The Radical Center
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The Radical Center

Send in the Clowns: Oh They’re Already Here

For decades the blight on the name of libertarians was the klan of kooks down in Auburn who associated with Confederate apologists, white supremacists and anti-Semites, reflecting the bigotries and prejudices of the founder who slithered in from the Conservative Book Club, now claiming he saw the light but doing his best to drag libertarianism away from its classical liberal roots.

Sadly they now have competition for the insanity trophy of the year. With each passing day the three ring circus that is AIER (American Institute for Economic Research) goes deeper into the conspiratorial swamp becoming less and less libertarian but increasingly bonkers. No surprise really.

With the addition of Naomi Wolf they have gone full on crazy. Wolf has proven herself a pathetic scholar — having her last book pulled because she misstated the facts and embarrassed her publisher. Wolf is deep into conspiracy nonsense including a obsession about how the clouds are being manipulated — I don’t know if she means by Jewish space lasers, but it’s nuts anyway you take it.

Recently AIER attacked private businesses for setting conditions for entry to their premises and then suggested the regulatory state could be used to strip businesses of this freedom of association — provided it deals with their mask fetish. Given how conservatives are so often attacking the very things they secretly desire I’m waiting for one of them to be arrested for trying to get an undercover cop in the men’s room to wear a mask and nothing but a mask. (For the brain dead, that’s called sarcasm.)

AIER doesn’t think a business has the right to refuse service to people who refuse to wear masks, but LGBT individuals are fair play — discriminate against them all you want — it’s freedom of association. It’s only free association when they are hurting people who are gay, but when it’s people refusing to wear mask its “practicing medicine without a license.” Seriously! That’s what they called it.

Meanwhile flippant clowns such as Jeff Tucker and Naomi Wolf are writing about medicine and assuring people they know better than the secret plotters who are doctors. I wouldn’t trust Tucker if he said the sun rose — I’d look outside just to be sure.

If a private premise says only individuals wearing hats or head coverings — say a synagogue — may come in it’s their business. In fact, the term “it’s their business” is not just a saying, it comes literally from the idea that when something is someone else’s business or property, it is their right to run it as they see fit provided they don’t violate the rights of others. Tell that to bozos such as Tucker — who moved from bigoted days in Auburn to even fringier views at AIER.

You simply don’t have a right to endanger the lives of other people, something Tucker seems to believes he has — but from what I hear there are lots of boundaries he doesn’t respect in regards to others — apparently women, to the surprise of many.

Equally bizarre is the AIER clown car has their attack on freedom of association listed as being about “authoritarianism.” According to them the private businesses setting these standards without orders from the state is authoritarian, but AIER having the state swoop in and prosecute these people is libertarianism.

They claim because a business is a private entity “that doesn’t mean that it can lawfully or morally treat its employees or customers however it wishes, even in some hypothetical Libertarian Land.” Of course, it cant, but the line of demarcation is one that puts the rights of others at risk, not something as innocuous as wearing a mask inside someone else’s property, or pants, or a hat or anything else for that matter. There are even private establishments that will only allow entry if you’re wearing nothing at all!

For years conservitarians have been assuring us that certain people can be banned from entering businesses because Jesus allegedly demands it. They can be denied employment if they are the wrong skin color or sexual orientation. Their argument is people do not have a right to a specific job or a right to use a particular business. Now, all of a sudden, they do have that right provided they merely want to spread a deadly virus to others.

They compared wearing masks to sexual harassment — a bizarre choice given the stories going around about one of them: “It is true that employees who don’t like to mask can quit but the same could be said for employees being sexually harassed. Should they have to quit too? The law says no! And forcing someone, especially someone who has survived Covid or had a “vaccine,” to wear a mask 8 hours a day is a form of harassment, even if all employees are instructed to wear masks.”

This is one of the problems of statism — the desire to expand state control — it tends to widen and widen definitions so they are anything the police want them to be. “Human trafficking” can mean slavery or someone walking across the border of their own volition without permission from the state. Now AIER wants to inflate the meaning of “harassment” to include wearing masks to reduce the spread of a killer virus.

They go on to also inflate other terms to meaninglessness by claiming this a “form of humiliation or torture.” Now I understand why all those people at the grocery store were confessing to all those crime, their masks were torturing them! Water boarding move over, masks are here!

There are two different discussions going on here. One is whether a business may restrict patrons who are a potential threat to the lives of other patrons. Clearly they may. The second is the absurd argument over whether anyone has the right to spread a virus.

The fact is that mitigation efforts in this country failed because at every step of the way the lunatic Right has sabotaged it. They have intentionally held super spreader events. They have packed their churches with maskless morons and they are surprised when people — including the grifters in the pulpits — get sick and die. Then it’s just the “will of the Lord” not the ignorance of the fringe right.

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James Peron

James Peron is the president of the Moorfield Storey Institute, was the founding editor of Esteem a LGBT publication in South Africa under apartheid.