Freedom is Conditional

What about these recent anti-vax, anti-mandate, placard waving, irresponsible gatherings of malcontents and illegal road blockages, decrying our loss of freedoms?

The only freedoms we’ve lost have been forced on us by a pandemic, not a government decree.  Free education and health endure.  Freedom to live where we choose, provided we can afford the cost of a house or rent. We can friend and marry anyone we choose, we are allowed to work at whatever occupation we choose, provided we have the appropriate qualifications and skills.  Most of us can still enjoy the beach and the (usually) blue sky.

To drive a car or fly an aircraft we need a licence which proves we are competent, for the safety of the public. To become a nurse or a doctor or a school teacher, we undergo significant training and pass examinations to prove we are capable and responsible. Most employers mandate special conditions of employment, even to the point, in many cases, of requiring regular staff drug testing.  An employee surrenders his/her rights and freedoms in these scenarios for the greater good, and, fail these tests … no job.  Pfizer certificates are no different.

It’s legal to play our stereos loud, and mow our lawns, but if it’s three in the morning (especially if I’m mowing my lawns at that hour), rules and restraint have to come into play.

And, what’s the big deal about “Stay home if you have symptoms”?    We should be doing that for ordinary viruses.  It’s right and proper and common sense if we want to protect work colleagues.

Even the very claim to freedom.  Where does it say freedom is an absolute right?  No rights are absolute; all are bounded to some degree, particularly in time of war or civil emergency, and we are in the midst of a serious civil emergency.

A friend says, “No government’s gonna tell me what to do!”  Well, wake up.  The government already tells you what to do, in so many ways.  That’s a bogus protest.  It’s the government’s job, and the judiciary’s, and the police’s, to ring-fence our lives all over the place – for our own and others’ protection.  Freedoms we enjoy in easy times go if times become more precarious.  For the greater good.

Some claim a legal right to refuse medical treatment – standing on the Bill of Rights.  But can’t the Bill of Rights be subjugated in times of emergency?  Don’t circumstance and context have some bearing on a normal right?  Even if not, claimers cannot reasonably expect others to forgo their right not to be associated with them, or employ them.

Used by permission of The Spinoff’s Toby Morris

The bottom line, protesters, is … no, wait … this is the bottom line for all of us: we are free to choose – do, even – whatever we wish – comply or not comply, curse the government or praise it (remembering that Covid is the enemy, not the government), trust the science or the Fakebook echo chamber, rail against the sky falling on our heads or just enjoy the sky … but there will be costs and consequences to every choice.

Count the cost and accept the consequences.  Don’t whinge, and put others’ needs before yours.

Ken F

But if the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed. (John 8:36)

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