Gov. Roy Cooper had spent all week building up anticipation for his upcoming new order. Owners and employees of bars, gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, martial arts studios, and a whole host of other still-closed businesses were especially anxious, given that their businesses were supposed to have been allowed to reopen last month. They had been callously pushed off to “Phase 3” of reopening, barely hanging on.

The other question around the order was if Cooper would mandate everyone in the state to wear face masks. Such an order would be extremely problematic in terms of its constitutionality, its enforceability, and its practical effectiveness.

I admit I expected the order to be bad. Cooper was following a familiar pattern of using media to prepare the proles for good news before hitting them with bad:

He did that when he declared he was not reopening the state as planned on April 29, and instead announcing a three-phased reopening. Media dutifully fell in line. Afterwards, Cooper set about not even meeting those timelines.

The main questions facing Cooper yesterday, therefore, were:

  • Do I let businesses to open back up, or force them to stay closed?
  • Do I recommend people wear masks, or force them?

Above is Cooper’s decision matrix of four possible options. There’s one square that is a clear winner for freedom and self-determination in a state that boasts of being “First In Freedom.”

And there’s one square that’s an obvious terrible choice, because it subverts the stated rationale for a decision on masks and offers nothing but submission to the autocrat.

Guess which one Cooper decided to impose on people — until July 17 at the earliest?