Opinion | Kim McGahey: Decisions should be left to individuals
Conservative Common Sense
The experts first said there could be up to 1.7 million deaths in the U.S. We were cautious, fearful and willing to pull together to avoid that frightening outcome. So we capitulated en masse and sacrificed our First Amendment freedoms for the greater good — something a benevolent society like ours should do. With more questions than answers, we willingly chipped in to flatten the curve.
Now, it turns out not to be millions of deaths but 290,000, most of which are people older than 65 with comorbidities living in retirement homes. This vulnerable population needs to be protected.
However, government-imposed mask mandates, occupancy restrictions, business shutdowns and community lockdowns haven’t been able to control a virus that is admittedly uncontrollable. That’s because nothing the government does or can do will eliminate cases. Cases are the big scare tactic being used by liberal governments and the media to control our behavior. Yet it is the least relevant statistic available to support public policies intended to manage this virus.
Since we’ve tried all the unsuccessful Big Brother solutions to achieve the goal of normal life, let’s try a people solution that would solve the open-for-business and the mask issues.
A people solution would allow individuals and business owners to decide for themselves how they want to behave without government coercion. A business owner has the constitutional right to operate a business as they see fit. Likewise, a consumer has a similar right to patronize a business or not.
You and your family can make the same decisions now being made for you by our Democratic governor, Summit County commissioners and town councils. You would be careful, engage in social distancing when appropriate, mask up when in close proximity to others and generally avoid gatherings if you have comorbidities. But you can take all these precautions on your own and still live a healthy life in a free society until the vaccine arrives.
Our progressive politicians don’t believe this because they have seen how easily Americans were willing to indefinitely suspend their freedoms out of ignorance and blind trust. This authoritarian control must now be curbed by individuals and business owners who are ready to speak up. Otherwise, our future will be dominated by this unauthorized power grab.
If a Summit County restaurant had a “no mask required” sign on the door and wanted to operate at 100% occupancy, that owner would see if the buying public would enter the business. The opposite is also true. A “mask required” sign on the door would either attract or repel customers. The invisible hand of supply and demand will solve the problem without unnecessary government control, which is presently starving local restaurants.
An individual consumer should be able to decide for themselves which Summit County restaurants they will enter, if any. The buyers will make a fast determination on the public health and profitability result of such a personal decision. It is not the county manager’s responsibility to interfere in the free market selection process. Individuals need to take responsibility for their own actions and protections and not expect the guy down the street to take care of them.
Experience tells us that COVID-19 aerosol transmission rarely occurs in the open air and is mostly passed between people in close proximity over an extended period of time. So outdoor masks mandates are useless and should be left to the individual.
We also have learned that children rarely pass the virus on to adults. Schools should be opened for full-time, in-person learning for all parents who make that family decision. Also, a remote learning alternative should be offered to parents with that preference.
School attendance facilitates more than simply learning and is an integral part of our social structure. School provides education, nutrition, health care, psychological evaluation and domestic abuse monitoring. It allows parents to participate in the daily workforce and earn income for their families.
This people solution will promote accurate information dissemination while protecting the public health and avoiding local economic disaster.
Kim McGahey’s column “Conservative Common Sense” publishes Tuesdays in the Summit Daily News. McGahey is a real estate broker, tea party activist and Republican candidate. He has lived in Breckenridge since 1978. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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