Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said refusing to wear a mask is the equivalent of driving drunk.
“It’s sort of like saying, ‘I have a constitutional right to drive drunk. I have a constitutional right to not wear a seatbelt or to yell fire in a crowded movie theater, or to not follow the speed limit,'” he said of refusing to wear a mask in a press conference on Monday. Logically, that would only begin to be true if masks were proven to work, when significant scientific evidence indicates they neither protect the wearer nor those nearby from virus transmission.
The governor is not only logically but also constitutionally challenged. Hogan justified his correlation by claiming that the Constitution also does not guarantee people the right to breathe fresh air by walking around without face covering.
“Which part don’t you understand? You’re wearing a mask. There’s no constitutional right to walk around without a mask,” he continued, digging himself into an even deeper hole.
The U.S. Constitution also doesn’t explicitly allow people to buy houses, to obtain health care, to wear pants, or to grocery shop. That’s because its focus is not on restraining citizens, but restraining government. It assumes people are naturally free to live without government specifically dictating everything they may and may not do, and therefore prohibits government from abridging numerous natural rights, keeping citizens free from rulers’ naturally overbearing and capricious intrusions.
The function of the state and national constitutions is to expressly state what governments may do, leaving everything else up to citizens’ own discretion. Hogan has the purpose of an American constitution precisely backwards: it is to restrain governments, not the people. And he is the chief executive of the state of Maryland.
Gov. Hogan (R-MD) on resistance to mask requirement: “It’s sort of like saying, ‘I have a constitutional right to drive drunk’ … There is no constitutional right to walk around without a mask.” pic.twitter.com/TiONn5BG8c
— The Recount (@therecount) November 23, 2020
Hogan went on to argue that the victims of COVID-19 outnumber those in multiple wars and that people now should don a face covering if others throughout history have worn masks to prevent the spread of plagues before.
“We’re talking about a quarter of a million people dying. Already, you know, more than, you know, the Korean War, the Gulf War, and the Vietnam War added together,” Hogan said.
“We did it in 1918, I don’t know why we can’t do it now,” he added.
Some pointed out the flaws in Hogan’s logic, noting that there is not a law requiring mask-wearing and there is one prohibiting driving drunk. Mask mandates have not been passed into law by duly elected legislatures, but imposed endlessly by executive fiat.
What a moron. https://t.co/LbzlCwJFDP
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) November 23, 2020
No, it’s nothing at all like these things. https://t.co/DoLPmoUe4i
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) November 23, 2020
It’s government’s burden to show that a specific driver is drunk in a specific instance of driving. Just because SOME drivers are drunk doesn’t mean government can force ALL DRIVERS to stop driving until all accidents are prevented.
This is so dangerously stupid. https://t.co/BJNdq1v2Jr
— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) November 23, 2020
This is what happens when people get constitutional rights backwards. https://t.co/BdLKPi26wD
— President-Elect Casey Hendrickson (@RealCaseyH) November 23, 2020
In the same press conference, Hogan announced that the state will be sending “compliance units” to Maryland counties starting on Wednesday to ensure that businesses and citizens are following Hogan’s health and safety guidelines and protocols.
Federal and state health officials are strongly advising against holiday travel. Celebrating is safer if limited to members of your immediate household. We want families across our state to enjoy the holidays, but in a safe way.
Read the guidance: https://t.co/SImXyvSgjz
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) November 23, 2020
In addition to discouraging holiday travel, Hogan notified Maryland residents of a tattletale “24/7 phone line and email that Marylanders can contact to support compliance teams and report any behavior that violates restrictions and guidelines.”