This commentary is by Jim, a retiree who has lived and worked in Vermont for 20 years.
Recently, a clamor has arisen over the right to be free from association with the unvaccinated, and how this increases liberty and civil rights. But, this notion turns the idea of liberty on its head.
Liberty is concerned with the individual freedom to travel and associate with others without state interference, and without showing one’s permission in the form of papers or passports; it isn’t properly concerned with any purported ‘right’ to have the places one travels to, or those with whom one might associate, demonstrate that they are worthy. There is no right to ‘pure’ spaces in America — one takes one’s chances with society, and it’s always been that way. We never know if those we might encounter in society have any number of contagious diseases (they might not know themselves), or might take advantage of us, or are former convicts, or have political views that we consider dangerous. We take our chances and use our good judgment. This common sense notion of public space has served us well.
Some wish to introduce the idea of safe and pure spaces because of a disease with a 99% survival rate, and despite safe and effective drugs that can be used to counter this disease. Moreover, we have measures that we’re told are effective: masking, gloves, face shields, keeping distance, etc.
The ACLU, supposedly the defender of civil rights, has come into the fray on the side of those who wish to turn liberty on its head, stating in a New York Times opinion piece that, “We care deeply about civil liberties and civil rights for all — which is precisely why we support vaccine mandates.” If read in the light of Federalist Paper No.1, one can only conclude that this is merely an insidious mask for despotism:
A dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people, than under the forbidding appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government. History will teach us, that the former has been found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism, than the latter, and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics the greatest number have begun their carreer, by paying an obsequious court to the people, commencing Demagogues and ending Tyrants.
Now, a fabricated ‘right’ to safe spaces is being brought forward by demagogues who discard tolerance for any Covid-19 risk whatsoever — despite that life is full of all sorts of risks that we knowingly accept and are on watch for, and that Covid-19 is a highly survivable and treatable disease. And as a consequence of this intolerance, such people are willing to deny liberties to those they know nothing of, except that these people are unwilling, for whatever reason, to take experimental vaccines (with no long-term safety monitoring) that have caused an astronomical rise in VAERS adverse event reporting.
There is no ‘right’ to safe spaces free from all contaminants. However, there is every right to wear two masks and a face shield and gloves if one is afraid. Liberty is not on the side of denying travel and association to others, but on the side of taking one’s own personal measures to stay as safe as one wishes. To switch this around and pretend that “liberty” means we must take away the liberty of others in order to preserve liberty is the worst sort of specious reasoning — and as Federalist No.1 warned, it can only end in tyranny.