In various letters, Jack and Judy Nordland and Mark Potts have screamed about their “rights” in protest of stay-at-home orders and other COVID-19-related restrictions. They have done so apparently without reading the Declaration of Independence written by our founders.
To quote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed ...”
If you read it carefully, you see that the first right given by the Creator, and to be secured by governments, is “Life.”
That makes sense to me. Without life, there can be no liberty or pursuit of happiness.
So, the first and most fundamental purpose of government is to protect our lives.
Not only is that what the pandemic restrictions are trying to do, they have actually done so. The stay-at-home orders, the social distancing rules and the closures have sharply decreased the rise in cases and deaths where they have been instituted. And the lifting of those restrictions is already leading to increased cases in many states.
Had federal and state officials instituted those restrictions just one week earlier, a Columbia University study has found, we would have saved 36,000 lives — the most fundamental right that a government is expected to protect.
Finally, one more quote, this time from the late economist John Kenneth Galbraith:
“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”