Opinion: COVID-19 - Re-Open the Economy
A recent front-page article in a local Dallas newspaper outlined 13 points "demonstrating how coronavirus has upended North Texas". Some of the points were good, some were not so good, and a couple were humorous.
"One day I feel I'm on top of the world, and the next it's falling in on me."
We hear and read the varied opinions in our media news feeds that this virus is a hoax, or that the media is conflating it for some political gain, or that folks would rather risk exposure than be moderately inconvenienced, and so believe that the precautions being taken by many are unwarranted.
I was asked, amid the current divide about how best to contain the spread of COVID-19, what a Libertarian response to the crisis would be. Given that Libertarians believe in "self-determination", "self-defense", and "do no harm", the most logical and patriotic courses of action are to self-quarantine, but if you must go out, take adequate precautions such that you will have a reasonable assurance that (1) you will not contract the virus yourself, and (2) you will not inadvertently expose someone else to the virus (should you be an undiagnosed carrier).
Libertarians oppose the idea that the government has the ability to force individuals or businesses to do anything. That said, I would be making the same restrictions against large gatherings, on-site dining, and on-site working operations; and that those businesses and restaurants that can operate on a remote - or more restricted - basis should do so. It's not a perfect solution, but these are imperfect times. My purpose as a Libertarian is to preserve both your safety and your liberty together. This is why, now more than ever, I believe that Libertarianism is needed as a prevailing voice in America.
"One day I feel I'm ahead of the wheel, and the next it's rolling over me."
Despite its apparent general benefit to the physical health and safety of the public, many of us are suffering under this enforced lockdown. I believe that we need to physically re-engage with each other, and we need to resume business activity. In other words, we need to reopen the economy, but remain conscious of the risks.
An analogy: Smoking is bad for your health, but some people still choose to smoke regardless of that knowledge. As a result, businesses have designated specific areas for smokers so that they can do so without unduly affecting others, but remains the responsibility of the smoker to be mindful of others.
Our Constitution states its purpose to be "to form a more perfect Union", which I think was our Founding Fathers' way of saying "work together". This has always been the solution.
Believe me when I tell you that I understand the need to restore the country's economic condition. I hear from friends, family, and folks all over who are out of work because of the shutdowns imposed by state and local governments. These Americans are worried about taking care of themselves and their families, and how they are going to go about resuming any sort of normality post-virus.
"It's a far cry from the world we thought we'd inherit. It's a far cry from the way we thought we'd share it."
We need to let small businesses in particular re-open, but to do so mindfully. Follow the advice of scientific community. Continue taking necessary precautions as advised by the center for Disease Control (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html), as well as give forethought to how we might improve upon these recommendations as needed for local businesses and communities. I am committed to serving your safety, your success, and your liberty altogether.
Make no mistake; the country, and indeed the world, will not be returning to "business as usual" after this crisis has passed. Perhaps that's a good thing.