Photo: Idaho state Sen. Steven Thayn, Facebook. He is very pro-life, for a certain value of 'pro-life.'

A group of Idaho legislators wants to prevent the state's public health authorities from closing schools or mandating the wearing of masks to prevent the spread of illness, because America is all about the right to spread deadly infections if we want to without some expert telling you no. The legislature's Education Working Group, composed of members from both houses, voted Monday to request that Gov. Brad Little include their bill in the state's upcoming special session on the coronavirus pandemic. The meeting was conducted partly online, possibly to accommodate cowards unwilling to attend in person so they could show they're unafraid of little viruses that you can't even see.

Under current law, the state's seven public health districts have the ability to order school closures and other measures during a public health emergency. That didn't sit well with the bill's author, state Rep. Ryan Kerby, a former school superintendent, because the public health boards are appointed, not elected. That means they're not answerable to The People, which is very bad indeed. And since the health districts cover multiple counties, you could have a majority of members voting to do health stuff that a local school district might not want to do. Kerby explained, "It kind of reminds me of the 1700s and taxation without representation. If you're going to govern, you need to be elected."

How true this is! If there's one thing Americans hated, it was the British telling us we couldn't spread the pox freely.


Kerby also said that school administrators he'd spoken to "really, really want this bill. They're really concerned about their ability to govern and having somebody looking over their shoulder." Again, this is just good sense, because who knows what's best for kids: "Science," or rural Idaho school board members who ran on a pledge to ban the teaching of evolution and to fight Sharia law?

Kerby's bill would shift the responsibility for school closures and mask orders to school districts, the state Board of Education, and the governor. An early draft would have still allowed public health districts to order quarantines or school closures to prevent spread of an infectious disease, but that provision was removed by a motion from Rep. Judy Boyle, who earlier in the pandemic explained that mask requirements, even by private businesses, are exactly like how the Nazis forced Jews to wear yellow stars.

The real star of the meeting, though, was state Sen. Steven Thayn, a Republican from Emmett — which we'd note is Ammon Bundy's new superspreader stomping grounds. Thayn explained that it's downright dangerous to let experts have any say in setting policy:

One of the things that I have heard in this pandemic that has bothered me is that there's a lot of people who are willing to go back to school, go back to work, and yet we're letting a few fearful people control the lives of those people who are not fearful.

Isn't that just precious? If you just steel yourself to show no fear, the virus may kill you, or leave your lungs so ravaged that you can't do everyday activities, or even cause brain damage. But it will respect your resolve. Oh, sorry for mentioning those effects of the disease; we are little scaredy Low-T bunny-rabbits who don't understand freedom.

But Thayn, whose name is pronounced "Sane" by educated people, was just getting rolling on the danger of experts:

Listening to experts to set policy is an elitist approach. I'm also fearful [OH REALLY? — Dok] that it leads to totalitarianism, especially when you say well, we're doing it for the public good.

Again, this is just basic truth. If you look at the most murderous totalitarian regimes in history, you can clearly see they've been metaphorically invoked by some wingnut who knows they're exactly what happens when you pass a seat belt law, limit dumping toxic sludge near drinking water, or help people afford healthcare. The lack of any totalitarian regimes actually having arisen from such public goods doesn't at all diminish the power of the metaphor, because maybe some day limiting the spread of an incurable virus could lead to a new Reich, you don't know! Unfortunately, the First Amendment precludes any legislation banning the slippery slope fallacy.

Thayn wrapped up with the very basic truth that America is a land of absolute freedom, except of course for all the slavery, and the limited rights of women, and of men who owned no property:

America was founded on the idea that people weighed their own risks, did what they thought was best for their own interests. […] The role of experts should be to give us the best information they have, and we should weigh it. They should never set policy.

We're looking forward to Sen. Thayn's bill abolishing the Idaho Transportation Department, because drivers should be free to decide for themselves how fast to go in a school zone.

The bill was opposed by some silly Democrats, like Rep. Steve Berch, from the soviet socialist republic of West Boise, who said letting public health boards set public health policy "isn't sacrificing individual liberty. This is balancing the governance process with protecting the larger community."

Community! Talk about a dead giveaway! That's code for communism, you know.

The proposals will go to Gov. Brad Little, who will decide which ones will be debated during a special legislative session later this month. Idaho's constitution gives the governor sole discretion over which topics can be considered in a special session, so if Little decides not to include the No Medical Tyranny Act, it'll be toast. One can only hope.

[Idaho Press / Boise State Public Radio / Idaho Education News / KTVB-TV]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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