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DeSantis Issues Executive Order Prohibiting Mask Mandates

DeSantis Issues Executive Order Prohibiting Mask Mandates

As an issue-oriented conservative, I recognize that sometimes principle and preference come into conflict.  I find that to be the case with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis banning all local mask mandates and vaccination requirements.

If you follow my commentaries, you know that I believe as a fully vaccinated person, I should be free to engage in society without restrictions or reservations.  My chance of getting or spreading Covid-19 are so statistically low that extreme precautions are not warranted.

But I also believe that other vaccinated folks may choose to continue masking and distancing. I respect their decision. It is no harm to me or to others.  I do not feel the same about those who – without justification – refuse to get the vaccine.  They are a danger to themselves and others – just not to me.

That also means that I would prefer to move about without distancing and masking requirements.  I truly do not think they are necessary for me.

BUT … I also have two fundamental principles in my conservative manual.  I believe whenever possible, government decisions should be made at the most local levels. That is where we the people have the greatest influence.  And I also respect the right of employers – public and private sector — to make regulatory decisions in their own workplaces.

In prohibiting businesses and smaller government employers from making decisions regarding the Covid-19 Pandemic, I personally believe that DeSantis has exceeded the healthy role of state government.  He has stepped outside of conservative governance. Oh, he did nothing illegal.  He did not abuse any powers.  But – in my judgment – he made an unwise decision. It does not comport with basic conservative values. It prohibits local jurisdictions – including school boards and private businesses — from managing their workplaces and employees.

The decision to require masks in schools or restaurants is not a violation of any right. As would be discriminating based on race or gender.

There is a difference between the state imposing mask and vaccination mandates and preventing individual agencies and enterprises from imposing them in their own venues.  We already can see that medical facilities have never reduced or eliminated the masking and distancing requirements – or the need for tests.  Many venues do a cursory temperature check before entering a facility.

I would PREFER not to don a mask to enter any retail establishment or public building. But if that is the proprietor’s requirement, I either put on a mask or shop elsewhere.  So far, I have put on the mask. That is because even as I may not see the mask as a necessity for me, I also do not see wearing or not wearing as the symbol of some cause.

If the school board in Broward County, Florida wants to require teachers and students to wear masks, I would most certainly disagree with that decision – as many parents do.  But I cannot argue against the right of the school board to make that decision for their community.  If they are wrong – or out of step with the public – the corrective measure is to boot them out of office in the next election.  But for now, they have the authority – or at least, should have it.

Principled conservatives understand that it is wrong to arbitrarily and needlessly impose excessive government regulation on the governed by making folks do things they neither wish nor need to do.  But it can be equally wrong in preventing folks –including the managers of employees and property — from doing what they wish or feel the need to do.

The very foundation of conservatism is to face the fact that individual freedom and keeping limited government close to the people occasionally means that my PREFERENCES get trumped by the greater importance of the PRINCIPLES.  My personal desire to not wear a mask is superseded by the rights of employers to set even arbitrary standards. 

If they require masking, distancing and even proof of vaccination, that is on them.  If they are acting in defiance of the local community standards and public opinion, the citizens will deal with it at the ballot box. Or by taking their business elsewhere.  Remember, according to our conservative Constitution, all rights start at the grassroots.

I like DeSantis – at least 99 percent of the time.  But on this one, I think he blundered.  Even in a great democratic Republic, you just do not always get your way.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry HoristLarry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. frank stetson

    Great piece in the end Larry.

    Beginning…..not so much.

  2. frank stetson

    Man, you’re going all George Will on us, great job having individual, and yet, principal based conservative thoughts not swayed by these pundit politicians seeking higher office. Mostly. I agree 110%, perhaps not based on “best decisions made local” principal,“ but more on science and risk/reward. But when it comes to masking, I say, what’s all the hullaballoo about, Is it even onerous or burdensome enough to even be concerned about much less write 500 words on it? Worse yet are those who feel it’s all about liberty, freedom, and the American way, give me a break. We have had medical mandates and dress codes since the Founders. Nothing new except our affront.

    My only question is your “My chance of getting or spreading Covid-19 are so statistically low that extreme precautions are not warranted.” I could go down all the other statistically low risks that you take action on: moving out from under that tree in a lightning storm, wearing a seat belt like an accident is waiting to happen, but instead of lame comparisons, Larry, I wish you would research this a bit more, I would be interested in your takeaways in that my understanding is that:

    – Delta is more 50% more transmittable than Alpha and therefore, while low, not as low as it was with Alpha. With Alpha, a sick person might infect 2 or 3, with Delta 5 to 9. If we look at the Provincetown MA Delta cluster covering a two-week period starting on 7/4, over 460 infections, about 75% of which were vaccinated. While your chances are low, they are higher than with the Alpha variant.

    – If caught by vaccinated, Delta sheds virus from the vaccinated at the same rate as the unvaccinated, i.e. sick people in either category are just as dangerous. This is the first key point.

    – Most vaccinated, if infected, will result in mild case. This is the rub and the second key point. Could be asymptotic meaning you feel fine but shed infection as if you weren’t vaccinated and on your way to the ER.

