Last updated on December 14, 2020
“The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”
—Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
As we approach the end of 2020, let us take an inventory of where we stand in the Freedom department. But, before we do, some context…
COVID-19 caught us all by surprise. But as with the seasonal Flu, most of us decided to take sensible precautions as we would with any contagious disease, (as we have been doing in our lifetimes).
Yet many did not. And the disease spread. Then, restaurants, movie theaters, and shopping malls saw far fewer customers as people decided to stay home and avoid crowded venues. So far, so good. Makes sense.
Meanwhile, on the national level, Dr. Fauci championed the need to “flatten the curve.”
State governors and local mayors saw an opportunity to strengthen and expand their authority, allegedly to protect the vulnerable and prevent hospital overcrowding. The rest, as they say, is the history of 2020 in the U.S.A.
So where do we stand at the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021? There are now three categories of States in America: Free, Semi-Free, and Unfree.
The Free States (as of the end of 2020) have no major restrictions, universal mask mandates, business lockdowns, travel, and stay-at home restrictions.
The Semi-free States (as of the end of 2020) have a hodgepodge of mask mandates, limited business closings, travel restrictions and/or limited stay-at-home orders.
The Unfree States (as of the end of 2020) have major combinations of mandatory business closings, universal mask mandates, stay-at-home orders, travel and/or other restrictions on people’s freedom of movement.
Let’s look at each, along with a list of individual States. See where your state is and any states to which you may plan to travel.
The Free States
State Motto: “Tell people the facts, offer sound advice, trust individual initiative.”
State Symbol: Goddess of Liberty
Secret Mission: Preserve, protect, and defend freedom—individual rights.
State Birds: Bald Eagle and Cardinal
Main Products: Business, Arts, Sciences, Liberty. Human Flourishing.
List of Free States:
Those States with no major restrictions, lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, or universal mask mandates at the end of 2020: Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming
The Semi-Free States
State Motto: “We do not trust you.”
State Symbol: Flannel straitjacket
Secret Mission: We will protect you from yourself and tell you what to do and when you can do it.
State Birds: Brooding Hen and Masked Ducks
Main Products: Ever-changing dictates and mandates at the whim of governors and mayors
List of Semi-Free States:
Those States with some combination of restrictions, mixed business closings, stay-at-home orders, and/or universal mask mandates as of the end of 2020. [Note: Some states made this list because of a universal mask mandate but are free in other areas.]
Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin
The Unfree States
State Motto: “We are watching you 24/7!”
State Symbol: Steel Handcuffs
Secret Mission: We will prevent you from living a normal life, because we know what is good for you, and will fine and/or lock you us if you disobey our orders.
State Birds: Snooping Swoop and the Raven
Main Products: New lockdowns, regulations, edicts, mandates, executive orders, emergency dictates, etc., etc.
List of Unfree States:
Those States with major restrictions, mixed business closings, stay-at-home orders, travel restrictions and/or universal mask mandates at the end of 2020: California, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington
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As we begin 2021, let us remember that we can never take our freedom for granted. The precedent has been set for governments to close businesses, close your child’s school, order you to wear a mask and to stay home. Once we accept governments’ power to stifle our livelihoods and ability to live a normal life, we may never be able to get it back.
Meanwhile, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris promise to pressure all fifty states to impose a national mask mandate (both indoors and out) for only 100 days. That’s one hundred days too many.
Consider this… In Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, one of the main characters, Hank Reardon, discovers a powerful secret: governments need your sanction—your acceptance—of their dictates. He called it “sanction of the victim.”
The first step to win this battel is to withhold your sanction.
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For specific state-by-state information on business closings, lockdowns, and mask mandates, the New York Times published a helpful interactive guide, updated on December 4, 2020 — “See Coronavirus Restrictions and Mask Mandates for All 50 States.”
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“The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom.”
—Justice William O. Douglas