Is a requirement to wear a mask in public a violation of my freedoms?
This past Wednesday a wide array of faith leaders issued a statement urging the wearing of masks in public. One particular sentence from that letter struck me deeply: “One cannot claim to love one’s neighbor while deliberately putting them at risk.” This simple statement contains all of the elements of a good argument: The emotional element of love, The ethical standard of a moral choice, and the scientific logic that wearing a mask reduces risk of Covid-19. On the other hand, the argument that the government cannot mandate the wearing of masks is based solely on an emotional and false definition of freedom. In the words of a popular and oft used saying, “Your right to swing your arms ends where my nose begins.” This principle applies to wearing a mask in public.
Much of the political philosophy on which our nation is founded comes from a philosopher by the name of John Locke. If you have the inclination you could research his ideas online. If you choose to do that you could also look at the ideas of Thomas Hobbes. The philosophy of Locke rejected the idea that kings ruled by Divine Right. Divine Right was basically the idea that disobeying the king was to disobey God. Instead Locke insisted that governments are created under a Social Contract to protect Natural Rights. He defined these Natural Rights as Life, Liberty, and Property. He further stated that whenever a government did not protect these natural rights then it is the right of the people to overthrow that government. Both Locke and Hobbes also understood that when people created government they gave up total freedom in exchange for security. Government must be strong enough to protect our Natural Rights, but not so strong as to completely destroy our individual freedoms. Finding that balance between a government with too little power and a government with too much power is why we must always be diligent. I do not agree with those that believe that mandates requiring the wearing of a mask during a pandemic is the first step to totalitarianism.
I would suggest that you now take a few minutes to reread the Declaration of Independence. The ideas and principles of the Declaration were so well understood that the opening line is “We hold these truths to be self-evident”.
The preamble (opening paragraph) to the Constitution of the United States of America outlines six principles on which the constitution is based. One of these six principles is to “promote the general welfare”. I would suggest that the requirement of wearing a mask in public could absolutely be considered in the best interest of and general welfare of our city, state, and nation. Promoting the general welfare has often required personal sacrifice. Any requirement to wear a mask in public pales in comparison to the many sacrifices of the past.
Posted on 27 Jun 2020, 15:52 - Category: Political Viewpoints