked.

Marin residents sent county officials more than 250 complaints about people violating public health rules over the course of two weeks in July, according to documents obtained by the Independent Journal through a public records request.

The written complaints were sent to an email account that county officials set up last month to solicit tips about people breaking rules aimed at stemming the spread of the coronavirus.

As FrontPage Magazine states on its homepage, in a quotation from David Horowitz, “Inside every progressive is a totalitarian screaming to get out.”

We were not meant to be a nation of totalitarians joyfully responding to a state’s Stasi like demands for information in the face of an “emergency” that’s entering into its sixth month, that is nowhere as terrible as first thought, and that is at the center of a wild swirl of confusing, and often contradicting information. We’d better recover our decent American mojo fast or we are lost.

Image: I want to tell you a secret, by F Delventhal at Flickr; CC BY 2.0

One of the disturbing aspects of our five-month-long descent into Wuhan virus madness is that Americans are becoming a nation of tattletales. Too many people are responding with alacrity when their local government tells them to report their fellow citizens for violating executive orders of dubious practical or legal merit.

We tend to think of tattletales in a negative light. In the schoolyard, being a tattletale is a social crime. Children instinctively feel that the tattler isn’t telling information to preserve the other children’s wellbeing. The tattling is, instead, one of the ways unlikable children ingratiate themselves with the adults in charge. At a more extreme level, totalitarian states deliberately create a climate of fear in which neighbors and even family members spy on each other to protect themselves. It is one of the vilest ways in which despots maintain power.

In Wuhan virus America, governing entities are telling people to tattle on each other for infractions connected with the endless shutdown. Importantly, it’s not clear that the orders sustaining the tattling are valid, undermining the justification for this despotic tactic.

First, the science about protecting against the Wuhan virus is unsettled, although the media pretend otherwise. There’s no fixed data about what constitutes a safe distance to limit the disease’s spread; there’s no certainty that masks help (e.g., both Holland and Denmark assert that masks are dangerous); and the battle over hydroxychloroquine has become so politicized that it’s impossible to tell whether or not it’s an easy fix for the disease. Governments that should have some humility are turning themselves into East Germany’s malevolent and intrusive Stasi.

Second, it’s questionable whether these executive orders are legitimate. Both our federal and local governments are representative democracies, not dictatorships. This means that the people’s elected officials enact the laws that control our lives. We give our executives authority to issue rules to implement those laws, but that’s a limited authority.

However, we also recognize that, in times of emergency, legislative bodies are too slow to react. In those cases, it also makes sense to allow the executives to issue orders on the fly.

It’s that last power – the power to issue orders on the fly -- that state and local governments have been seizing. Keep in mind, though, that those executives issuing an endless stream of draconian emergency orders are the same ones relying on scientists who say the outbreak could last up to a year and a half!

In other words, we’re not looking at an emergency; we’re looking at a new world order. That being the case, shouldn’t it be up to elected representatives to set the new rules? I’m sure no one in America elected Governors Cuomo, Whitmer, Newsom, Walz (or any of the other political figures issuing ukases left and right, complete with severe consequences) to have permanent control over the most minute matters in our lives.

It’s these same petty dictators who are urging citizens to squeal on each other so that the malfeasors thus tagged can be punished. For example, in Maryland, there’s now a statewide hotline so that citizens can rat each other out:

Maryland has opened a statewide hotline to report potential violations of executive orders meant to stem the spread of COVID-19, contrasting Gov. Larry Hogan’s previous statements urging local jurisdictions to take more control over enforcing the orders.

In a release, the state said the toll-free “COVID Prevention Line” is a joint effort between Maryland’s Emergency Management Agency, Department of Health and State Police to respond to concerns residents may have about people not exercising proper social distancing or otherwise not taking necessary precautions in light of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, there's already a hugely successful tattletale hotline in Marin County, a place in which almost 80% of the voters wanted Hillary:

Basketball players, without masks, who bumped up against each other during a game. Construction workers sitting within a foot of each other during a lunch break. A restaurant cook wearing his mask below his nose while he worked.

Marin residents sent county officials more than 250 complaints about people violating public health rules over the course of two weeks in July, according to documents obtained by the Independent Journal through a public records request.

The written complaints were sent to an email account that county officials set up last month to solicit tips about people breaking rules aimed at stemming the spread of the coronavirus.

As FrontPage Magazine states on its homepage, in a quotation from David Horowitz, “Inside every progressive is a totalitarian screaming to get out.”

We were not meant to be a nation of totalitarians joyfully responding to a state’s Stasi like demands for information in the face of an “emergency” that’s entering into its sixth month, that is nowhere as terrible as first thought, and that is at the center of a wild swirl of confusing, and often contradicting information. We’d better recover our decent American mojo fast or we are lost.

Image: I want to tell you a secret, by F Delventhal at Flickr; CC BY 2.0