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Personal Freedom vs. Public Welfare

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  • Personal Freedom vs. Public Welfare

    When people get organized into groups, they set up rules. Rules that interfere with personal freedom. A church, for example, may have membership dues, or expect you to dress a certain way during prayers, or to be quiet at certain times. The biggest penalty that you may run into if you don't follow the rules is that you will be thrown out of the group. Nobody is going to whip or imprison you for talking during the sermon.

    Other groups, for example countries (though I think this applies to tribal groups as well), have more rules, and more ways to enforce them. Many of these rules are for the public good, but they often infringe on personal freedom, and they are enforced, in most countries by fines, imprisonment or in extreme cases the death penalty.

    Traffic rules are an example. You can get fined, or lose your driver's license for parking in the wrong place, running a red light, not stopping at a stop sign, and a host of other rules. In some places you can go to prison for driving without a license, or driving drunk- because the state has decided to infringe on your personal freedom for the public good. The state forces you to pay taxes. Sometimes it forces you to join the army. That's what governments do. All governments do this to some degree, not just totalitarian ones (as some try to pretend).

    The question is- what ought to be the limitations on this? I'm obviously bringing this up because of the current mask issue, but the problem is a general one.

    How does one draw the line?

  • #2
    Originally posted by chair View Post
    When people get organized into groups, they set up rules. Rules that interfere with personal freedom. A church, for example, may have membership dues, or expect you to dress a certain way during prayers, or to be quiet at certain times. The biggest penalty that you may run into if you don't follow the rules is that you will be thrown out of the group. Nobody is going to whip or imprison you for talking during the sermon.

    Other groups, for example countries (though I think this applies to tribal groups as well), have more rules, and more ways to enforce them. Many of these rules are for the public good, but they often infringe on personal freedom, and they are enforced, in most countries by fines, imprisonment or in extreme cases the death penalty.

    Traffic rules are an example. You can get fined, or lose your driver's license for parking in the wrong place, running a red light, not stopping at a stop sign, and a host of other rules. In some places you can go to prison for driving without a license, or driving drunk- because the state has decided to infringe on your personal freedom for the public good. The state forces you to pay taxes. Sometimes it forces you to join the army. That's what governments do. All governments do this to some degree, not just totalitarian ones (as some try to pretend).

    The question is- what ought to be the limitations on this? I'm obviously bringing this up because of the current mask issue, but the problem is a general one.

    How does one draw the line?
    Does your *freedom* infringe on the life and well being of others? That would be my starting point.

    Great topic.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by chair
      All governments do this to some degree, not just totalitarian ones ...

      All governments are totalitarian to some degree.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by chair View Post
        I'm obviously bringing this up because of the current mask issue, but the problem is a general one.

        How does one draw the line?
        For the Democrats, the line won't get drawn until after the election. They need people wearing masks as walking billboards advertising that everyone needs to live in fear and paranoia over this "pandemic."

        This fear will give the Democrats their excuse to demand mail-in voting which is a very easy way for them to cheat. They'll claim people could catch the virus in the voting booths.

        They promote this virus like it's the second coming of the bubonic plague.



        WARNING: Graphic video here.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Jefferson View Post

          For the Democrats, the line won't get drawn until after the election. They need people wearing masks as walking billboards advertising that everyone needs to live in fear and paranoia over this "pandemic."

          This fear will give the Democrats their excuse to demand mail-in voting which is a very easy way for them to cheat. They'll claim people could catch the virus in the voting booths.

          They promote this virus like it's the second coming of the bubonic plague.
          Please try to relate to the general question. This issue has always been around, long before there were Democrats or Republicans or masks or COVID-19. Where do you think the line should be drawn? Is it reasonable for me to be arrested for drunk driving? For running a red light? What is reasonable and what isn't? And why?

          Comment


          • #6
            Chair, you ask a question that puts the Trump crowd in an impossible position - your implied point is obviously correct: the masks are clearly an entirely warranted sacrifice of individual freedom in deference to the public good. And, of course, the Trump supporter will have none of that. If you sift through the anger, the conspiracy-thinking, and the general looniness coming from reptilian hindbrains tucked under red ball caps, one general trait becomes clear: a clear disinclination, or perhaps incapacity, for the complex thinking required to perform trade-offs between competing, desirable goals (in this case, respect for personal liberty and respect for public welfare).

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by expos4ever View Post
              Chair, you ask a question that puts the Trump crowd in an impossible position - your implied point is obviously correct: the masks are clearly an entirely warranted sacrifice of individual freedom in deference to the public good. And, of course, the Trump supporter will have none of that. If you sift through the anger, the conspiracy-thinking, and the general looniness coming from reptilian hindbrains tucked under red ball caps, one general trait becomes clear: a clear disinclination, or perhaps incapacity, for the complex thinking required to perform trade-offs between competing, desirable goals (in this case, respect for personal liberty and respect for public welfare).
              I am trying to get people to think about this logically. That will work a lot better if we step away from the emotionally charged COVID Mask topic, and look at it in a more general way.

              Comment


              • #8
                Smoking cancer sticks. Adults have the absolute right to damage themselves in private. What they shouldn’t have the right to do is spread their poison in public. Same thing with jumping off a bridge. Make sure it’s in a spot where they won’t land on someone else or destroy another person’s property.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by chair View Post
                  Is it reasonable for me to be arrested for drunk driving?
                  Who has been harmed when you drive drunk?



                  Similarly, I am free of infection for the Kung Flu - who has been harmed if I decide to walk around without a mask?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ok doser View Post

                    Who has been harmed when you drive drunk?
                    Do you really need me to answer this?

                    Originally posted by ok doser View Post
                    Similarly, I am free of infection for the Kung Flu - who has been harmed if I decide to walk around without a mask?
                    Nobody knows that they are free of infection. That is one of the reasons it spreads so easily- people without symptoms infect others, and only afterwards realize that they are sick.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by chair View Post
                      Do you really need me to answer this?
                      Yes and I'll give you a specific case. Last night I drove home drunk. Who was harmed?

                      Nobody knows that they are free of infection.
                      I do. I know that I am free of infection. Who is harmed if I decide to go out in public without a mask?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ok doser View Post

                        Yes and I'll give you a specific case. Last night I drove home drunk. Who was harmed?
                        Nobody, as far as I know. It's a question of probabilities- drunk drivers are far more likely to cause an accident.
                        So you think drunk driving is OK. How about ignoring red lights?

                        Originally posted by ok doser View Post
                        I do. I know that I am free of infection. Who is harmed if I decide to go out in public without a mask?
                        Unless you have been living in total isolation fro the past few weeks, you don't know that.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by chair View Post
                          Nobody knows that they are free of infection.
                          I wanted to flesh this out and was rushed for time.

                          I was tested for Coronavirus antibodies yesterday. My test came back negative.

                          Explain who was harmed by my decision not to wear a mask in April, May, June and the 1st three weeks of July.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ok doser View Post


                            A sorry I wanted to flesh this out and I was rushed for time. I was tested for Coronavirus antibodies yesterday. My test came back negative. Explain who was harmed By my decision not to wear a mask in April, May, June and the 1st three weeks of July.
                            It's like driving drunk and not killing anybody, or running a red light, and not killing anybody. Just because you were lucky doesn't mean it was right or smart.
                            And... you can get infected tomorrow...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by chair View Post
                              Nobody, as far as I know.
                              Exactly right - nobody was harmed yesterday by my decision to drive home drunk.

                              And yet if I had been stopped I would have been subject to the full force of the law including potential jail time and financial penalties.

                              For engaging in an action in which nobody was harmed.



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