closeup N95 air filter mask. personal protective equipment in office with soft-focus and over light in the background
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No doubt you’ve heard of anti-vaxers but just in case, this is what Wikipedia says:

Vaccine hesitancy, also known as anti-vaccination or anti-vax, is a reluctance or refusal to be vaccinated or to have one’s children vaccinated against contagious diseases despite the availability of vaccination services. It is identified by the World Health Organization as one of the top ten global health threats of 2019. The term encompasses outright refusal to vaccinate, delaying vaccines …

During COVID-19 we now have a similar but new phenomenon, anti-maskers, people who refuse to wear a face mask when in public during the pandemic. Their main argument is that it is against their personal liberty in that everyone should have the right to live their lives as they see fit, yet this argument does not hold water.

Everyone in society accepts that there are some things that they can not do for society to prevail. For example society accepts the right of an individual to defend themselves but not to go out and kill someone, however much that individual sees fit. To live in society we must all give up some of our personal liberties. A less extreme example would be that we willingly drive on the same side of the road rather than driving where we like.

In truth then no individual has rights in isolation just as nobody can live in isolation. An anti-masker’s claim that they have a right to make a choice about their own health risks flies directly in the face of those who they may or may not infect. Their right not to wear a mask is at odds with another’s right not to be infected.

I consider myself to be a libertarian, a philosophical movement that seeks to maximize political freedom and autonomy. I accept however that there is a limit to my liberty and that I must trade in some of my instincts for the benefit of society at large. This is why representative government is essential in that it should prescribe acceptable levels of liberty which we, as citizens, can formally challenge.

By the way, I will be wearing a mask when in shops, crowded areas and public transport for the foreseeable future.

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