Boots & Sabers

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0735, 10 Dec 20

Liberty trumps longevity

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News earlier this week.

I have been operating under the assumption that the COVID-19 pandemic would end the same way every other viral pandemic ends: virtually everyone will catch it or be vaccinated for it. My number came up a few weeks ago as I was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have opposed using the violent, coercive power of government to impose lockdowns, restrictions, mask orders, and the like. Using the blunt instrument of government to fight a natural phenomenon is anti-liberty and results in countless negative consequences that we are just beginning to understand. Our government is useful to pool resources and provide information, but individual citizens retain the right and responsibility to live their lives according their own values and risk assessments.

Even though I oppose tyrannical government decrees, I do understand the science of viral infections. I did not want to get sick and I did not want to get other people sick. Like many Americans, I have spent months wearing a mask when out in public, obsessively washing hands, sanitizing surfaces, avoiding close contact with people (something that goes well with my misanthropic tendencies), and staying close to home.

At the same time, I am not going to give up months and years of living for the miniscule risk of death from COVID19. I took reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of disease, but I did not live like a recluse. I supported local restaurants and stores, fetched groceries, attended to my routine health care needs, enjoyed the parks, cheered on my teams, worked, played, and went about living my life.

In the end, they call it “inevitable” for a reason. Despite taking CDC-recommended precautions, I caught COVID-19. I don’t know where it came from. I did not knowingly come into contact with anyone else who had it. Likely, I caught it in passing from someone at a grocery store or restaurant who may not have known that they had it.

The first indication was a scratchy cough on a Friday in November. Saturday and Sunday were pretty crummy. I experienced varying degrees of fatigue, aching joints, coughing, headache, and general symptoms between a bad cold and a mild flu. By Monday I was feeling better but decided to get tested for COVID-19. By Thursday, I was almost completely better, and my test came back positive. Per CDC guidelines, I isolated for another 10 days, spent some time on the phone with a contact tracer (she was delightful), and now I am back to normal, except now I have a super-charged COVID-19-killing immune system.

COVID-19 is a nasty disease that is severe or deadly for some people. We need to be careful about spreading it — particularly to people in higher risk categories. But for every story you read about someone who was severely ill or died from COVID-19, there are more than 40 people whose story is more like mine. It was a rough few days and I am fine. That does not include all of the people who have had COVID-19 and did not get tested or never had any symptoms.

The point of the story is not that COVID-19 isn’t serious. It is very serious for a small percentage of people. For most people, however, the risk is a few days of unpleasantness. For most people, a few days of unpleasantness is not worth throwing away our livelihoods, our children’s education, our mental health, our life’s savings, our liberty, or our enjoyment of life. For most people, we have already sacrificed too much of life for so small a risk of death.

Fear is a powerful emotion. Fear is also the emotion most often used to subjugate people. Fear of war. Fear of enemies. Fear of natural disasters. Fear of global warming. Fear of disease. All of these fears have been, and are, used to convince free people to accept more regulation, more restrictions, more government, and less freedom. “It is for your own good,” they coax in soothing tones. “Think of grandma,” they say to stoke your familial loyalties. “You don’t want to get the dreaded virus,” they warn as if the politician has exclusive magic to protect you from disease. Meanwhile, they strip away one more liberty and stick their hand further in your pocket.

Hearing a politician say, “trust me, I am here to help” should make every freedom-loving American’s hair stand on end. Living longer is less important than living free. In the case of COVID-19, we must each evaluate the risk according to our individual characteristics and tolerance for risk, but not impose our choices on our neighbors through the police power of government.



0735, 10 December 2020


  1. Mar

    This is mostly about politics and fear rather than science.
    Science went out the window a long time ago.
    So, now the media, government and some health officials are using fear and politics to gain power.
    Bye bye science. It was good to know you.

  2. Jason


    No no no, it’s always about the science, never about politics or fear or power.  This lady owns a restaurant and set up an outdoor eating area in compliance with the restrictions.  Then more lockdowns were announced and she could not open being “non-essential”.   However, 50′ from her a nearly identical outdoor area was set up over night to cater food for the cast and crew of a movie set.

    Kingdoms vary in size, tyrants never do.

  3. Owen
    1. Kingdoms vary in size, tyrants never do.

      I’m totally going to steal that for a future column :)


  4. Jason

    Have at it, I’m sure I heard it in Shrek or something!  :)

  5. Le Roi du Nord

    “Science went out the window a long time ago.”

    Certainly for folks on your side of the aisle.  Not so for the smart folks.

  6. Mar

    “Not so for the smart folks.”
    I’ll bet a thousand dollars, you are not one of the.
    And you are not even qualified to comment on this thread, you little troll.
    Now, go back and play with your imaginary friends.

  7. Tuerqas

    “Science went out the window a long time ago.”
    Certainly for folks on your side of the aisle.  Not so for the smart folks

    Right, so long as the ‘smart folks’ are the ones with jobs that don’t stop paying…

    There is incontrovertible proof that statistics are used with false facts and facts are used to make false statistics in regards to Covid, but you will use biased data and misleading stats to ‘prove science’.  Doesn’t sound that smart to me, but I guess from your pedestal of self infused superiority all science is good science so long as people with your agenda pump them out.

  8. Le Roi du Nord

    “ of the.”    Well it’s is even more obvious that you aren’t one of the smart folks.  And where on earth would you get $1000 ?  And what are your qualifications, pray tell?


    No question that statistics can be used by folks to stretch the truth, exaggerate, etc.  Hence my request for k to show his work on another thread.  But the soon-to-be former administration has denied science at every turn: wind turbines cause cancer, HCQ will treat/cure coronavirus, CC/GW is a hoax, etc.  There are all sorts of examples where the soon-to-be former administration has denied valid, proven science to appease the devoted and gullible followers, and placed said followers  at risk.  I really don’t care what you or those devoted followers believe, but the facts speak for themselves.

  9. Tuerqas

    Le Roi, I never said Republicans spoke/believed truth while you or libs in general speak/believe lies, I’ll leave that to Mar.  Saying and even proving that Republicans spew and/or believe in crocks doesn’t lift you off the hook that Dems do the same thing.  Personally, I believe libs are worse, though.  Both sides resort to demagoguery and fact/stat obfuscation and Covid is just one example.  Dems consistently pretend their theories are ‘science’, however, and have implied for decades that science is fact rather than a series of lesser or greater approved theories.  Because of this their lib followers have gained a false elitism that makes them even more resistant to looking at opposing/dissenting views than cons because they have been told that the scientists are ‘all’ on their side….and so become even more insufferable in the process.


  10. Kevin Scheunemann


    You embrace science?

    Where did all the material leading up to Big Bang come from?

    You have not embraced science, but faith pretending to be science.


  11. Mar

    Well, the sociopath is just like the “experts”.
    They have been mostly wrong.
    They are hateful.
    They are incompetent.
    They embrace dictarorship.
    They are nobody’s who love power.
    They lie.
    They mislead people.
    They slander people.
    Yep, the sociopath and “science experts” have a lot in common.

  12. dad29


    Some people lie

    Smart people catch them.  So when y’all lied about GW, you changed it to CC.  We noted that, along with “smart people” Fraudci’s “mask on, mask off, CLAPPER!!” bullshit, and “smart people” Biden’s inability to speak coherently for more than 5 minutes, even when reading from a prompter.

    Smart people also noticed that you and your ilk placed a crazy woman as #2 to Biden.

    Then we went out and bought more ammo.  Smart!

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