As a young boy, a “free country” was frequently invoked whenever someone wanted to do something outside the norm or without permission. There was some truth to the expression. In matters of speech, assembly, and press, we were largely a free country.
Unfortunately, there were then – and still are now – people and institutions who have malign interests and are hellbent on manipulating the freedoms we enjoy.
The hubbub over the Covid19 vaccination is just the latest conflagration that pits the Libertarian vs the Community at Large. Fox News, Newsmax, and One America News are only too willing to give oxygen to the anti-vaxxers who claim that their freedoms are being usurped by an overreaching government.
The hypocrisy is apparent. if not alarming. Shall we return to the days of my college years? As a smoker, I could light up anywhere. In class, in elevators, in restaurants, in my dorm room with a roommate who was not a smoker. My freedom to smoke anywhere was significantly altered in the 1990s when reports about the dangers of second-hand smoke caused businesses to reassess the impact smoke was having on non-smoking patrons and employees. Waiters and waitresses would report that their clothes would stink from smoke after a night’s work.
As drivers (taxi and otherwise), we are required to carry liability insurance in order to protect ourselves and other drivers in case of an accident. Is that governmental overreach?
If there are standards that we must comply with in order to protect the health and liberty of the community, as well as ourselves, does that mean it is an assault on my personal freedom?
Motorcyclists are required in some states to wear a helmet. It is a requirement to wear seatbelts, to have a car seat for children. Are these laws limiting our personal freedoms?
Libertarians want few laws and prefer that the marketplace of goods and ideas rule the day. This would amount to anarchy, in my opinion.
Although it is useful for libertarian dogma to be a check on the growth of intrusive government, the marketplace for goods in the taxi world is an excellent example for how libertarian ideals fail. By allowing the unfettered growth of taxi-like vehicles in New York City, the city has become a morass of congestion, worsening air pollution, and the destruction of an industry that was viable for nearly 80 years. The marketplace did no favors for anyone not named Travis Kalanick in the last seven years.
A free country for whom is a mantra I frequently hear. Are my freedoms curtailed when those in my community refuse to be vaccinated or wear a mask? With a global pandemic, my freedoms are potentially in jeopardy when those in foreign countries, let alone my community, are unvaccinated and unmasked. My grandchildren under the age of 12 are innocent victims of these refuseniks. Their freedoms are severely limited by the promotion of the liberty of the anti-vaxxer, anti-masker crowd.
Maybe there is a silver lining in this “free country” business. It’s good to know that the anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers are PRO-CHOICE.