    – Very few wind up in the hospital, fewer die. So far, that has not changed for the vaccinated between Delta and Alpha. Probably still need more time to research, but looks good so far.

    – While experts “think” masking will provide the same results for Delta as it did for Alpha, along with social distancing, hand washing, etc. from what i find, at this point, we clearly don’t know. They just seem to believe it to be true. Since they keep telling us Delta is a game changer, there are all new rules, the new transmission and contagion levels for the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike, this seems strange

    Larry, seems that even with low stats, bad things happen more often with Delta than Alpha, the increased transmission level combined with milder symptoms, perhaps unnoticeable, create a real possibility to be an Asymptotic Covid Larry can create your own Provincetown cluster. There is little doubt that it has higher risk than Alpha, it’s seems a new game with new rules.

    That also means we still have much to learn and is that the time to relax? “That also means that I would prefer to move about without distancing and masking requirements. I truly do not think they are necessary for me” And, in doing so, you create greater risk, not for yourself, but for those around you, and your fellow citizens. There is no doubt that the path you are on is riskier, you just have concluded it’s worth the risk given your feelings about having to don the mask. But one other probable problem too Larry; if you don’t don the mask, what message are you sending the unvaccinated? Because masked or unmasked there’s no way to tell, and if more and more folks go mask-less, you can be damned sure more and more unvaccinated will too. Currently I swing the other way, no big deal to don the face covering, good to show my colors to the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike who are not wearing them. It’s a small price for me to pay to be extra careful. Matter of fact, I never stopped during the summer, frankly it’s just part of my normal routine now.

    Here’s another thought. While the vaccinated will get Delta more often than Alpha, most cases will be either asymptotic or mild. I can promise you Larry that if I catch it, I am not going to be tested since I know I will not be hospitalized or dead. There’s a very good chance, since I don’t know 100% that I have it, that I might not exactly 100% quarantine. In other words, I could be standing next to you… Just saying that the game has changed, and now the vaccinated may cause more risk than previous, and the mask-less may have the double-jeopardy of being sick, but not being noticed as such. Just a thought, probably won’t be significant…..maybe. Until it is.

    Still interested in what you learn re: transmission levels, asymptotic spread, and mask effectiveness with Delta.

    Yes, Desantis’ actions are not conservative or liberal for that matter, we know what he is really doing this for, and like you said: it ain’t principal. I would add it ain’t science, it ain’t medicine, and most important — his results suck dog poo poo in hell. Please keep him in Florida, please don’t let him on the national stage…. I will try to return the favor and keep Murphy here.

  3. RedBull

    Clearly you can’t figure out why people don’t want to get the vaccine so let me give you a few reasons…

    1. They already had covid and have better immunity than a vaccine could give them
    2. They are young and vibrant and do not need a vaccine
    3. They would like to see what happens to other people who took this ‘test’ vaccine over time
    4. They are concerned that it might affect their reproductive system, their immune system, their babies
    5. They are concerned that it doesn’t work as well as it is supposed to and they don’t want to put their trust in it
    6. There are reports that it actually makes you more prone to get covid
    7. There are reports that it causes heart problems with younger people, the younger – the worse the problems
    8. The government is pushing so hard that it really looks like there is an alternate agenda here and they would like to opt out in defiance

    In general the whole idea that ‘you’ need to be responsible for ‘me’ by not bringing a silent or hidden illness that you may or may not have in my air space is entirely inverted thinking. We are each responsible for ourselves and anybody that thinks otherwise is just wrong. There is a silent killer out there and we are all aware of it. You can have it even if you’re vaccinated. You can have it no matter how old or young you are, no matter who you are, no matter what precautions you have taken. So to think that by forcing ‘me’ to take precautions to save ‘you’ is upside down. ‘You’ need to be safe on you own and make the best use of the information available.

    Speaking of information available… not two days ago Biden’s Covid Czar admitted on record that the masks most people are wearing in fact are ineffective – that is, they don’t work. Any idiot knew that from the beginning and any idiot knew that half the reason the virus is spreading so fast is because people trust them. And now people trust the vaccine. So between the two we’ve given the virus more means to spread. So here again, the idea that mandating people ‘wear masks’ that don’t work or ‘prove vaccination’ that doesn’t stop you from passing the virus – well it’s just insane.

    Be safe. Keep distant, don’t spend a lot of time in enclosed spaces, wash your hands, and be particularly careful around strangers. But don’t give up your freedoms to spare people’s sensitivities. Yes, proof of vaccination leads to all sorts of ways to lose your freedoms so no, DeSantis is absolutely right spot on here.

    So what the hell are you talking about? It’s time you rethink this so you can give your readers better advice.

    • Ben

      Red Bull, I. can’t figure out why Tao many republicans won’t get trump’s vaccine.

      I’m all for Desantis’s mandate. It should be a personal choice if you want to vaccinate or mask up. With the exception of the whole, “ less government” thing the right continues to preach, he is correct in saying “it’s your right to get sick and/or die.

