A short new report from the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity suggests that Rhode Island can take its current setback as an opportunity to plan for a better future.
Progressives’ dedication to narrative over facts ensures that we’ll keep seeing incidents transformed into social turmoil.
When you’re claiming to be speaking from a position of science and advocating policies that restrict our rights and that have massive implications for the real lives of millions of people, details are important.
As we claw back our liberty little by little in the months ahead, we must adjust for the degree to which our opinions (and those of our neighbors) can be swayed by the Zeitgeist.
As Ed Achorn reminds us, the Constitution is only as strong as the people’s willingness to enforce it, and too many Rhode Islanders apparently believe our founding document can be waived if they’re scared or can claim that lives will be saved.
Governor Raimondo’s detailed regulations for “faith-based organizations” to reopen should be offensive to a free people (even if not personally religious) because of what she apparently believes about religion and about us.
The (possibly related) stories about disproportionate COVID-19 cases among Hispanics and COVID-19 deaths at nursing homes fall in a range of topics about which we’re not allowed to have straightforward discussions, and that’s a dangerous problem.
When a special interest has this much money and power and a taxpayer-funded infrastructure to maintain the muscle for a nonstop political campaign, how can the people of any town really have their own voices represented?
The assumptions of an ideological insider class in Rhode Island discount and brush aside diverse ideas that would help the state run better and recover from economic hits.
Perhaps a commerce communications director could craft a better message for anxious business owners, but that wouldn’t be the tone his boss is promoting.
Perhaps the biggest failure of government in the COVID-19 crisis has been the suspension of regular politics, which helps leaders respond to public sentiment and invests the public in the decisions.
Rhode Islanders should take the indicted ex-mayor of Fall River as a warning sign as our governor assumes authority to review the business models and safety plans for every organization in the state.
A video from the onset of the COVID-19 crisis complaining about the early arrival of wealthy summer residents highlights progressives bizarre economic vision.
Governor Raimondo wants Rhode Islanders to take on faith that she actually has the authority she’s wielding and that she’s basing decisions on “science,” but the public, and the news media, should not follow the cult of personality.
The governor’s phases for opening the economy are too slow, too limited, and leave too much at her discretion for the foreseeable future.
The second essay on my newly reconstituted Dust in the Light observes that journalists, local activists, and all of us trying to go about our lives are making it clear that we really do live in different universes
The desire to open up the economy isn’t selfish or reckless; it’s humanitarian.
The governor only has her dictatorial authority to micromanage every organization and civil right in our state if the rest of us pretend along with her.
The idea that there are “tight” cultures and “loose” cultures does offer insight into Left-Right differences in the West, although we probably come back to familiar conclusions.
My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for April 13, included talk about:
- The governor’s handling of the virus crisis
- The silence from everybody else
- The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s suggestions
- The decisions facing the governor and the people of RI
Here’s a clip from WPRI’s coverage of Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo’s latest daily COVID-19 statement that shows an absolutely unacceptable attitude from the governor:
Asked about the latest projections from the University of Washington — which now predict nearly 1,000 Rhode Islanders will die due to COVID-19 and the outbreak will peak in the state later this month — Raimondo said the school’s model has been updated after conferring with Rhode Island officials. She again declined to share the state’s own predictive modeling, but indicated she thinks the peak could be as late as mid-May.
“If anyone tells you they know exactly when Rhode Island’s peak is, and what the number of hospitalizations will be at that peak, they’re not being honest with you,” she said.
The governor is making decisions that have profound effects on our lives, including the exercise of direct executive authority to do things that would not normally be permitted in a representative democracy. She has an obligation to explain herself to the public. “Take my word for it; I’m the boss, and I have the best of intentions” is not good enough. (That’s a characterization, not a quotation, if you weren’t sure.)
How many deaths does the governor project Rhode Island will experience, and how many does she expect to avert by taking this or that action? These aren’t idle questions from a Don’t Tread on Me enthusiast. Every new restriction on our activity comes with a price-tag in health and lives. In rough numbers, Rhode Island experiences just under 400 suicides and drug overdoses each year; how much is poverty, isolation, and idleness going to drive up those numbers? Does the governor have a model for that?
