Early Americans criticized their king’s rule with the memorable slogan “no taxation without representation” and decried His Majesty’s efforts to suspend their legislatures, altering fundamentally the forms of their government by imposing an arbitrary power structure instead.
Today, His Excellency Gov. Chris Sununu has effectively become the Legislature through his declared “State of Emergency” by passing more than 50 detailed “Emergency Orders” that arbitrarily dictate how businesses, religious institutions, and other public activity ought to operate, down to the most minute detail. His “stay-at-home” order may have been lifted in the middle of last month, but his new top-down rules for not staying at home have the effect of creating an even more unlivable reality. How’s that for legislation without representation?
The Declaration of Independence that our Founders wrote to separate the United States of America from Great Britain on July 4, 1776, contained the following complaint, titled “a fact” by writer Thomas Jefferson, which could have been written today as it pertains to Gov. Sununu leading up to Independence Day:
“He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation.”
With the stamp of approval and false authority of Gov. Sununu, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan, the governors of our surrounding states, and Dr. Anthony Fauci and his ever-changing recommendations now help create our own “pretended legislation,” which is based on untested, unproven, and so-far mostly ineffective theories.
Even if the science was peer-reviewed and decidedly true, the governor does not have the constitutional authority to determine how we live our lives. That is a liberty that is reserved for the people, with the singular exception of those governing laws passed by our elected Legislature that abide by the many Constitutional restrictions on government power. That’s the representation that gives the government the authority to tax.
Now, some rather loud political busybodies and several “Karens” are out and about acting like Tories tattling on any business owner or citizen who happens to be ignoring the latest multitude of unlawful dictates: How dare you not allow a business owner to spray your hands with some unknown fluid when you want to go inside their building. You had better wear your mask or you are trying to doom us all. My goodness, let me grab my tape measure. You’re only five and a half feet apart from your spouse sitting at that bar. In Revolutionary times, people like this were tarred and feathered.
Life is not worth living with terror and tyranny governing it, and we are now dangerously close to passing that threshold. Our Founders said it this way:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. … That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”
We’re not quite there yet, and in fact, Gov. Sununu may have given us a way out, albeit with a bit of smugness. On June 3, during the governor’s press conference, WMUR’s Adam Sexton asked, “What about civil disobedience events?” Our governor replied: “That’s fine. It’s a one-time event. There’s a voice of assembly there, and we’ve always respected it throughout this entire process.”
Our voice of assembly is an everyday right, as is our right to engage in commerce, and our right to life, which involves buying food and other sustenance for our families without being ordered around. That’s the whole “liberty” part of the equation. That means no masks, no hand sanitizer, and no six-foot rule, if we so choose. By all means, if you want to wash your hands or wear a mask, be our guest, but keep your nanny-state snootiness to yourself. Happiness means different things to different people, and in America, that is OK so long as government stays out of the way.
As such, today ReopenNH proclaims a new Declaration of Independence that invites every free person in the State of New Hampshire to protest the governor’s unlawful orders by ignoring them flatly and turning any busybody away with emphasis. Put up a ReopenNH sticker in your business’s window with a note that says, “Be Advised: This business is engaging in an indefinite, one-time ReopenNH protest of the governor’s unlawful emergency orders. Enter at your own risk.” If some government official attempts to shut you down, peaceably throw them out. That’s how liberty works.
And I can assure you, if you’d care to advertise as a business how seriously you are taking your clients’ freedom this summer, especially surrounding Independence Day, the free market will do the rest.
Andrew J. Manuse is chairman of ReOpenNH.com, an organization devoted to getting New Hampshire back to work via a petition drive and coordinated demonstrations against arbitrary government power.