NEW COLUMN IS “The Ethics of Social Distancing: A Libertarian Perspective.” It is currently on WND.COM and The Unz Review.
This column is an honest examination of some highly complex questions and issues, without resorting to the smug self-satisfied SIN OF ABSTRACTION: “I’m so ideologically pure, look at me.”
As I say, “If I appear to be struggling with the ethics of this emergency—it is because I am. I must. This is vexing stuff.”
But readers do not want an honest struggle and a multi-faceted, nuanced examination of the issues. They want dogma; their own. Actually, the objections one critical reader mouthed are simplistic Republican dogma, sounded by almost all creedal Republicans; BUT NOT necessarily by all libertarians.
When libertarians begin to sound like Republicans all the time, it’s time to “check your premises.”
In any event, here is a short excerpt. Follow the hyperlinks to the website of your choice:
I was running up the mountain the other day. A couple was walking down it. I quickly crossed over, so as not to expirate all over them. To my surprise, they thanked me profusely.
I’m healthy; they looked fit. Distancing may not have been necessary in this case. Yet, in this simple act of conscious distancing, in the epochal age of a terrifying, communicable disease—my neighbors and I had come closer than ever before. Fear gave way to fellow feeling.
Having lived in both the developed and underdeveloped world, I have always associated social distancing with civility and civilization.
Cultures that honor personal boundaries have always seemed better than cultures which don’t—more genteel, refined and respectful.
Ditto people who keep a respectful distance: They have more merit than those who get in your face.
Which is why the wish expressed by so many freedom-loving protesters to violate the personal space of others is vexing.
Which is why comments such as the following are anathema:
“Your ‘health’ does not supersede my right.”
“Give me liberty or give me COVID-19.”
“I am not required to descend into poverty for you.”
In the absence of clinical therapies or a vaccine for coronavirus, the successful return to work rests, very plainly, on the willingness of the citizenry to cover up, keep clean and keep a distance. Why would anyone wish to infringe on another’s personal space, when the stakes are clearly so high?
Insisting on unfettered freedom to come and go as one pleases, sans protection, comes at a grave cost to others—it could constitute aggression against innocent others.
By the same token, the shuttering of private property by the State is an incontrovertible violation of private property rights. …
... READ THE REST. NEW COLUMN, “The Ethics of Social Distancing: A Libertarian Perspective,” is currently on WND.COM and The Unz Review.
UPDATE I (4/24): Some responses to readers. These should give you some idea of the intellectual climate out there: