Barbara Koeppel Original

A Pain In the Mask: The Freedom Fighters’ Fuss

Why does a simple ordinance to protect community health make people pretend freedom is an absolute?
Demonstrators hold signs as they protest the lockdown and wearing masks Saturday, June 27, 2020, in Huntington Beach, Calif. [AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez]

By Barbara Koeppel / Original to Scheerpost

Given the clamor from the never-wear-masks folks who insist that the Democrats want to take away their freedoms, you’d think they lived on some other-worldly planet or county.  

Where does anyone live sans rules? Politicians repeatedly remind us that the U.S. is a nation of rules and laws. And, most people follow most of them. Moreover, if they broke some of the boilerplate variety, they could soon land in court or the slammer. Just as dramatic, if they ignore those set by the market — which means you have to pay to play — they’ll lose basic goods or services.

Thus, we ask how long they’d be free to:

  • Speed down a city street at 60 miles an hour in a 25-mile-an hour zone?
  • Drive while mildly or majorly drunk?
  • Smoke in smoke-free buildings or airplanes?
  • Board airplanes without passing through security checks and relinquishing water or shampoo bottles larger than three ounces?
  • Stroll naked down Main Street?
  • Marry three women—all at once?
  • Stop paying child support?
  • Falsely scream “fire” in a movie or theater?
  • Chop down a neighbor’s tree that’s blocking their view?
  • Let their dogs run free in cities with leash laws?
  • Have sex with someone under 16, 17 or 18? (the “age of consent” varies by state)
  • Make obscene phone calls?
  • Neglect to shovel the snow on the sidewalk in front of their house?
  • Threaten someone with a knife or gun?
  • Play the drums on a street corner past the city’s noise ordinance hour?
  • Steal and murder?

As for the market-based rules, do those who are so miffed about masks ignore utility bills or car loans? Doubtful, unless they’re happy to live without electricity or water (hard to do in any season, let along now, when temperatures hover over 85 in much of the country), or have their cars disappear with the tow truck?

So what’s so different about requiring people to wear masks — temporarily — until the virus has abated? It’s but one of hundreds of rules we follow daily.

We learn about rules early on. Children in nursery school and kindergarten that some behavior isn’t welcome.

We learn about rules early on. Children in nursery school and kindergarten learn that some behavior isn’t welcome. In later grades, teachers don’t use canes to win compliance, but rule breakers may find themselves in the principal’s office or expelled.

It’s obvious the mask and COVID-19 deniers are angry, as is their warrior in the White House. But the gripe about losing their freedom is bogus — a bit of sound and fury signifying well, really nothing. Those who complain the loudest might do best to seek counseling. At the least, someone should tell them their grievance is groundless.

Barbara Koeppel
Barbara Koeppel

Barbara Koeppel is an investigative reporter based in Washington, D.C., who covers social, economic, military, foreign policy and whistleblower issues.

Copyright 2020 Barbara Koeppel

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