The Responsibility of Liberty is Compassion

two guys in a park with workout equipment and face masks

As stores, restaurants, and other small businesses re-open, please remember that it’s an economic decision. The engines of the economy need to get turning. We need work, we need income, and we need to spend. These vital activities should be done while exercising the ultimate responsibility of free people: caring for one another as citizens in a shared community.

The virus is still out there. It’s still highly contagious and it’s still killing people. So wear your damn mask. And stay 6 feet apart. And avoid crowds. Don’t cause them. Don’t add to them. Don’t encourage them.

Showing safety diligence is showing how much we care for one another. How we recognize there are vulnerable people just a few degrees away from us. The postal worker’s aging mother, the gas station clerk’s asthmatic kid. They are home but their loved one is working.

As Libertarians, we continually argue that private citizens can be trusted to save their own money for retirement and decide which schools are best for their children. We say individuals can and should be trusted to act in a reasonable way. That we will not infringe upon others’ liberties while exercising our own.

Now is our chance to show how responsible liberty can be.

Take this virus seriously. Take precautions when you’re out and about. Be diligent about hand washing, face coverings, and social distancing. Asymptomatic carriers of the virus can still pass it. Face coverings and social distances help.

Enforce safety standards by demonstrating your free will to take a very real public health threat seriously. We can be in this together, apart. We can adjust to new circumstances. Maintain our humanity and our freedom.

Refusing to follow CDC recommendations isn’t exercising liberty. It’s ignoring the reality of the situation. And disrespecting the healthcare workers sacrificing themselves, and their families, for the sick.

On September 14, 2001 when the sports leagues suspended play for the weekend – NCAA, MLB, NFL – I remember there being a patriotic call that went something like, “Play on!” and “Show the terrorists they haven’t won!”

And then a compassionate voice said, “How could we sit at a football game and cheer for our team while policemen, firemen, and volunteers are digging for American bodies in the ruins of the World Trade Center?”

Think about what it means to the healthcare workers that we are moving about the country, ignoring infection control guidelines, all in the name of economic salvation.

Respect your fellow citizens by exercising your liberties: Choose to be safe.

Choose to be diligent. We’re not out of this Coronavirus crisis. The responsibility of free citizens is to care for one another, to care for our collective, as much as we care for ourselves. And to show those who would demand mandates, laws, and other enslavements that we can voluntarily protect one another.

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