Pellerin: Don’t flout COVID rules in the name of ‘freedom’ – London Free Press (Blogs)

Posted: April 21, 2021 at 9:31 am

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Having spent some time in libertarian circles, I'm dismayed by politicians associated with that movement openly flouting public health guidelines and rules enacted to deal with COVID-19 in the name of a narrow, selfish definition of freedom.

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Having spent some time in libertarian circles, Im dismayed by politicians associated with that movement openly flouting public health guidelines and rules enacted to deal with COVID-19 in the name of a narrow, selfish definition of freedom.

The whole basis of libertarianism, as I understand it, is we dont need governments to tell us what to do, that free, informed and decent citizens know how to do the right thing. I think its fair to say the last few weeks have shown this belief system to be a dangerous illusion when improperly applied.

I still believe that with our good hearts and proper information, we are more than capable of helping create a better, freer, fairer and more prosperous world. That good people will do whats necessary to protect their fellows and themselves, even if that entails sacrifices. Back in September, I wrote: We are, fundamentally, . . . a free people. We are also . . . empathetic creatures. Freedom alone, exercised without restraints, leads to anarchy and selfishness. Empathy by itself is powerless to do anything. Our superpower is activated when we combine those two features.

Except for the, er, exceptions. Ontario Premier Doug Ford is fond of calling those who defy public health restrictions yahoos. But even he wouldnt use that term to describe elected officials. People such as Ontario MPP Randy Hillier, federal party leader Maxime Bernier and what appears to be one-quarter of Alberta Premier Jason Kennedys caucus are among those who seem proud to show themselves as dangerous, irresponsible refuseniks. And Im trying to be polite.

Its easy to dismiss folks who fund Ezra Levants Rebel out of frustration with politics, and the ill-informed Twitter troll army. But when so many in positions of power and authority encourage others to show up unmasked at a Kemptville bar or an Edmonton-area church claiming the police state (sic) is attacking Christians by enforcing public-health regulations, we have a problem. When these people need ventilators at an overcrowded ICU, whose fault will it be? Is it OK for them to use hospital resources while kids with complex medical needs, whove been following public health guidelines, endure more delays in necessary treatments because hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID patients, especially if they caught COVID bey ignoring safety rules?

Whose freedom is really at risk, here? Whose rights are infringed?

I dont want lectures about freedom from people unwilling to make relatively small personal sacrifices for the common good. Not to minimize the real hardships many Canadians endure because of COVID; they are real, and they hurt. So do smaller sacrifices we all make. But if you wont tolerate a face mask or virtual religious services when everyone else is on Zoom for everything, dont tell me how your rights are being violated by a tyrannical public health autocracy.

Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand. Im not here to tell you what to do or believe, but if, like me, you are disgusted with elected officials encouraging greed, selfishness and deliberate endangerment of others in the name of freedom, vow never to vote them, and their dangerous ideology, back in.

Brigitte Pellerin is an Ottawa writer

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Pellerin: Don't flout COVID rules in the name of 'freedom' - London Free Press (Blogs)

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