Everyone seems to have a “plan” for dealing with the Corona virus. Like the “plans” for health care – and everything else.
How about a principle?
If you are worried about getting sick, then stay home. Shutter your business, if you wish. This is your right, on the same principle that you have the right to decide for yourself whether to drink broccoli smoothies – or eat bacon cheeseburgers.
But you haven’t got the right to force anyone else to drink broccoli smoothies – nor to force them to stop eating cheeseburgers. Nor to order them to “shelter in place.” Nor to close their businesses – which no one is being forced to do business with. If you don’t wish to do business, then don’t. But don’t impose your wishes on others.
Some people, of course, disagree.
They are people like Michael Bloomberg, former Reichsminister of New York and wanted-to-be ReichsMarschall of America, who literally thinks he has the right to tell other people how much soda they may drink – or sell – as well as many other things of a piece. That is just one example and Bloomberg is just one of many now flowering, with Corona Fever as their fertilizer.
The principle, however, is exactly the same – whether it is sodas or cheeseburgers or seatbelts or shuttering your business. Which these people regard, increasingly overtly, as theirs.
As well as yourself.
But how is it that these people – that is to say, “the government” – acquired the right to order anyone else to stay home or to shutter their businesses? That is the fundamental principle being tested right now.
The risk presented by Coronavirus is not the issue.
Life is risky. It is inherently unsurvivable. Even staying in bed all day will not save you; in fact, it will probably hurt you. Your body will atrophy; it is unlikely anyone will pay you to stay in bed all day. To live, you must get up – and take countless risks, most of them never materializing into harm.
In order to live.
Your life. Not theirs.
It is not the right of other people – this rhetorical sleight-of-hand styled “government” – to countermand your judgment nor to place a collar around your neck and take you for a walk (or not) at their pleasure.
The principle that’s at risk is whether the basic human right to weigh and assume risk for yourself is to be denied.
If it is accepted in this case, then it will be imposed in future cases. There is much on the line. It is not exaggerated to say that everything is on the line.
We have Gate Rape at the airports because we accepted checkpoints on the roads. The first set the precedent for the second and both are based on the same principle, which is a rejection of the once-upon-a-time American principle that cops only had business with criminals and that if you hadn’t given a cop any reason to presume you were doing something criminal, he had a legal obligation to leave you alone.
Of course, today we no longer have cops. We have armed government workers. The distinction is important because it is a measure of our degradation, which is corollary to their usurpation.
All of it is premised on the loathsome Dogma of Safety, which is loathsome because it is antithetical to freedom – which requires the embrace of risk personally as well as the obligation to respect the right of others to assume risks you may not be “comfortable” with.
This idea that no cost is too extreme and no burden too insufferable “if it saves even one life” is insane – as well as tyrannical.
Insane, because it is impossible. The measures necessary to save every life will not save every life. Indeed, some will die because of the measures used to save every life. Air bags are a great example. They have both saved – and taken lives.
Ah, but they have saved more lives than they have taken. Which is the tyrannical response.
Whose lives? Who gets to decide whose lives are saved – and taken? The loathsome answer is: Not you. Your life is toyed with by those other people you’ve never even met – “the government” – who have taken away your right to decide for yourself whether the benefits of having air bags or seatbelts in your car outweigh the risks (as well as the costs).
The effrontery of this is off the charts. And the principle underlying it is incandescently dangerous – as we are now seeing.
We saw it years ago, as in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, when a whole town was “locked down” by body-armored Hut! Hut! Hutters! – the enforcers of the will of those other people who style themselves “the government.”
Homeowners found out who really owns their homes – and themselves.
Now everyone is finding out.
The principle then was the same as the principle now. Those other people who style themselves “the government” – and who want you to think of them as that rhetorical construct, which imbues them with a corona of almost religious awe, which they hope instills deference – assert that your safety (defined by them) vitiates your right to – well, everything.
But these other people are just other people. They do not possess a corona of supernatural authority. It is simply authority – which is to say, force.
It has not been given to them, in the contractual sense, since that would require an actual contract, freely signed by the parties to it. There can be no such thing as a contract imposed by one party upon another, without his free consent and just because the other party says he is bound by it.
Other people cannot give consent on your behalf, either. If they could, then there is literally nothing beyond the pale, including outright whips-and-chains slavery. On the basis of what principle could one object to the idea? If other people – a “majority” so vote?
If a court so decrees?
For his safety?
Can the human mind conjure anything more demeaning? Far better to be ordered to do as they say because they say so, period. We have guns and you don’t and that’s the end of it.
But to be told we must do as they say because it is for our safety is akin to a parent telling a child he must not go outside right now.
The child, of course, is a child – and the parents are only asserting temporary authority until the child becomes an adult. At which point, he becomes free to function as an adult and make his own choices.
Our childhood is to be perpetual. Our development arrested.
If we allow our “parents” to cement in place the principle that “safety” legitimately empowers them to treat us – at gunpoint – like children, forever.
. . .
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