In the latest example of nonsensical utterings by a member of the current presidential administration, I heard Attorney General William Barr proclaim last week that measures put in …
In the latest example of nonsensical utterings by a member of the current presidential administration, I heard Attorney General William Barr proclaim last week that measures put in place to combat the spread of coronavirus have been the biggest restrictions of individual liberty since slavery. Quite a comparison.
I look out the picture window of my living room, I see the chimney of the hospital at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, and think about the curtailing of civil liberties. It seems odd to me that the attorney general would need to be reminded of a relevant Supreme Court ruling proclaiming that, “in every well ordered society charged with the duty of conserving the safety of its members the rights of the individual in respect of his liberty may at times, under the pressure of great dangers, be subjected to such restraint, to be enforced by reasonable regulations, as the safety of the general public may demand.” (Jacobson vs. Massachusetts, 1905)
It is generally agreed, and upheld time and again, that there are no absolute rights. The idea that reckless behavior should not be constrained is belied by an abundance of regulations curtailing such behavior in every arena of society. For the attorney general to compare the horrid injustice of slavery to stay at home orders and self-quarantine is absurd, particularly in the face of his reaction to protesters in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, in using extreme measures to enforce curfews or to otherwise disperse citizens from the streets.
When pandemic deniers start getting whipped and hanged, their children sold to high bidders, when they’re forced to whatever labors their overseers see fit to impose, we can start to make comparisons to slavery.
The fact that the leader of our country is incapable of setting a good example in no way diminishes the state’s right to protect its citizens.