Reader Opinion: Choosing our freedoms
The author of the Aug. 7 letter considers any mask mandate an unjust law related to an Apocalyptic “Beast.” This formulation ignores the concept of individual freedoms in most democratic societies, which include “social contracts” for the “common good.” In short, citizens agree to give up lesser freedoms in order to establish and/or preserve greater freedoms. Therefore we have mandates for traffic signs and signals, seat belts, and taxes on our earnings, including a payroll tax that gives us a right to social security and Medicare benefits. Why no objections to these and countless other mandates? The author’s ideology considers any risk–benefit mask question irrelevant.
The U.S. has about 5% of the world’s population, but currently has 22% of the 702,000 worldwide deaths from COVID-19. Our 5% proportion would be 35,000 deaths instead of 165,000. If we had achieved that much control, we would likely be opening all schools, like many countries are. These other countries, in effect, followed our in-place CDC pandemic control plans, whereas our federal government chose “freedom from” many mandates in exchange for greater “imprisonment” from the virus.
A prominent Christian ethics theologian has written, “The first duty of every person is not to find its freedom, but its Master.” Another has written, “For Christians, freedom is not the absence of any constraint upon our will, and it is not to choose whatever we will; it is the freedom to choose well.”
Two relevant questions are: (1) did we choose well in the last presidential election, and (2) will we choose well in the next? The above letter linked the “Mark of the Beast” with modern Russia. Given President Trump’s admiration of Putin, this places President Trump close to the satanic Beast. That is a choice that I do not think we want.