Whether or not I will wear a mask is my right to decide. My face, and everything under that umbrella that wearing a mask directly affects, including the quality of my respiration, my overall comfort, my visibility, both physical and emotional, to the world around me, what I can/cannot smell, and the health of the skin on my face, belong to me, after all, and not to anyone else. Those things are aspects of my experience of life, and not of anyone else’s. I therefore ought to possess the final say regarding what will affect all of those things. People decry my sentiment on this score, contending that mask-wearing is a duty right now, an act that serves the greater good. Whether or not it does, however (and there is increasing reason to believe that it may not), cannot compete with the fact of my sovereignty. I, Sha’Kim Bush, am sovereign. I have ownership over myself. You don’t own me. And I don’t own you. If we, the people of the world, don’t become cognizant of this essential reality, we will one day find ourselves in a closed, lockdown society, where human rights are an antiquated ideal. More dangerous than any virus, the popular view of which can, in light of certain, unappreciated science, be properly questioned in the case of COVID-19, is our forgetting of what it means to be free. This threat, this virus if you will, looms greater now than it ever has.
Good ideas don’t require coercion to be implemented. The necessity of wearing a mask is a matter that must be left to individuals to decide. Or, perhaps our governments do not have that kind of faith in us. Do individuals lack the wisdom required to do what will most benefit them? Here’s something to ask yourself. If the people cannot be trusted to make the right decisions for their own health, why should they be allowed to decide anything for themselves? Remember that you are one of the people. Why should you have any liberty, in any sphere of life? Maybe it would be best to just let the “experts,” that is to say, in the case of COVID-19, those people who keep on changing their tune regarding the nature and behavior of this virus, dictate our every last move in this life.
Personally, I’d rather not live in that world. I’d rather call home a world in which people have the liberty to live as they see fit according to their own assessment of the available facts that are relevant to any given situation, so long as they are not harming others. That is what ought to determine whether or not someone puts a mask on. Their own justly arrived at understanding of the risks and rewards, of the likely costs and benefits, of doing so. Can people not be trusted to do that for themselves? Can you not be trusted?
As it turns out, in the case of wearing a mask to protect against contracting SARS-CoV-2, there is more than one conclusion that might be arrived at regarding those costs and benefits.
By Sha’Kim Bush
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