  4. frank stetson

    Redbull, hmm, is that two words :>) the answers you have are mostly, scientifically wrong, based on the factual evidence we have today. It could change and you might be right tomorrow. But I doubt it. Gee, you seem relatively smart, at least fluent in English, you probably could have jfgi, or at least, find some better sources of information. Factual answers below.

    1. Probably, but you need to test. If they have immunity, it’s not better, and it only lasts a few months. DR can tell you when to vaccinate post covid.
    2. More true yesterday, Delta is filling the hospital with younger people. Sure less die on average but with more cases, more hospitalization,s, more dead. Also, real risk of “long covid,” I’ll let you look it up
    3. Bogus. This product been tested more than most; think about how many shorts across the globe. Vaccines are legendary for long terms safety, ever since the 1950’s. Look it up under history of vaccines. Most issues pop up in the first few months.
    4. bogus, not proven
    5. bogus, it works as stated, high effective rate, low hospitalization and death rate. IOW — it’s now a pandemic of the unvaccinated.
    6. a lie. I mean there’s more reports that Trump is in Putin’s pockets, and not in a fun way.
    7. greater risk in so many things, and very little death:
    8. no this one is just bat shat crazy. bogus

    The website should not allow this type of unsubstantiated disinformation to remain. It is against the public health interest to spread such poppycock.

    “You can have it even if you’re vaccinated” Yes, but the vaccinated are rarely hospitalized and die. The unvaccinated are the ones dead, between 500 and 600 every day now and RISING. I could note who is unvaccinated and who is being affected more now, but I really would rather we lose not one more. Over 630,000 dead people is enough. No one else needs to die. Get the shot. I will be safe, my family is safe, and yes, I would rather you not make us less safe. Sure.

    Actually, ex Biden advisor, now pundit, but he said it and we need to get a better answer, as wells as is mask just as effective against Delta. CDC/Fauci need to address. His did not say masks ineffective, he just said need N95. He didn’t even say KN95 OK. There is no doubt N95 is a superior mask; only type I wear in a crowd.

    I have the vaccine, I wear the mask, in crowds N95, but tell me, enlighten me, what exact freedoms have I given up? Cuz I am going out the an all vaccinated restaurant, there’s a fully vaccinated band playing, and I feel free and liberated.

  5. Ben

    Oh snap! I just read that Deathsantist is going to withhold public funds from schools that institute mask mandates. Imagine that, being penalized for following CDC Guidelines.

    So much for the less government conservative values. Seems like just yesterday conservatives were preaching about “home rule” education. But that was when the Democratic Common Core for educating our children was the topic. Now, not so much.

  6. frank stetson

    Well Ben, as a famous not-crazy principal-based conservative says: “LISTENING TO THE EXPERTS WAS A MISTAKE.” All I can respond with is based on not listening to experts, there’s an ever shrinking pond for conservatives to fish in for votes. Good thing they are jiggering the voting laws so they can steal elections in the future, because with less voters comes less wins. Desantis is abandoning Florida and using Trumpism at it’s worst to steal the national stage from the ever dwindling horde of those failing to heed the words of the experts.

    Better than the experts, some suggest that we listen to Desantis who’s covid-claim-to-fame is setting Florida and US records for cases, hospitalizations, and death while blaming Biden’s South-of-the-Boarder strategy for Florida’s woes. According to Hannity last night, no one has handled covid better. The NEast LTC support was a clusterfarce and Desantis saved the day in LTC for the old folks.

    Hard to figure what he even stands for, whether he’s for State’s rights, Federalism, Local or State control. Guess it depends where the camera’s are. We all know he gives a rat’s patootie for Florida’s citizens’ as he plays to the national hard right crowd.

    The tale of the tape: as of March, FL had over 10,000 LTC deaths due to covid which Desantis claim’s a victory especially compared to NY and NJ where patients with covid were returned to nursing homes, the homes failed to follow the process, the process itself failed, and a tragedy occurred. But they were first, they were surprised. Desantis saw that experience, he time to plan better. NJ had 8,000 dead. NY had 14,450. Remember that’s the beginning of March 2021; you can be he’s surpassed NY by now. FL has 42% of LTC staff vaccinated, that’s criminal. There ought to be a mandate! NJ and NY have over 60%. FL has about 70% of LTC residents vaccinated; NJ and NY have about 80%.

    Currently, as of July 15th, FL has 9 deaths per 100K LTC residents, NJ 1, NY 3. Desantis fails by a factor of three. Given the vaccinations, and thinking there are no major mistakes, FL will only continue to compare worse as Desantis continues to fail his citizens. Here’s the facts:

    But he cares about the children as he threatens funds and paychecks over a mask using the draconian force of State funding. Covid among children is rising. Especially in Florida. Hospitals and doctors are getting overwhelmed: Granted, that’s CNN, but you can jfgi to find many more stories that Desantis doesn’t want Floridians and the Nation to see.

    At this point, the man is a killer, just look at the numbers. And please listen to the experts, get the shot, wear the mask, wash your hands, and be careful out there. We beat it once, we can do it again, if you help us.

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