It only took a week for Ireland's lockdown to go full farce - and the moment came courtesy of Damien English on RTÉ 's Primetime .
The Minister of State for Employment Affairs and Retail Businesses secured a place in the political gobshite hall of fame when he told a bemused Miriam O'Callaghan: "Clothes are not essential."
He looked like a fella trying to convince himself of his own argument and talking himself out of it in the process. His defence went against his own common sense.
Memo to Minister English: clothing was acknowledged as an essential by psychologist Abraham Maslow back in 1943, when his hierarchy of needs deemed it a basic necessity to comfort and protect the wearer.
Enough teasing poor Damien. Funnily enough, he did the country a favour, revealing how you cannot rationalise the irrational. If anyone was in any doubt of how ludicrous these retail restrictions are, they know now. Even the minister in charge cannot justify them, at least not without dropping a clanger.
I've been trying to think of the exact word for the lockdown orders to cease commerce - something that describes rules that are simultaneously futile, unnecessary and harmful.
I'm not sure there's a word for it: maybe perverse is the only way to describe putting 55,000 people out of work and businesses at risk of collapse; for stores we rely upon for survival to be subjected to Garda compliance checks, all in the grand name of public safety. Our increasingly outlandish attempts to control the virus means the virus is controlling us.
When you see pictures tweeted out by the Garda Press Office, of uniformed cops patrolling tins of Quality Street in supermarkets, the term 'police state' comes to mind, a society defined by an overbearing presence of civil authority. It's an ineffective use of a busy police force's time to have gardaí out ensuring aisles of supermarkets are cordoned off like a crime scene.
It belittles the role of An Garda Síochána. It's jobsworth mentality: petty rules at the expense of humanity and practicality.
Maybe it comes back to safetyism, the scourge of the modern world in which personal responsibility is a dirty word. I came of age during the height of the Aids crisis and truly terrifying as that was, no one was ordered to stop having sex - only told we should do it safely.
Random retail restrictions feel instinctively unnatural and wrong as they are not in line with 'procedural justice '. Under this principle, people are much more willing to accept an action when they perceive the process that led to the decision to be fair and reasonable, and when those affected by it are treated with dignity.
Vincent Jennings, of the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association, tapped into this sense when he described small retailers being ordered to cease selling stationery, books and cards as "not humane or fair".
The sight of stores such as Aldi and Lidl separating their stock to take clothes and toys off sale, for fear of Garda Patrol, was like a throwback to Flann O'Brien's Ireland. Meanwhile, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar sounded like one of David McSavage's parodies of Fine Gael, when he urged people to abide by this nonsense in the "spirit of regulation" or face enforcement.
At what point do we decide that civil disobedience is warranted?
Will we continue to obey rules-for-the-sake-of-rules, causing the destruction of livelihoods and quality of life, decreed by a protected elite?
Anti-lockdown doctor Martin Feeley spooked the establishment when he said: "Unless someone does something, maybe we're looking at anarchy." But is there an argument to be made for avoiding such a state of disorder by instead refusing en masse to obey laws that are asinine?
After all, the Governm ent-imposed restrictions are, on paper, in contravention of numerous human rights laws, particularly so Article 23.1, the Right To Work, under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Article 30 declares that these human rights cannot be taken away - and that no state can perform an act aimed at the destruction of any of the freedoms.
I don't hear anyone from the supposedly progressive left standing against the human rights breaches. Instead, it's a cause taken by those who intersect at economy and society, from Peadar Tóibín, at one of end of the political spectrum, to Michael McDowell, at the other.
Civil rights hero and sociologist Martin Luther King conceded civil disobedience is exercised with both caution and regret. He borrowed from St Augustine to explain why it can be necessary, saying: "An unjust law is no law at all."
What is the difference between the two? "Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades it is unjust."
Dr King believed: "One has a moral and legal responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."
It is a variation of writer Herman Melville's "moderate man" whose blind obedience makes him the "understrapper" of the tyrant.
"You may be used for wrong," wrote Melville. "But you are useless for right."
The Government must address the glaring lack of procedural justice on retail restrictions, or the scales of justice could tip soon, on the side of rebellion. The easier way, for all concerned, is fair play.