During the American civil war, John Stark, known as the hero of Vermont, won a decisive victory at Bennington. Years later, when he was quite ill, in an effort to stir up anti British sentiment in the lead up to the War of 1812, Stark uttered these words: "Live free or die, death is not the worst of evils." This was later shortened to Live Free or Die, which appears on the license plates of New Hampshire. It has become the catchphrase of the Libertarian movement which seems to have garnered new life in the present US environment. Libertarianism generally means a great distrust of any authority: the government, scientist, the intellectual elite, the media, and anyone who comes from urban environments.
The libertarians seemed to be out in full force last week. They marched in several state capitals claiming that COVID was a hoax, that no government was going to tell them what to do, and that businesses needed to be reopened now. This weekend beaches opened up in Jacksonville, Florida. Businesses are opening up in Vermont and Texas today. Yet now more than 760,000 people in the US have been infected by COVID and 37,000 people have died. The libertarians though are saying that government restrictions are violating their rights.
Government restrictions though are not always a bad thing. For instance, I like to fly. I am very happy to know that the planes that I fly on have had to go through strict maintenance schedules and safety checks that have been mandated by the government. I am also ok with the fact the government has decided to control traffic at intersections by placing traffic lights, stop signs, and yield signs. These rules are not there to limit my liberties. They are there to keep me safe. Yes there are times when governments overstep bounds and we must protest. However, insisting on making planes safe and making intersections not a free for all are not restrictions on my freedom, but a way of keeping me safe.
The social distancing guidelines and closing of non essential services might seem like tough medicine right now. Everyone is hurting. We are all climbing the walls right now wanting to see friends, go out to the malls, dine out in restaurants. Employees and employers are hurting. Many of our "freedoms" are being curtailed.
Unlike the libertarians though, I don't feel this is part of any government plot to curtail my freedoms. I don't believe in a conspiracy theory that this whole COVID thing is a plot to discredit a politician or by Bill Gates and scientists to control us, or a plot by the media to control our lives. COVID has absolutely nothing to do with my freedom. Measures announced to protect us have been difficult, but they are necessary. Like traffic lights, we need these measures to keep us safe. The medicine is hard to swallow, but is necessary. Event closings, enforced isolation and statements by the Chief Medical Officer, may not be what we want to hear. However, we must hear them and abide by their rulings. They are in no ways restrictions to freedoms. They are ways to preserve life. Blessings.