You pick up your best gal on a Saturday night only to be met at the door by her father – a big hulking man with a gun – “have her home by 8pm!” he orders. “Yes, sir” and with that, your plans are ruined. You might expect this behavior as a 16 year old picking up your prom date but it produces a bit of a shock when it comes from your government. Still hulking, still with a gun, but you aren’t a kid anymore.
So how do I feel about curfews?
I think they constitute martial law and are a form of unlawful imprisonment lacking any due process. They are also weak against the intended targets and give police an excuse to pull anyone over without any cause. This is made worse (angrily worse) by the fact that in almost all states where they are being enacted there are exceptions. Exceptions being reasons you can be out of your house (oh, thank you hulking gun-carrying government).
Why are exceptions worse? Because they mean YOU must prove your innocence. Rather than the government having to prove that you have no good reason be out of your cell YOU have to prove to them that you do have a good reason. That’s about as ass backwards as it gets. No reason needed to pull you over but you must provide them with justification for your being out.
They justify curfews using the most ridiculous of arguments.
For the most part the courts have ruled that curfews against adults are unconstitutional. The Supreme Court ruled in 1972 and said at the time, “The right to walk the streets, or to meet publicly with one’s friends for a noble purpose or for no purpose at all—and to do so whenever one pleases—is an integral component of life in a free and ordered society.” Freedom of movement has long been one of the main things that has set America apart. You don’t have to show your papers to get around, nor have a passport to visit one of the 50 countries we call “states”. Though the EU eventually adopted this model too there has been a lot of time in history where movement was tightly controlled by governments.
The Supreme Court ruled that this freedom of movement could be curtailed under emergency circumstances. Ruling that floods, earthquakes, disease, and pretty well anything that makes the world an unduly dangerous place constitute a good enough reason to tell people they must stay home.
During the LA Riots the court in California said, “The right to travel is a hollow promise when members of the community face the possibility of being beaten or shot by an unruly mob if they attempt to exercise this right.” Think about that logic for a moment. But they didn’t stop there. The California court concluded that restrictions (albeit temporary ones) on the right to freedom of movement are, “a reasonable means of reclaiming order from anarchy so that all might exercise their constitutional rights freely and safely.” What they say there is that in order for you to have your rights they have to take them away from you. Give up your freedom today so you can have it tomorrow.
Each time the government curtails your freedom they get a little more confident they can get away with it.
Stay home, close your business, wear a mask, don’t go out after 8pm, your job isn’t essential, explain why you are out tonight sir! What might be worse to me are the number of people who support and even applaud the actions being taken. They want it because it makes them feel warm and taken care of. They have no qualms about oppressing you for their own piece of mind. It’s all symbolic though, they have no real peace, no real protection. These are the same people who become tyrants about mask wearing, the same people who when given a little authority at Walmart or Costco will lord it over you, get in line, do as we wish – obey.