Governor Walz took a radical step in the direction of authoritarian rule by opening the possibility to issuing an order that forces Minnesotans to stay in their homes. The order comes as the Governors of New York and California issued similar "Shelter-in-Place" orders that force citizens to not leave their home by threat of imprisonment or fines.
“I certainly think it is a possibility,” Walz mentioned in an interview with WCCO. “We have to have every tool in the toolbox.”
What Would a Shelter-in-Place Order Mean?
Minnesotans would only be allowed out of their home for a list of government approved circumstances. So far, the lists adopted by other states are pretty vague. Those who work in "essential services" can leave for work and citizens are able to visit stores to purchase groceries and supplies.
There would also likely be an exception for people engaging in health related activities such as running, biking or taking walks.
Why This is Problematic
This sets an incredibly dangerous precedent for the political elite who constantly seek to grow our reliance on the government and limit our everyday freedoms. In order to carry out anti-freedom policies, politicians use an incremental approach because they know that drastic measures will end in revolts. But they use the fear of the unknown amongst the population in a crisis to cease these new powers. And it works.
The Star Tribune ran an online poll and found a slight majority of the people would welcome a Shelter-in-Place order. Although not a scientific poll, it does represent what many of us believe is the case: we've been scared into giving up our rights.
A Shelter-in-Place would be an enormous hit to our already struggling economy. As government scrambles to update its definition of "essential services", many industries would either cease activity or drastically reduce commerce. Despite what the political class promises with "stimulus and bailout packages", we'll all be paying for that since the government doesn't have money that they haven't taxed or created using the printing press.
The most problematic part of Walz taking this step, however, is that law enforcement and government regulators will take the vagueness in the order to infringe on our rights. Our travel may be questioned by traffic stops. Firearms and ammunition sales might be halted because they are not considered "essential". Independent journalism, an important key to combatting the unified messaging of corporate media, may be barred from receiving media exemptions.
Action 4 Liberty opposes Governor Walz unilaterally creating laws that infringe on our rights. Minnesotans should follow the advice of medical professionals in combatting the spread of COVID-19, but at the same point, not stand for authoritarian rule by politicians in St Paul.