In almost all things, I try to view events or happenings of the day from base Principles. I guess it is the engineer in me combined with having watched, as a political blogger, too many politicians, and bureaucrats say and do say lots of words to get you to “oh, ok” WITHOUT necessarily allowing you to realize “ok…WHAT???”
As a software engineer and consultant, it was always “what is the root cause of this particular problem?” mindset that had to brush away all of the “chaff” that others were blithering about (especially those in higher up positions that had no idea what the problem was but I had to be semi-nice because they cut the check to pay my company. But only semi-nice).
So, Seamus Casey had put up a post about “Sununu to End Stay-At-Home Order June 15“.
Kevin opened up the discussion with
No one is staying at home now, except for a lack of places to go. He has to open the state.
And then Greg Moore (Executive Director of AFP/NH and I (mostly) were off to the races!
Greg Moore: Just curious – when you say “open the state,” what exactly do you mean? Not trying to provoke, I’m just trying to understand what you are saying needs to “open” for the state to be considered “open.”
Skip Murphy: I would say it should mean that business owners should “take back” their businesses from the current government control and go back to operating in a Free Market fashion.
To wit – THEY get to establish when their businesses open and how they are run instead of Governor Baby Huey doing so. This whole lockdown has been an exercise of condescending attitudes that we outside of the Government can’t fight our way out of wet paper bags.
Rather upsetting in a State whose motto is Live Free or Die.
Kevin: Greg Moore By “re-open the state”, I mean: revoke all executive orders that closed any business, any organization, any activity. The people who actually run those businesses, organizations, and activities, will do just fine at restricting participation if they deem it necessary, without central planning from the corner office.
Greg Moore: So, I agree about the lifting of restrictions, I’m just trying to understand what people mean by “reopen.” For what it’s worth, a lot of businesses have ASKED for restrictions/guidelines as a way of heading off lawsuits. (“We followed the states’ guidelines to a letter!”) This whole situation is a trial lawyer’s wet dream. Trying to figure out how to resolve that dilemma.
Skip Murphy: If those businesses are scared to open, then let those owners keep them closed – THEIR decision. At the present time, it has been Baby Huey’s decision to keep those businesses closed by fiat. Or, with the Royal wave of the hand, deign to allow those “owners” to open. Agreed that there will be lawyers and litigants that are looking for a quick payday. Well, isn’t that an artifact of Government trying to micromanage – and getting it wrong? Govt sets the rules – and this problem will further create winners/losers.
Greg Moore: Except if the businesses won’t open without some way of protecting themselves from liability, the net effect is pretty much the same, if not worse, for consumers.
Skip Murphy: So Govt screws up yet again but the rest of us need to bear the cost (literally)? So what is YOUR remedy, Greg?
Again, what we are seeing is the infantilizing of the American people. Imagine it – Americans going to Govt ON THEIR KNEES in “please, sire, may I reopen my business?” Our Founder must be spinning, at breakneck speeds, in their graves over what we have squandered.
“…our lives, our fortunes, our honor” – and we’re scared to pass by the portals of our homes.
What ever happened to that old American spirit of “Screw you – I don’t HAVE to ask permission – your job is not to ‘allow’ me anything – you need to protect my Rights so I can make my own decisions (and own the consequences myself)”.
When was that tipping point, Greg Moore? When was that turn to be more subservient to Govt like Europeans are?
Spoiler alert: never got an answer to that last question.
Greg Moore: Given the fact that we agree on the principles, my question is how do we actually get back to normal the fastest way possible.
Skip Murphy: That’s rather simple – Sununu should cancel his orders. Absolute rewind. Let people evaluate and make their OWN risk assessments and proceed from there.
It really IS that simple – decentralizing the decision making, we take on the responsibilities taken from us once again. Conservatives say that control should be at the lowest level possible – the most local of control is at the level of the Individual.
I dryly note that you did not answer my question: what is YOUR remedy, Greg?
Greg Moore: Skip Murphy To the liability question? I’ve always been a proponent of tort reform, but the odds of doing something with this, with this legislature, in a short legislative session, are next to nil.
So, how then do you convince businesses to open? I have no idea. Maybe use the remaining CARES Act funding for legal defense for business owners? But what incentives does that create?
Greg Moore: While we might be in violent agreement on principles, I suspect we may share different goals. My belief is that the goal should be to get New Hampshire back to normal as soon as possible. It doesn’t sound like that’s your goal, which, if I may paraphrase, sounds like, get rid of government restrictions as soon as possible. While these two goals are similar, they are not the same, which is my point.
Kevin: It’s not up to us to “convince businesses to open”. It’s up to us to let them make their own choices.
Skip Murphy Really? Are you positing that letting people make their own decisions, unfettered (to use one of the Left’s words du jour, normally as a smear) from Government interventions SHOULDN’T be “Normal”?
