Antidote to Prescribed Prejudice

Under COVID restrictions, we’re living a reversal of the charitable principle“innocent until proven guilty...”

...We operate under a new principle: that individuals should be regarded as “sick until proven healthy.” When this proof will arrive, who really knows? Perhaps this was a reasonable measure at the outset of the pandemic, but I wonder how much longer we will justify holding our friends, classmates, neighbors, andextended families at arm’s length or further.

It is not as if the old way was to recklessly endanger ourselves or others in the midst of pandemics. No one has ever welcomed sickness with open arms. But we did deal with it differently. Recently, I was singled out by an employee in a bookstore. I had lowered my mask to my chin because I tend to over-breathe when I wear it for extended periods. The employee chided me in front of my children: a surprisingly acute blow to my dignity. The brief exchange pushed me to reflect.

It is apparent that goalposts have shifted several times since our nation first set out to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Measures were first implemented to prevent overwhelmed hospitals. Then prolonged to prevent deaths. Now, further prolonged to prevent cases. If the standard of love that Christ lays down is to love others as we love ourselves, then self-preservation alone would motivate us to comply with the government’s measures in the event of any true emergency. Many, many Americans are ready and willing to come out from behind their masks and resume normal life, yet restrictions persist.

At the heart of the most drastic measures is the concern about asymptomatic transmission. Allegedly, even asymptomatic individuals with COVID-19 pose a significant health risk to those around them. There is never any single uniform scientific opinion on any matter, but I did find sufficient evidence to cause me to question this basic claim, which begs the question: should entire nations be subservient to a body of experts who disagree amongst themselves--whose efforts are easily compromised by bias, conflict of interest, and simple human error?

Instead of allowing individuals the freedom to assess the risks and engage with those risks in the manner that they choose, government officials are dictating the lives of millions on the basis of ever-shifting “science.” Is this a precedent that we want to stick? When it comes to hitting the sweet spot between anarchy and totalitarianism in the fight against a novel virus, which better fits the bill: millions at the mercy of a fallible few or millions who are naturally held in check by their own desire for self- preservation and the preservation of those they love? For freedom lovers, the answer is clear.

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© 2020 by S.P. Clifton