The statement got me to wondering: To what extent does the Liberty Movement embrace the principle of social responsibility?
The statement emphasizes the more important issue of public perception. An organization whose members refuse to wear face masks in public during an epidemic will seem to be uncaring and reactionary. The organization will appear and be judged to be socially irresponsible.
Hence the puzzle. Conforming to public opinion in this instance may seem an endorsement of social responsibility, but the principle itself is one that libertarians, objectivists and many conservatives in fact reject.
The root idea of social responsibility is that society has a fundamental and controlling claim on the thoughts and behavior of the individual. Or, that the individual owes various debts and obligations to the society of which he is a member.
These notions cannot be reconciled with the Liberty Movement which holds the individual is inherently sovereign; that the rights of individuals are unalienable as a matter of natural law.
There is, however, a persuasive libertarian argument to be made for wearing face masks in public. It is based on the assumption that masks are at least somewhat effective at preventing the spread of the Covid-19 virus. A libertarian might say:
a) No person has a right to do wrong to another.
b) Infecting other people with Covid-19 because one doesn’t wear a face mask in public is the same as doing wrong to them.
c) Therefore, no person has a right to not wear a face mask in public.
The argument is still capable of misinterpretation, but only willfully. Freely choosing to do the right thing as an individual is by itself a demonstration of unalienable rights and personal sovereignty; it isn’t necessary to show that it is wrong to do wrong.