The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Masks and Freedom

This is a letter to the editor I hope will be appearing in the St Louis Post Dispatch

I am saddened to hear my fellow citizens again resisting wearing coronavirus masks because it restricts their individual freedom.  This attitude represents an ignorance of science and our governing principles.

The scientific argument for wearing masks is irrefutable.  They keep the disease from spreading to others and new studies show it also helps prevent the individual from receiving the disease.

The political and philosophical issue is more nuanced.  Freedom is not an absolute right and one person’s freedom may cause harm to another.  Society needs to operate on a set of rules for overall safety and well being.  Wearing masks and social distancing are two easy measures that not only help the individual but society.  We can’t go through red lights, dump garbage in streams, or bring guns on planes,  even if your notion of freedom is compromised.  Furthermore, freedom is not the only governing value of our society.  The constitution mentions providing for the common defense and promoting the general welfare.

It is sad that our country has become so individualistic that we won’t adopt simple measures for our common safety. Many lives have been lost as a result.

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