by Kimberly Kennedy
“The plea of necessity, that eternal argument of all conspirators.”
— William Henry Harrison, 9th U.S. President
Back on Jan. 15, 2020, I told a group of business owners at a Rotary meeting that freedom for the everyday citizen is in the hands of those who control their economic destiny. The enemy of Marxism is a population who have understanding based on truth. The following has just happened within the past couple of weeks.
Gov. Tom Wolf issued an executive order, dated April 8, 2020, allowing for the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, in coordination with Commonwealth agencies to “commandeer… personal protective equipment, pharmaceuticals, and other medical resources located within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
The Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association responded with the following blistering statement:
“As with his business closure decree of March 19, the Governor’s order came with no warning and no input from employers. The order is excessive, considering that the National Association of Manufacturers has been surveying inventories for weeks. The order is unwarranted, as PMA and other business groups have been working with DCED to establish a portal for manufacturers to retool to fight the pandemic. The order is contradictory because it conflicts with established protocols between Pennsylvania health care institutions. All of these failings could have been corrected if the Governor or his front office staff had sought input from the stakeholders who actually understand these issues.
“Many manufacturers in Pennsylvania are retooling and assisting in the efforts to battle the COVID-19 pandemic despite Governor Wolf’s best efforts to shut down supply chains and distribution networks. Having our commonwealth’s manufacturers inventory all personal protective equipment, pharmaceuticals, and other medical supplies for state-directed ‘commandeering’ adds uncertainty, complexity, and anxiety to an already strained relationship between the private sector and state government.
“Governor Wolf’s overreaching and extra-constitutional executive order threatens the foundation of the market response needed to battle the COVID-19 pandemic in our commonwealth and across the nation. We call on Governor Wolf to rescind this executive order immediately.”
Gov. Wolf is violating the Pennsylvania State Constitution as Section 12(c) forbids the suspending of laws and Section 32.1 states that the General Assembly shall pass no local law or special law regulating the affairs of counties, cities, townships, wards, boroughs or school districts. Is the Governor aware of the efforts of organizations such as PMA and their advanced experience to deal with such a crisis as opposed to government takeover? What kind of relationship does he have with the private sector? The private sector should be the friend of government to assist in such circumstances, and be a friend to the citizens to help keep government power in check. Overreaches like this are happening in other states.
These are classic Marxist tactics to nationalize business and thus control the money flow, which means controlling people. There is no reason for this overreach. Why not work alongside private industry and let their expertise guide in this situation? Look to history and send out warning sirens to those around you.
The integral relationship between liberty in general and freedom in the economic realm is a reality. F.A. Hayek states in his book, The Road to Serfdom, Economic Control and Totalitarianism:
The authority directing all economic activity would control not merely the part of our lives which is concerned with inferior things; it would control the allocation of the limited means for all our ends. And whoever controls all economic activity controls the means for all our ends and must therefore decide which are to be satisfied and which not. This is really the crux of the matter.
A modern-day example of the above is Venezuela. This country was once the world’s leading exporter of oil. They were a prosperous nation and the people were self-sufficient. After Chavez came into office, oil workers went on strike and he replaced them with workers loyal to him. This resulted in inexperienced oil workers and a government who had no idea how to run this business soon. It was soon run in into the ground.
We are told by some “experts” that there is no connection between economic liberty and civil liberties. History tells a different reality. As everyday items for living became scarce, the government took control of regulating electricity, food, toilet tissue, etc. Long lines and selective processes for getting necessities ensued. For the everyday citizen, life was all about surviving.
I say this as in early April I drove through King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, a prosperous suburb of Philadelphia, observing long lines outside a grocery store and employees telling people when they could enter and how long they could stay. This is a great time to remind people again about the virtue of self-government (don’t buy ALL the toilet tissue) and help them to learn how some in government use fear to grab power.
As George Bailey tried to explain to his frightened customers in It’s A Wonderful Life, we are responding in fear to this economic crisis and Potter isn’t. He’s buying and we are selling and he’s getting some great bargains. We are acting in fear and Potter is not. I would say the same about some of my fellow Americans based on what I’ve heard and read.
In Pennsylvania, I’ve not seen the state government demonstrate that they are more capable to handle this crisis than the private sector. I suggest that citizens in Pennsylvania and from all around the country contact their local representatives and tell them they need to be included in the decision making before decisions are made. Let’s dust off our state Constitutions and read them over to be sure they are being heeded. Liberty hinges on it.
Don’t tell yourself that when things go back to normal, control will go back to the private sector. Once again, history is not kind to that idea. Guard your liberty zealously.
Kimberly Kennedy is Founder of Restoretheculture.org and can be reached at [email protected]
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