Brownstone » Brownstone Institute Articles » Ruled by the Capricious Whims of Politicians
Ruled by the Capricious Whims of Politicians - Brownstone Institute

Ruled by the Capricious Whims of Politicians


They got him. Two failed impeachments and a very messy criminal case that is probably falling apart in Georgia couldn’t do it, but a civil case in New York did. The verdict? A $355 million fine and a ban on conducting business in New York for three years. A ban on conducting business? Maybe they’ll mandate that the renters in his buildings don’t need to pay rent. That is no longer unprecedented.

The trial was a non-jury trial (not that it would have mattered) decided by a single judge who appears to have personally relished the process. He forced the defendant to sit for a deposition, held him in contempt, fined him several times, and has, of course, ruled in favor of the already pre-determined outcome. In his ruling, he even pontificated the nature of the “sin,” stating that it was a venial sin and not a mortal one. Venial means it is a forgivable “sin.” One just needs the proper behavior to be forgiven.

Because the ruling can be used as precedent for further political persecutions, the governor of New York felt compelled to tell the press:

I think that this is really an extraordinary, unusual circumstance that the law-abiding and rule-following New Yorkers who are business people have nothing to worry about, because they are very different than Donald Trump and his behavior.

There are implications behind those words.

In Canada, there were hundreds of bank accounts frozen simply for having donated to the Freedom Convoy, a stream of semi-trucks that filled the streets of Ottawa to protest the absurd vaccine and health mandates. It, of course, was perfectly legal to donate to the Freedom Convoy protestors, in the same way that it is completely legal to donate to Black Lives Matter or Planned Parenthood.

Some groups — no matter how despicable their behavior — are approved and protected by the state. Other groups — no matter how clean-cut their behavior — are not. The unapproved groups tend to organize spontaneously. Spontaneity is a pillar of freedom, and the state does not do freedom well.

What is the real message behind the ruling and Governor Hochul’s words? Stay in line. Keep your head down. If we can do it to an ex-president of the United States, with whom we’ve all done business, we can do it to any one of you. Especially those of you that don’t have the enormous resources and political support that an ex-president does.

Lockdowns and Covid mania appear to have destroyed any remaining respect that much of the country had for the rule of law. Lockdowns are a marked departure from the idea that government exists to protect its citizens’ rights, private property, and to mediate disputes without violence. Rather, the lockdown model of governance is the idea that the government can mandate behavior, and, that if you are to deviate from the approved behavior, then you forfeit your rights.

The Pandemic was flooded with the concept that your rights were forfeited for not behaving. The White House demanded you had to be vaccinated to work. The Washington Post questioned if the unvaccinated deserved ICU beds. If you didn’t behave, you even forfeited your right to receive an organ donation:

A spokesman said the hospital requires the Covid-19 vaccine, and lifestyle behaviours for transplant candidates…

The organs are scarce, we are not going to distribute them to someone who has a poor chance of living when others who are vaccinated have a better chance post-surgery of surviving…

Let’s compare that to the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:

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 to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…

Those two quotes seem antonymic, coming from two entirely different mindsets, but maybe I’m wrong. The pandemic was simply a highly unusual, extraordinary circumstance. If we follow the rules, we have nothing to worry about. Surely, if I am incorrect, I can find some reassurance that the State is still acting in a benevolent fashion insistent on protecting my Rights and allowing me to pursue my own happiness.

Luckily, we have an upcoming election! It’s the most important election in our lifetimes! We have one candidate who ordered the lockdowns. He started the process of government punishing exceptionally normal behaviors. That candidate is now also being persecuted for his behaviors. He has been more than happy denigrating half of the country on more than one occasion. He promises to shift the persecution to his opponents. He promised this in his first term.

The other candidate is fully supportive of the lockdown and mandate approach to governance. He fully supports the persecution of his opponents, and he has been more than happy denigrating half of the country on more than one occasion.

Both candidates imposed or continued rent moratoriums and debt forgiveness. They both clamored for more of the money printing that resulted in the large inflationary effects we have seen over the last several years.

Unbelievably, they both claimed they created an incredible amount of jobs, which were simply jobs returning after the lockdowns ended. From this perspective alone, lockdown is a powerful narrative tool of positive governance.

Everything fake is real, and nothing real is fake.

But, as Governor Hochul said, “Don’t worry.” I was pacified with the knowledge that the responsible people are in charge, the irresponsible are being justifiably punished, and so long as I behave, I have nothing to worry about.

Behavior is important and actions always belie words.

Republished from the author’s Substack

Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
For reprints, please set the canonical link back to the original Brownstone Institute Article and Author.


Donate Today

Your financial backing of Brownstone Institute goes to support writers, lawyers, scientists, economists, and other people of courage who have been professionally purged and displaced during the upheaval of our times. You can help get the truth out through their ongoing work.

Subscribe to Brownstone for More News

Stay Informed with Brownstone Institute