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Gov. Little should have ‘let the people go’

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Bryan Smith

While Gov. Little was out of state, Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, acting as governor in Little’s absence, signed an executive order that prevented cities, local school boards and other local government authorities from mandating masks. Upon his return, Little immediately rescinded McGeachin’s executive order. Now local governments can once again mandate masks.

Little called McGeachin’s actions an “irresponsible, self-serving political stunt” and “an abuse of power,” adding, “This kind of over-the-top executive action amounts to tyranny — something we all oppose.” Little said, “the significant consequences of the Lt. Governor’s flimsy executive order require me to clean up a mess.”

I think I’ve read about this kind of thing before. About 3,400 years ago, there was a guy named Moses who was the executive champion of his constituents who really wanted their civil rights restored. But there was another guy named “Pharaoh,” who was the chief executive government official, and who was not the least bit interested in hearing Moses’ pleas on behalf of his “deplorables.” Pharaoh thought he knew best for Moses’ people although they begged to differ. Moses’ people thought they could best decide for themselves.

Moses talked to Pharaoh a lot trying to convince him to let Moses’ people live their lives without government oppression. One day, Moses was so frustrated with Pharaoh’s obstinance, Moses proclaimed to Pharaoh, “let my people go,” but Pharaoh was having none of it. Moses was patient, and when the opportunity presented itself, Moses restored his people’s civil rights. When Pharaoh figured out that Moses had outmaneuvered him and freed the people, Pharaoh threw a fit and did what he could to reverse their freedom. It’s kind of a long story, but eventually, it didn’t work out well for Pharaoh.

News reports at the time say Pharaoh in a fit of rage called Moses’ actions an “irresponsible, self-serving political stunt” and “an abuse of power,” adding, “This kind of over-the-top executive action amounts to tyranny—something we all oppose.” Pharaoh also muttered something about having to “clean up a mess” Moses created.

Just as I’ve never understood how Pharaoh could be mad at Moses for wanting his people to be free, I just cannot understand how Little can claim freeing people from government mask mandates is “over the top tyranny.” Little’s argument makes sense only if McGeachin had issued an executive order forcing people to wear masks. But how does Little equate restraining government with tyranny?

Little said something else I just don’t get. Little said McGeachin’s executive order “runs contrary to a basic conservative principle — the government closest to the people governs best.” But no decisionmaker is closer to the people than the people themselves. And when it comes to personal health decisions like wearing a mask, I ask why government needs to be involved at all. The truth is that each person will make a better choice about his health than any bureaucrat regardless of whether that bureaucrat makes the choice at a local, state or national level.

The fact is that Little offers a false premise that local government can govern personal health choices better than individuals making decisions for themselves. If Little wanted to be true to conservative principles, he would have trusted the people to choose for themselves. He would have “let the people go.”

Bryan Smith is the fourth vice chair of the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee.    

About Bryan Smith

5 comments

  1. “The truth is that each person will make a better choice about his health than any bureaucrat regardless of whether that bureaucrat makes the choice at a local, state or national level.”

    Really? Is that why Idaho has the lowest vaccination levels in the nation, a 30% obesity rate, and 2,500 (per 100k) rate of preventable hospital admissions? It’s appalling that Mr. Smith is given a place of power when he can’t even be bothered to look up the basic facts.

  2. The funny part about Gov. Little is his hypocrisy. He banned healthcare providers from using medication outside the labeled use as an Executive Order.

    My father-in-law died as a direct result. No access to hydroxychloroquine… and yet his doctors said this would have saved him!

    Fast forward 9 months to today… and studies are showing a 200% higher survivability rate for patients who had access to this medication.

    Gov. Little needs to be tried as a criminal and as a murderer. His policy, which by his own words in this situation he had no business issuing, killed how many Idahoans during COVID-19?

  3. What an embarrassing piece of commentary. How dare you compare people who were persecuted and forced into exile to a city requiring masks in PUBLIC places. Masks that have proven effectiveness against transmission of a virus that causes severe illness and death. Also, the people who live in cities with mask mandates elected the officials who enacted them. That is how democracy works, that is how we as individuals make our voices heard. If people in those cities aren’t happy about those policies, well then presumably there will be a new representative in the next election cycle.

  4. By “trusting people to make the best decisions for themselves” and “that each person will make a better choice about his (or her, I see you only speak to men) health than any bureaucrat”, I am assuming that you are pro choice. I hope your fight for less government involvement in very personal and private choices doesn’t pick and choose. That would make you a hypocrite and Moses wouldn’t like that.

  5. I think you are confused. The state of Idaho never had a mask mandate. Perhaps you are misinformed or not telling the truth.

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