July 17, 2020
About Those Liberties
- Laws, mandates, and policies, are not violations of your personal liberty.
- Like families, societies run on rules and regulations.
- Even if your particular state or county has not yet mandated mask wearing, consider doing it anyway.
There are a couple of points that people seem to be missing as they scream about liberty, interfering government, and personal responsibility. The first, is that if the population had mastered personal responsibility, there would be no issues with the government having to step in and mandate how we can safely interact. The second point is that laws, mandates, and policies, are not violations of your personal liberty. Literally, and I am not one to abuse that word, literally every law we have, or have ever had, has been aimed at curbing or promoting some sort of human behavior. If the existence and enforcement of law violates liberty, then we have never had liberty.
The opposite is true. We have liberty because we have laws. Because no matter how much some people want to believe it is so, people don’t always choose to do the right thing on their own. Especially if the right thing is to prioritize the good of the group over their own convenience. Or expense. Or morals. Although, in the case of masks, none of these seems to be the predominant objection.
Most of the objections I come across seem far more concerned with the fact that mask wearing is being mandated, in other words, extreme and juvenile reactions to a necessity, reactions sadly on par with an angry teenager shouting, “I don’t have to listen to you! You’re not my real mom!” Like families, societies run on rules and regulations. There are tens of thousands of Federal laws alone. Add to that state, county, and city laws, and you might not be able to count them in your lifetime. Especially if you are prone to rejecting advice from medical experts.
Below, for context, is a very short list of things that are law:
Stuff you have to do:
Wear seat belts
Cover your genitals while in public
Ensure proper schooling of your children
Stuff you aren’t allowed to do:
Drive while drunk
Check into a hotel in New Hampshire under an alias
Looking at the sample above, it is clear that many laws address how people interact with one another. The misconception about masks is that people are being forced to do something that should be a personal choice. Personal choice matters when the one choosing is the only one affected. There were outcries about personal choice when seatbelt and helmet laws were passed. However, not wearing a seatbelt or helmet comes much closer to affecting only you. Granted, maybe someone would mourn you, but the chances of doing serious injury to someone other than yourself by disregarding those laws is slim.
Wearing a mask in a pandemic is not the same thing. Yes, it has to go on your personal, private face, but it is a precaution to protect us all. Like how we all drive on the right side of the road here in America. If even one percent of the population decided this was an infringement on their liberty and veered across the yellow lines how many people would die?
Laws, that have been voted on by your elected officials, or mandates set forth by same said officials are not a violation of your liberty. Violations of liberty generally involve an individual or group being treated differently from everyone else. When they are denied rights that the rest of the population considers inalienable. The beauty of masks is that they are for everybody! One nation. Protecting one another. Even if your particular state or county has not yet mandated mask wearing, consider doing it anyway. Let’s not make this about our individual selves. Let’s pretend like we know how to act, and consider that keeping one’s germs to oneself in the middle of a pandemic is an act of courtesy.
Mask up: it’s probably the law.