The “Freedom” Argument on Staying Home Is Ridiculous

The conservative media and Trump base are incensed about their freedom. They believe that these “stay at home” orders are akin to imprisonment.

Of course, in prison you don’t get to shop online, get deliveries, work in the yard, or call and text to whomever you want….but still….prison.

Walking to the Michigan Capitol steps armed with weapons and wearing camo gear, does not make any kind of point other than that people are going to naturally socially distance themselves from you. But it has no real value in explaining freedom.

There is nothing about stay at home orders that takes away freedom. It is meant to be the same as seat belts in cars, mandatory carbon monoxide detectors in homes, speed limits on the highways, or fire safety inspections at businesses. It is for the protection of the general welfare – not taking away your freedom.

The main difference with Covid19 is the asymptomatic nature of the spread. Yes, it is just slightly more lethal than the normal flu – but at this moment we cannot tell how far reaching the spread is or how many people are walking carriers.

If a face mask was the only thing needed for protection then staying at home would not have to be part of the prevention plan. A face mask is a good idea but it is not any guarantee of stopping the spread.

Then there is this very weird statistical argument. The idea is that it is only older people or previously sick people who are dying. Why should young and healthy people have to undergo the same restrictions? Why indeed.

First of all, that kind of callous calculation is beneath the dignity of American values. Those old people are parents and grandparents of thousands of other Americans. And it is their healthy relatives that could end their life. Once again, asymptomatic carriers bring the virus to these nursing homes and senior living centers. We could get into the problems of “warehousing” the elderly at some other time, but the fact is that right now, these elderly Americans are highly vulnerable in these facilities.

And let’s also keep in mind that we do not know enough about this virus to make blanket assumptions. We are learning that there are effects of this virus on blood clotting which have caused strokes in younger people. And that although fewer young people become symptomatic, those that do are often sicker than their elderly counterparts. Viruses attack the vulnerable and they mutate to attack more.

Those that believe staying at home is too much of an inconvenience to tolerate for any amount of time, are very short sighted individuals. And if they were just risking themselves, I would say go right ahead…knock yourself out….literally. But every person who does not social distance when out and about – every business that does not allow for minimum guidelines for protective measures – every gun toting idiot who waves their gun and shouts “down with tyranny” is affecting every individual around them and their families.

This isn’t about taking away freedoms – it is about having consideration and caution for our families, our neighbors, our friends.

If it is too much to ask for that consideration, then we have lost more than our freedom – we have lost our humanity.