Lockdown protesters demand the freedom to be reckless. We can construct a deal allowing them to bear the cost of their actions.
Protesters have been agitating outside capitals in Michigan, North Carolina, Massachusetts and other states, urging governors to reopen bars, restaurants and other businesses closed to contain the coronavirus that has so far killed 70,000 Americans. In many instances, agitators stand shoulder-to-shoulder without masks or gloves, bravely defying public-health guidelines and demonstrating unshakable American resolve against the puny virus. They carry artful signs declaring their freedom to get sick and the tyranny of governors trying to keep them healthy.
Governors should offer these lockdown protestors a deal: Fine, mingle and hug all you want. Form your own Freedom Compounds where virus deniers and people who think it’s just the measly flu can crowd into gun shops and throw beach parties and pack into churches. But if anybody gets sick, you can’t seek health care in the system all the rest of us use. You have to stay inside your Freedom Compounds and hope there are doctors and nurses there.
Americans do have the right to harm themselves. It’s legal to smoke, binge on trans fats, base-jump, and do other things that raise the risk of illness, injury or death. But there are many laws that prevent Americans from doing things that raise the risk of harm to others. You might think you have a right to drive 100 miles per hour, but you don’t, because of the exponential increase in the odds you’ll cause a deadly crash involving somebody else.
Lockdown protesters have the right to invite coronavirus into their own bodies. But they don’t have the right to endanger others by doing so, which is why they should renounce the ability to seek health care when they get sick. By contracting the virus and then going to a doctor’s office or testing site or hospital, they needlessly expose health care workers who are among the most essential workers we have. If virus embracers infect a health care worker, they haven’t just harmed that individual, they’ve potentially harmed anybody that worker would have cared for but now can’t, because of the need to quarantine. Multiply that by all the health care workers who tend to one patient, and it’s obvious why willful virus victims need to stay away from the health care system Responsible America relies on.
By the same logic, virus embracers should also stay away from the stores and other places Responsible America frequents. You can establish your own Freedom Stores where nobody wears masks or gloves or makes you walk one-way, and there’s a whole aisle devoted to bacon. You’ll have to find your own Freedom Supply Chains, though, since you don’t have the right to infect responsible delivery professionals, who we need in Responsible America.
President Trump might be able to help. He’s a fan of Freedom Protestors and he wants people to go out so we can get all the dying over with and have a great economy again. Maybe he can declare an emergency and divert funding from military housing to help build the Freedom Compounds. Maybe he’ll even make some appearances. He’s dying to do campaign rallies again, but most states won’t allow 20,000 people to crowd into an arena. What better place to hit the trail again than a Freedom Compound?
For virus embracers wondering where to start, reach out to the anti-vaccine movement. In fact, recruit them to join your Freedom Compounds, where you can all face down coronavirus, influenza, diphtheria, hepatitis, measles, mumps and other lamestream exaggerations, with no mandatory cures from the medical-industrial complex. You’ll suffer some losses, but it’ll be worth it. No price is too high for freedom.
Rick Newman is the author of four books, including “Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success.” Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman. Confidential tip line: firstname.lastname@example.org. Encrypted communication available. Click here to get Rick’s stories by email.