• Ryan James Carlson

Bat-swingers in the dark

No one has the right to recklessly endanger other people. And even where we have the right to assume risks for ourselves, we don't have the right to impose risks on other people. If activities that are normally safe and legal endanger others in specific circumstances, those activities do not retain their righthood – they become subject to the rights that we all have of not being harmed by the foreseeable consequences of other people's decisions. I can swing a baseball bat in a public park. But what if it's dark and I can't see who's around me? Do I have a right to swing my bat?

I don't have a “bat-swinging right” that applies in all circumstances – I have a right to do things that are not going to hurt someone else, and in many settings that would include swinging a bat. If I swing a bat without being able to assess whether or not I might hit someone, that is irresponsible of me, and if I actually hit someone and it can be determined that I could reasonably have guessed that I might, it will be deemed an illegal act that I was not entitled to do.

This is the situation we all face now with the coronavirus. None of us knows for sure if we have it – it exists in every state and almost everyone has some degree of potential exposure – and we know that it can hurt and kill others, so there is no basis for asserting that we have the "right" to do things that might bring about death just because we can normally do those things safely. We are in the dark about the risk of all activities in which we are not taking care to avoid causing danger – bat-swingers in the dark. That ain't freedom.

#Coronavirus #Covid-19 #SARS-CoV-2 #Masks #Freedom #SocialDistancing #PhysicalDistancing

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