Shorter: Mandates don’t work

William McGurn:

Californians live under some of the tightest Covid-19 restrictions in the nation. So when Gov. Gavin Newsom was recently caught without a mask at a crowded table for 12 at a posh Napa Valley eatery, he instantly became the poster boy for the “Do as I Say, Not as I Do” crowd.

He’s hardly the only one. Not long after Mr. Newsom’s visit to the French Laundry was exposed, Californians read about a delegation of their lawmakers who’d jetted to a Maui resort for a conference as everyone else was being told to avoid nonessential travel. New Yorkers earlier learned that Mayor Bill de Blasio was working out at his favorite Park Slope YMCA right as he was shutting down the city. And of course Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot made headlines for sneaking off to get their hair done when barbershops and salons were closed to everyone else.

No doubt Thanksgiving will bring fresh examples. While many citizens dutifully inform grandma there’s no room for her at the table because of new Covid-19 restrictions, someone inevitably will be caught enjoying the holiday with dozens of friends and second cousins who have flown in for some bird and gravy. And we in the press will let our righteous indignation rip.

Yours truly enjoys a good gotcha as much as the next man. And it’s easy to mock these pols for their blatant hypocrisy when they are caught. But maybe the more important lesson to be learned here is that hypocrisy is guaranteed when we impose one-size-fits-all mandates that are rigid and unworkable.

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