Why do bar and restaurant owners feel the full force of the law while people sealing off city blocks don’t?
Last week, I wrote about Larvita McFarquhar, a single mother of four daughters who has operated the Haven’s Garden restaurant and cafe in Lynd since 2017, and is now being persecuted by the state government for opening in defiance of Gov. Walz’ scientifically unsound Executive Orders. She is being fined $250 a day and, yesterday, Attorney General Keith Ellison reportedly filed an expedited motion for further contempt sanctions against Ms. McFarquhar. As the Attorney General said when he went after Shady’s Hometown Tavern in Albany back in May:
“My office has the duty to enforce the law…”
On Monday, KSTP reported:
After two people were shot at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue Sunday night, the Minneapolis Police Department sent an email to City Council Members Andrea Jenkins and Alondra Cano, which said they had trouble getting to the area and when they did get to the scene of the shooting the evidence had been handled by people who oversee George Floyd Square.
George Floyd Square is cordoned off by a four-block area with barricades and is referred to by some as an “autonomous zone.”
Jenkins said she is hosting a virtual meeting with community organizers and activists who oversee George Floyd Square next week and wants it open to the public so there is a dialogue about a reopening of the area. Jenkins said she is hopeful can happen “before the end of January.”
The contrast here is quite incredible. If you open a bar or a restaurant, the state government will come down on you with all the force it has at its disposal. If, on the other hand, you seal off a section of the city and refuse access to the police even when people are getting shot, you will have the city authorities groveling to you, pleading with you to let them in.
One of the basic principles upon which the United States works is that the law applies equally whoever you are. True, this is often honored more in the breach than the observance, but it is not a bad principle and that is no excuse for ditching it. Indeed, we should always be trying to work towards it, not away from it.
But that is exactly what is happening in Minnesota under the state’s current leadership. There are those who are subject to the law, like Larvita McFarquhar, and those who are not, like the ‘activists’ who have seized effective control of a chunk of Minneapolis. This is the sad reality of ‘One Minnesota’.
John Phelan is an economist at the Center of the American Experiment.