The 1st amendment of the United States Constitution states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The right of the people to peaceably assemble can be taken away as long as enough panic and hysteria justifies it.
The 2020 Coronavirus pandemic has many troubling angles in the age old debate of freedom vs safety. As many people worry about where they are going to get their next roll of toilet paper, many wonder if they are giving up too much of their rights for the idea of being safe.
Once upon a time, the founding fathers of America were disgusted at the idea of giving up personal liberty for what the state called ‘safety’. Benjamin Franklin once famously said:
“Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Thomas Jefferson agreed adding in:
“He who gives his freedom for safety gets none of them.”
In the face of the COVID-19 virus which started in Wuhan, China and has now spread to many areas in the world, calls increase every day for a nationwide shutdown of the United States.
As of this writing, the Coronavirus has a 1.3% death rate of those who have been confirmed to be infected in the United States of America. However, COVID-19 has become justification for those to advocate for a complete suspension of the Constitution.
States such as New York and California have initiated stay home orders, forcing citizens to stay in their homes or risk fines and imprisonment for leaving.
States such as Kentucky have utilized police forces to confine those infected into their home.
States such as New Jersey have declared guns to be a non-essential business thus citizens are temporarily denied their 2nd amendment rights:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
There is no doubt that freedoms and liberty has been temporarily suspended in the United States and there is a good chance that it could be months before our freedoms are given back to us by the state. The scary part of this story is that there are many people in America who think that this is a good thing.
Many people who believe that circumstances overthrow rights meaning that if your rights conflict with my safety then to hell with your rights, to hell with EVERYONE’S right.
So when have we given up too much and should we give up freedoms for safety?
Actress Evangeline Lilly made headlines a couple of days ago because she took to social media to say that she would not self-quarantine in the face of the Coronavirus scare because it was her freedom to do so. Lilly lives with her father who is stricken with stage 4 leukemia, he likely doesn’t have much time left without the virus.
But Lilly’s refusal to abide by “House Arrest rules” angered those on social media who claim she was putting others at risk by not staying home.
Lilly disagreed with the idea of a global shutdown and said the following:
“I am living with my father at the moment, who has stage four leukemia.
I am also immune compromised at the moment. I have two young kids. Some people value their lives over freedom, some people value freedom over their lives. We all make our choices.
I think we all need to slow down, take a breath and look at the facts we are being presented with. They do not add up to the all-out, global lockdown, control, pandemonia and insanity we are experiencing.” – Lilly said
Lilly doesn’t believe in a complete global shutdown overseen by the state. However, many people don’t agree with her statement and believe she should stay home. This sentiment isn’t just shared by one political ideology. Democrats, Republicans, and even some Libertarians are on board with the idea that in the face of pandemic, safety trumps rights.
One of these people is Actress Sophie Turner, who not only took a shot at Lilly but put it very bluntly, she doesn’t care about your freedoms.
“Stay inside, don’t be f**king stupid, even if you count your freedom over, I don’t know, what is it, your health???
“I don’t give a F about your freedom. You could be infecting other people, other vulnerable people around you, by doing this. So stay inside, guys. It’s not cool and it’s not big and it’s not clever. And that’s the tea,” Turner said.
Everyone knows the old saying “Give me liberty, or give me death!” Well, now you have to choose. Do you want Liberty? Or do you want to die? That seems to be the phrasing of the topic at hand. Give up your basic freedoms or you could get someone killed. So which one is it going to be?
As of this writing, we don’t know how much longer rights will be suspended. In the United States over 35,000 confirmed cases of corona have been confirmed thus far and out of that over 400 people have died. But for the remaining 320+million American citizens, how much longer will you have to wait before you are allowed to return to your basic freedoms?
If we are lucky, it could be in April for most of the country. If we are not lucky, it could be August or later. If things go south, you could never get those rights back.
It may not feel like it at this moment but the choice between freedom and safety is one that many Americans could be forced to make in the near future and if that is the case, which side would you rather take. You may want to take one now because the alternative might not be available in the future.