The complaints of the day of government overreach come in the form of mask and vaccination mandates. This certainly is concerning. If one owns their own body, how can anyone tell you to put on a mask or inject anything?
Well, we’ve been doing it for decades now. Private businesses have hung the “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service” sign in their windows since the 1970s. Court houses (government buildings) have dress codes, especially if you’re about to approach the bench. Government and private buildings have various items of prohibition and expected codes of conduct.
Regarding vaccination, if you’re kids are going to attend public schools or if you’re going to engage in international travel, there’s requirements in quite a few areas.
The fact is, we’ve had mask/clothing and vaccination requirements for quite a long time and yet, for some reason, this time with COVID19, many of us are having a problem with it.
A breakdown of data shows it’s primarily people leaning right, far-right politically who are most resistant. It’s understandable. These are the type of people who don’t want anyone to tell them what to do. I count myself among people like this. Don’t tread on me. But where I differ from many of them is that I understand that on many occasions, you should do things even if you don’t want to because they’re for a common good and decency that’s the lube and oil that moves civilized society.
What does it take to be a good neighbor? You probably do it every day without thinking about it. You don’t sit on your neighbor’s porch without an invite. You don’t park in their driveway. You don’t wander around their yard. You don’t trim their hedges to your satisfaction. You may look at your neighbor’s property and think of all sorts of things you’d change but you never just show up one day with landscaping equipment on your own accord.
When you enter a public space, you don’t do whatever you wanna do. One does not enter a restaurant, stand on a table and begin to yell at other patrons. And you cannot yell fire in a crowded movie theater. You can’t cut in line without permission at a grocery because you’re in a hurry. You can’t go running through a shopping mall swinging a scimitar. You can’t do a lot of things that, technically, you’re free to do. If you engage in these behaviors, there will be consequences like possibly being banned from returning or, getting arrested for disorderly conduct.
There are things we do for the benefit of comfort and decency and safety of everyone. And in most cases, no one has to explicitly say it. We just do it. Because that’s what adults do.
For some reason, the mask and vaccination debate currently raging because of COVID19 isn’t being looked at as the same sort of thing. Or, perhaps, the anti-mask/vaxxers haven’t looked at the issue in the same manner. I don’t believe there’s only one reason for everyone who’s adamant against these things. Surely there’s many reasons. But what I think they all should consider is that putting on a mask if asked to or being vaccinated for COVID19 is part of the responsibilities that comes with freedoms.
Irresponsible behavior has always given government a reason to step in. When a person uses a gun to shoot up a school, new laws and regulations come down from on high. When a professional sports player dies from a drug overdose, we get more crack down on narcotics. And now that we have an out of control virus that’s, to date, killed over 700,000 Americans and millions worldwide, the government has stepped in yet again because millions of Americans won’t take a free, scientifically proven and readily available vaccine. Ironically, they’re contributing to the very big government they despise.
If good government, especially from a libertarian perspective, exists to protect the life and property of the people, then an argument can be made that mask and vaccination mandates fall into this category. We have laws on the books that a person can be prosecuted if he knows he’s infected with, say AIDS, but does not disclose this to a sex partner. There’s also prohibitions from using your property in a way that “infects” your neighbors property. You can’t have a hundred pigs running around your land or a chemical dump of which activity leaks across property lines.
We’ve heard that your right to swing your fists ends at the tip of my nose. Or, about ten years ago here in Michigan, your right to smoke ends at the same boundary line. One could argue that your right to ignore proper precautions against a virus, ends when you come within a distance to possibly spread it to me.
So yes, you have the right to wear or not wear a mask, the right to vaccinate or not, but with such rights come responsibilities. You’re expected to act a certain way in publicly accessible spaces and do whatever behavior you want behind closed, private doors. So make your choice and act accordingly.
Personally, I feel that a year out now from readily available vaccines, we should drop all mandates in public spaces. But each property owner has the right to make their own policies regarding the matter. So take a look at what’s posted at the front door before entry.