It used to be the “normal Normal” – why did we let this happen to ourselves? And if NOT letting people make their own decisions (of which I am in favor of but it seems you are reticent in allowing) not normal? So tell me, how is letting people make their decisions NOT normal? If govt is moved backed to its original decision (or further – I’m certainly in favor of that), how is that NOT normal?
Dropping all of the restrictions, both the “OK, early pandemic” and the irrational ones (Walmart fine, churches no) NO – how is that not “quickly”??? It can be as quickly as several strokes of Baby Huey’s Excellency’s pen.
I can’t even see how that is any different than some other notion that supports your notion of “quickly” unless you believe we all still need the “Guiding Hand of Govt” to get us out of this mess it made in the first place.
Kevin: It’s not the government’s job to protect my health. It’s the government’s job to protect my RIGHTS. It’s my job to protect my health. When you trade liberty for safety you end up losing both. Where did AMERICANS go ??
Greg Moore: We are in violent agreement on principles, yet you seem to want to re-litigate them. Feel free to continue, if you’d like. It’s your day to spend doing it. What I’m saying is what can government do to lift other regulations/barriers that will continue to impede getting back to normalcy. Because removing government restrictions and having businesses stay closed doesn’t really help anyone.
Sidenote: have to add in here. Greg is seriously and sadly missing the point. He’s focused on a non-root problem: business owners/managers refusing to open their businesses. While important, that’s a secondary problem. Sure, not having businesses open will stifle Individuals from purchasing goods and services in the immediate time frame. However, this is a status quo/snapshot analysis. That old saw “Capitalism will fill a void” hardly ever is wrong. No, not in the immediate but over time, it almost always holds true.
I found that startling from the Executive Director of an entity that advocates for Free Markets. A Free Market is two things at the same time: the freedom to compete AND the freedom to NOT compete. If someone decides, OR a bunch of folks decide, to not open their business, that is THEIR decision to make, not mine, not Greg’s, not Kevin’s, and not His Excellency’s.
It is, however, His Excellency’s fiat “guidelines’ (that he has stated that have the force of Law – following the Left’s redefinition of words, eh?) that shut things down. He can blither all he wants about “Flex Opening” but at that point, it’s not his call as already we see small business announcing that they will not be reopening their door.
His Excellency will never suffer the consequences of his own actions (e.g., did Waterville ski area go belly up)? Instead, others are paying the price. But I digress.
Skip Murphy: Ah, you assumed that my call for lifting restrictions only was for Individuals. Note that I never made that distinction. If a person owns (or manages) said business, then lifting the restrictions (in my version) ALSO includes that slice of their lives but it would also apply to ANY sized business and to their employees.
Thus, I was talking (and said) ALL restrictions.
And once started down that path, keep trimming back the choking vines and branches of both Legislation and regulations that have proven problematic during this time (and rightfully thrown into the dump fire) and keep ongoing.
We have discovered that much of the regulatory mess we are in has turned out to be counter-productive during this time, and if they are now, we should give them the heave-ho for all times. Much of it was just make-work and self-justification by both lawmakers and bureaucrats that needed to demonstrate “hey, we’re doing something!” in believing that the rest of us are too stupid to know better.
What they fail is to realize that Freedom is the attribute to make good decisions AND bad ones as well. Govt should not be in the business to stop/mitigate those bad decisions as they oft create moral hazards that confound future actions.
Oh, back to “root problem analysis”: yes, there was one time when I was flown across the country to fix a software problem that had disabled an entire factory (this was before the Internet; no way to virtually reach out and kick the offending problem). I literally fixed it in 10 minutes once the “glad you’re here” niceties and introductions were complete. See the problem, apply root problem analysis for a well-known system, apply the fix. I knew the system (heck, I had done all the customizations) but they had failed to tell me that they had tweaked something upstream that sent invalid data to everything else.
The C-level folks just stared at me to the effect of “we just spent all this money for 10 minutes of your time?”. Er, yes – I knew where to look. You COULD have fixed it yourselves if you had taken the time to go through and carefully observe, test, and fix but you didn’t. I have done what you wanted, have fixed the problem that shut you down, and now you need to pay me.
If only politicians and bureaucrats would understand that second and third-order problems arrive simply because they think “well, this is easy” when they make decisions that affect everyone else. It’s the “everyone else” that ends up paying the prices. Oh sure, sometimes a bureaucrat gets fired (generally because they are the guilty ones but they can be just the scapegoat as well) and a politician fails to get re-elected.
But neither of the two pay the real prices because they have no skin in the actual game. They may be moving the game pieces around via regulations and legislations, but they aren’t the first-order participants in the game itself.
In this case, Greg is asking for Govt to do even more after it has already done too much. Band-aiding the band-aid doesn’t get to the root problem – it only covers it up.