The Guidelines for Thee

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Notice anything about the WPRI article headlined, “Officials remind Rhode Islanders of guidelines to follow during Labor Day Weekend“?  Even though it has a large emphasis on Block Island, and even though it quotes Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo several times preaching instruction for Rhode Islanders, the story makes no mention of the recent scandal of this very same governor at that very same vacation spot failing to follow her very own rules.

Keep in mind that Governor Raimondo is maintaining an online list to shame businesses into following her diktats around COVID-19, along with a good-doggy list for businesses that received an inspector’s pat on the head in the past week.  Observe that the shame list is more prominent, that it is HTML, not a PDF, and is therefore more likely to be captured in online searches and Internet archives, and that there does not appear to be any method for or intent toward removing businesses from the shame list even after they’ve been beaten into submission and complied.

Rhode Islanders should read through some of the “compliance orders.”  The tone of the high school hall monitor is strong in them, with complaints about a failure to display the governor’s compliance poster and other detailed new rules that Raimondo has unilaterally imposed.

Some of the language is coldly chilling.  The inspectors’ observations are framed as “allegations,” and it is up to the business owner, who is undoubtedly struggling during this pandemic, to “rebut the allegations.”  Here’s another chilling phrase of bureaucratic totalitarianism that appears repeatedly in various forms: “The inspector also noted in her report that it did not appear that the Respondent had any intention of achieving compliance with applicable Executive Orders and the Safe Regulations.”

Such people are marked and sent up the chain of command for chastisement.  We’ll have no “live free or die,” here.  Do not challenge their authority to micromanage your business during this so-called emergency.  (One also can’t help but wonder about the cost of this inspection regime versus other uses toward which scarce government resources could be directed.)

Notably, the Blvck Market boutique, where the governor took off her mask and stood shoulder to shoulder with the owner’s wife — “a big fan” of the governor’s — is not on the no-compliance list.  And there, the governor didn’t even “take it outside,” as her new quasi-regulatory marketing campaign suggests others do.