by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
One of the unsettling trends to emerge from these lockdowns is the penchant for some public officials to encourage snitching on neighbors and businesses that don’t comply with social distancing rules or whatever edict a governor or mayor decides to promulgate on a given day.
This week it was Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, who, like many other governors across the country announced a partial reopening of his state as the spread of the coronavirus slows. But Polis wasn’t content simply to announce the new guidelines. He had to lecture Coloradans on their behavior and warn them he might yank the reopening if they don’t behave. …
… For one thing, Polis shouldn’t be obsessing over what safety measures business owners put in place—they’re not children, they can figure it out—he should be watching hospitalizations and COVID-19 fatalities. Remember that the entire purpose of lockdowns and social distancing wasn’t to stop the spread of the virus but to slow it down so hospitals wouldn’t be overwhelmed. …
… But Polis went one step further and said people should report businesses that aren’t doing what local public health officials and the Colorado attorney general say they should do. “We know that the people of Colorado will tell us if there’s a store that’s not implementing social distancing.”
This isn’t just infantilizing and un-American, it’s insulting to businesses that are trying to weather an unprecedented economic crisis, and it’s insulting to the tens of millions of American who have become unemployed thanks to government-enforced lockdowns.
Polis isn’t alone in his fondness for snitching. New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio … set up a 311 “snitch line” earlier this month so neighbors could inform on one another. It didn’t go well.
Amy Cooke tackled similar themes in a recent “The Right AOC on Point” video.