Representing the Liberty Movement

Source: Tidewater Liberty.

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.

7 thoughts on “Representing the Liberty Movement

  1. 1) You do know that it was Don who posted that?

    2) He also posted a link to it under the first comment to this thread:
    https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/156329850/posts/6513

    3) He also sent the same post to VA Beach Tea Party and LP of VA. (I did ask Don to keep us posted on the kind of feedback he received from the three groups, but he has not yet shared it. I think the fishing has been exceptional and he hasn’t yet had the opportunity to do so.)

    4) Your right to liberty ends at my front door. Or in this case, my respiratory system.

    “Conforming to public opinion in this instance may seem an endorsement of social responsibility,”…

    This is more of a scientific belief than public opinion. The same science that is indicating it it safe to send kids back to school in the fall is the same science that says that wearing a mask is one of the best and easiest ways to help stem the spread of the virus. The issue appears to be what people’s opinions are wrt to science.

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    1. RE: “You do know that it was Don who posted that?”

      Of course. Like I said, the statement got to me wondering.

      RE: “Your right to liberty ends at my front door.”

      I don’t believe that, mostly because I have no idea what you are trying to say. In my view, liberty is a political arrangement that people make for the purpose of protecting specific pre-existing rights. A person’s front door, or nose, or any other private space has nothing to do with it.

      RE: “science that says that wearing a mask is one of the best and easiest ways to help stem the spread of the virus”

      It is only necessary to assume that masks are somewhat effective to make the libertarian argument. My understanding of the science is that “somewhat effective” is a supported finding, unlike “best” and “easiest,” which are not scientific terms.

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      1. “I don’t believe that,”…

        When your liberty interferes with my right to live, then it is an issue. If you don’t understand that now, you never will.

        …”unlike “best” and “easiest,” “…

        Layman’s terms are best when addressing the general public. It’s easier for even Trump supporters to understand.

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      2. RE: “When your liberty interferes with my right to live, then it is an issue.”

        Under my conception of liberty you have no right to punish or control me for merely offending you. If you had that right you would become my master, but being the master of another is not allowed under the political arrangement we both live under.

        RE: “Layman’s terms are best when addressing the general public.”

        Then they are suitable to the gods and others beyond reason.

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        1. …”you have no right to punish or control me for merely offending you”

          I said nothing about being offended. I DID say your liberty is forfeit when it interferes with my right to live.

          …”others beyond reason.”

          Well, then you should have no trouble whatsoever understanding.

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    2. The river was good to me Tuesday and Wednesday, but the Bay today, not so much. The current was ripping everywhere, making fishing all but impossible.

      It is not so much an issue of social responsibility as it is of being capable of self government.

      In order to be a free people, we must do what is right simply because it is right. You can’t govern a prison on the honor system because it is inhabited by people who habitually act unethically.

      But if the American people are capable of self governance and worthy of liberty, the majority at least must do what is right because it is right.

      It can be noble to risk your own life for a principle(although it can also be stupid) but it is never right to risk the lives of others for YOUR principle that they do not hold.

      I saw an essay a few days ago I will try to relocate that stated that the measure of a society’s ability to self govern is the shopping cart. There is no penalty for not returning your cart to a safe and orderly location. You will not be held up to public scorn if you do not. But it is the right thing to do and a society can be judged based on how many shopping carts are left blocking parking spaces.

      Reddit shopping cart

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