Tough-gal talk about driving around the state and “you’re not going to want to be in that group” if she has to “break up any crowds” is (maybe) how you manipulate teenagers, not how you communicate with adults. Declaring a slow-rolling state of emergency for months on end does not make us subjects, and the governor’s legitimacy requires complete transparency so we can evaluate for ourselves whether her actions are justified.
Of course, it doesn’t help that our legislators are proving that they lack the courage to fulfill their role in our government during this tricky time.
The disconnect between the warnings of government officials and the experiences of the people could make it more difficult to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath.
This short March 14 ABC6 story by Nick Pappadia didn’t have much of a shelf life, but it’s worth noting because it is a good study of underlying assumptions underlying and the way in which a sense of what must be believed spreads:
Despite Governor Gina Raimondo’s advice, urging all Rhode Islanders to stay indoors as much as possible and to avoid crowds, Bishop Tobin has not officially cancelled Mass services for Catholic’s in Rhode Island.
On Saturday morning, Bishop Tobin released a statement requesting Catholics over the age of 60 not to attend Mass, and to refrain from receiving Holy Communion. There was no mention of him cancelling mass for all Catholic parishioners.
Governor Raimondo said, “I’d like to thank Bishop Tobin for his cooperation, and that it is within local pastor’s discretion to cancel masses on their own.”
Since then, we have learned that many local priests have taken matters in to their own hands and have cancelled Mass services at their individual parishes.
Bishop Tobin did not impose a restriction from the top down, and pastors who cancelled services were “taking matters into their own hands.” No, they were choosing one of the options open to them. The assumption appears to be that things are and should be typically dictated from the top down.
More deeply than that, notice the hierarchy in Pappadia’s construct: The governor to the bishop to the parishes. Fundamentally, this means there is no real separation of church and state, because the bishop is in some sense obligated to follow the governor’s “advice.” When he doesn’t do so, he is implicitly hinting that he prefers the opposite outcome, so when priests follow the governor’s advice rather than this supposed hint, they are actually rebelling… even though they’re acting within the bishop’s range of instructions.
Many fascinating perspectives are being revealed during these times.
Being in the car less, recently, I’ve fallen behind on podcast listening, so the episode of Changing Gears to which I listened while working out last night was a few weeks old. The guys were explaining the various reasons (having to do with materials, labor, and politics) that Rhode Island’s roads don’t last.
Not long afterwards, I was back at the computer and thinking (again) how far Internet technology has come in the past year… when the power went out. All the Zooming, podcasting, on-demand streaming, and other innovations that this viral crisis has made so critical to basic life fell of the table of social organization in an instant. On a clear night, the flow of electricity just stopped.
Growing up, I don’t remember ever losing power when the weather didn’t provide an obvious explanation, and it seems to be becoming more common in recent years. Every time it happens, I can hear a few more generators running, as my neighborhood adapts to this new reality over time.
While the world has been substantially shut down, I’ve also been catching up on reading legislation that managed to receive floor votes. Here’s one to ban disposable plastic shopping bags, and I note the news today that San Francisco has now banned reusable shopping bags to prevent spread of COVID-19. Another bill that didn’t manage to get a vote in the innocent days before the pandemic (House, Senate) would have criminalized the intentional release of balloons into the air.
Yes, while a virus was spreading around the planet bringing death and economic ruin, Rhode Island legislators were pondering a bill titled “Relating to Health and Safety – Balloons.”
Whether we’re talking about the roads or the power grid or the budgetary desperation we’re hearing from our elected officials, the message ought to be clear: Rhode Island has to get back to basics. Stop worrying about balloons. Stop micromanaging the economy. Stop confiscating tax money from people in order to fund superfluous things or pet projects.
This crisis is illustrating the necessity of government for a variety of functions, but it is also proving the need for government to do those critical things well. And that means focusing on them, including a halt to the drain of taxpayer money to things that just shouldn’t be priorities. Both basic government functions and private-sector activity are more important.