Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Peter asks: I agree with you on masks. There is a contradiction, however, in your position that I hope you can address. Isn’t it a contradiction for a libertarian to ignore such a sign when that sign is an expression of property rights of the owner? In the same way, I don’t go into a restaurant that requires jackets & ties in a tee shirt and flip-flops. I don’t wear a Face Diaper in my supermarket because I feel the masks are the least bit effective or feel a need to bow to social pressure. It’s because I respect the owner’s property rights. Because the massive over-reaction on this Chinese virus has enlisted so much of the private sector, dilemmas like these abound. And what’s worse than the masks is vaccinations. For example, if one wants to attend many colleges in the Fall, the student needs proof of having been vaccinated. What can you do, not go to school? It sucks.
My reply: These signs are different, for two reasons.
One, they are largely posted under duress; i.e., it is not a freely taken decision of the owner but rather the owner acting out of fear of government. Put another way, the government is using the “private” business to impose its “mandates,” via threats. In other words, it is an assault on private property – as well as free association.
Two, this is nothing like ordinary rules regarding terms of service. It is about spreading a deliberate, dangerous lie – and about forcing complicity in the lie. The propagation of mass hysteria, no different, fundamentally, than shouting “fire!” in a crowded theater when there is no fire.
So, there is no dilemma. Certainly not morally.
As regards schools – and other such – that require submission: Don’t. Would you wear a Nazi armband as the price for being allowed to attend gymnasium?
Some things are worth talking a stand on. This is one of them.
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