Sunday, June 07, 2020

Reopening isn't politicians' call

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for May 6, 2020)

To open or not to open; that is the question. But it's the wrong question. While there's plenty of debate and disagreement over allowing businesses to re-open; when and how it should be done, the discussion misses the point completely.

No one had the right to shut down businesses they didn't own. You don't have the right to tell someone they must shut their business and you can't delegate a right you don't have. Not to a governor or anyone else. This means the authority to tell businesses to close shop, even temporarily due to an emergency, doesn't exist.

The same applies to telling people they aren't allowed to leave their house or to gather with groups of friends. To forbid people to gather is a clear violation of the First Amendment even if you agree and even if government employees are allowed to get away with it.

Nowhere does the Constitution say "unless there is an emergency and people are scared". I know because I've checked.

Government employees can get away with making these rules because the people of America have been infected with a superstitious belief in political authority.

I understand the fears which lead people to accept such orders, even though I don't share them.

I still believe you should be careful and shouldn't do things which put others at too much risk.

Respecting liberty is always the right choice, but there are risks either way.

There is no policy which won't cost lives. That option doesn't exist, even in normal times. The best you can do with any policy is trade lives. Ignoring the virus would have cost lives; shutting the economy is costing lives; seeking some sort of middle ground costs lives too. It's time to stop this silliness.

The ethical thing to do is to remove government from the equation, let business owners decide when and how to re-open, and let individuals decide for themselves the amount of risk they are willing to accept.

If someone is not willing to accept risk to save America, they are perfectly free to self-quarantine inside their homes as I would assume they have already been doing.

This virus-- or any other-- is going to have to run its course, whether it happens in a month or in a year. It's time to accept this and let it. I think you'll discover the fear-mongering was overblown.

So, open or stay shut, but it was never the politicians' decision to make.

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Libertarian tyrants?

If your argument is that "libertarians will never get into power because..." then you have shown you don't understand libertarianism. It's not about gaining power; it's about recognizing that no one has the right to archate.

It's the same sort of thing that happens when someone makes the statement that "if libertarians would use government power to force someone to carry a baby to full term, don't they have the obligation to have government support them afterward?" I actually heard someone make that case-- again, displaying an incredible lack of awareness of what libertarianism is.

Libertarians can disagree over abortion; they can't really disagree over the use of government/initiated force and still qualify as libertarians.

Objecting to this stuff isn't "No true Scotsman"; it's pointing out the nature of things.

Writing to promote liberty is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.
I hope I add something you find valuable enough to support.