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Who Is Essential and Who Is Not? The Lockdown Has Made That Answer Obvious

Hair salon owner Erika Wasser, left, has her hair touched up by lead stylist Samantha Sheppard at a Glam Go studio, Thursday, July 19, 2018, in New York. Wasser owns nine salons in three cities. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Time’s up. We don’t have the luxury of sitting around and waiting for an all-clear signal that is never going to come, and the time of politicians and authorities with job safety and a continuous paycheck that most would be jealous of sitting around and telling us that we’re not essential is done.

Shelley Luther, the woman recently sent to jail in Dallas, Texas, for opening up her salon against orders, told the judge who demanded she apologizes and confesses that her defiance of authority was wrong, and opening her shop was “selfish.”

Luther, thankfully, refuse to do those things.

 

The authority figure in the Dallas case truly believed that what Luther did was wrong and selfish, but I argue that her business is essential. If it’s beautifying hair, painting a house or dog walking, it’s essential if it feeds a family.

The problem is that we have too many authorities who seem to look at the job, not the people. They see things in terms of usefulness, and during this pandemic, they have deemed many of us useless. The more authoritarian the leader seems to be, the more they seem to hold this belief.

There’s a heavy, substantial elitism to this. It’s easy for these so-called “leaders” to sit in comfortable rooms, waring expensive clothing with guaranteed paychecks and well-fed family members, and make decisions. Their decisions will hardly affect them, at least not yet.

However, as I watch things unfold with the lockdown, I can easily arrive at a few conclusions about who is and isn’t useful. I’ve watched as governments from state to municipal flub responses while accepting bad information. I’ve watched government entities abuse their power, unconstitutionally punish people for everything from worshiping God to peaceably gathering.

Meanwhile, I’ve watched the American attempt to find ways to help, be it acts of charity to new enterprising ways of doing business without violating lockdown orders. I’ve watched as waves of defiance swept through the populace as they demand that we get back to work so the entirety of our society can recover and lives can be resumed. I’ve watched them take new information and use it to better inform themselves and their decisions while their would-be political overlords work off of bad information that can be traced back to places like China.

At the end of the day, who is useless?

Not the hairdresser feeding her children. Not the masseuse or the gardener. Not any worker driving vitality and produce into our economy.

It seems to me that we could have done without a lot of the elected officials. In fact, the politicians who governed the least during this outbreak seemed to have governed the best. As my colleague Bonchie recently wrote, Sweden’s intervention was minimal, and they’re just fine.

(READ: Sweden’s Death Projection Gets Downgraded Significantly and the Big Question Remains)

It’s essential that we get back to work. It’s not essential that our government leaders continue to press their thumbs down on the populace any further. It’s becoming more evident that it wasn’t required in the first place.

Useless, thy name is big government.