Why COVID-19 Restrictions are Immoral – Freedom to Choose One’s Risk-Tolerance

COVID-19 has led governments to respond via mask mandates, vaccine passes, business closures/restrictions, test requirements, lockdowns, curfews, and travel bans. The defense used to justify these measures are the COVID-19 case numbers and deaths.

COVID-19 itself is actually relatively benign with an infection fatality rate around ~0.2% (below 0.05% for those under 50 years of age), and very discriminate in who it targets – only statistically affecting the old (median age of death from COVID-19 is 82.4 in the UK, above the median age of death of 81) and immunocompromised (who by definition are more at danger to everything). But due to the easy transmissibility of the virus, you end up with a large absolute number of COVID cases and deaths, which are then used to justify COVID-19 restrictions.

But even if COVID-19 had a 30% death rate and the restrictions were actually effective (many measures are totally useless and even destructive, while others are debatable), I would argue that most if not all of these COVID-19 restrictions would still be immoral.

The reason for this is – individuals have the freedom to opt in to their own desired risk tolerance. So long as individuals can choose to minimize their COVID-19 risk to practically zero, there is no reason to force entire populations to abide by the standards of a vocal minority of neurotic hypochondriacs.

Imagine for example that there was another contagious virus out in the wild that one could protect themselves from by wearing pink mini-skirts. Would it then be acceptable for governments to force everyone to wear pink mini-skirts? Of course not. In a free society, individuals should be free to do as they wish so long as they don’t endanger others. Sure someone walking around without a pink mini-skirt could pose a danger to others without pink mini-skirts, but it doesn’t matter because anyone can choose to wear a pink mini-skirt. If someone would rather risk their own death than wear a pink mini-skirt, that is their own prerogative as a free individual in a free society.

Anyone who wants to minimize their COVID-19 risk to virtually zero can choose to isolate themselves in their homes, get vaccinated, order groceries / takeout, and protect themselves with a FFP2/FFP3 mask or even a full body suit anytime they leave the house and are in the vicinity of other people. Anybody can opt in to their own level of risk tolerance to the virus, thus there is no reason to force everyone to undertake these measures like mask mandates, vaccine passes, and forced quarantines.

The fact that this virus’s lethality is so disproportionately skewed towards distinct segments of the population (the elderly and immunocompromised) is more reason to allow people the freedom to opt into their own risk profile. Why should children who do not statistically suffer from the virus (<0.002% infection fatality rate for those aged 0-17) be forced to undergo the same strict COVID-19 measures as senior citizens in nursing homes? The typical response is that children can still spread the virus, but why is the responsibility for disease prevention on children rather than on the concerned adults who are free to isolate and protect themselves?

COVID-19 restrictions led to closure or serious restrictions on venues like restaurants, coffee shops, gyms, museums, churches, nightclubs, and even parks. But nobody is forced to go to restaurants. Anybody who goes to a restaurant knows that they could get sick, and has accepted that risk. Thus it is government overreach to force privately owned restaurants to shut down, just like it would be unacceptable to ban cliff jumping just because it’s dangerous. The counter-argument would be that an infected restaurant customer could then subsequently spread it to others outside the restaurant, but again this is nullified by the fact that anyone can opt in to their desired risk profile (isolation, FFP3 masks, etc.).

Vaccine Mandates

COVID-19 led to an arms race for vaccination development, and then the subsequent forcing of said vaccine on populations. Of course being a brand new type of vaccine for a virus with many new variants, there has been limited data attesting to its efficacy. Johnson & Johnson was recalled and reinstated multiple times, and mRNA vaccines have now been shown to significantly increase risk of myocarditis. But despite the limited data attesting to the vaccine’s efficacy, many were forced to vaccinate or otherwise lose their jobs, or be unable to do anything in society (eg. dine in at restaurants, ride public transit, travel). Although it was promised that vaccines would return us to normalcy, what happened was that vaccination just became the new baseline requirement for being a free member of society, and they didn’t eliminate requirements such as mask mandates. Even those who’ve already gotten COVID-19, the best form of immunity against the virus, were forced to vaccinate.

Of course forcing populations to get injected with rushed-out vaccines of questionable efficacy is obviously immoral. But what’s worse is the hypocritical logical inconsistency of these vaccine mandates. If the vaccines are actually effective, then let people decide for themselves whether they want to take it (just like the flu or any other vaccine). If the vaccines aren’t effective, then why should everyone be forced to take them?

It’s been shown that vaccines (which have already not been proven to be effective against the Omicron variant) lose effectiveness after 6 months. So why are booster shots necessary for one to be considered “fully vaccinated” even if the booster shot was over 6 months ago? I don’t even want to argue this point because then authoritarians might misconstrue this to start requiring vaccination shots every 6 months, but the point is that there’s a lack of logical consistency here. I’m no conspiracy theorist, but one cannot deny that there is a serious concerted propaganda effort to sell vaccinations and conflict of interest when these pharmaceutical corporations are making billions.

I’m all in favor of governments doing what they can to ensure the availability of adequate healthcare, testing kits, masks, vaccinations, etc. (the “supply” side), but population-wide mandates are unjustified. Individuals should have the freedom to decide for themselves the level of risk-tolerance they want to take rather than being forced to conform to the standards of a vocal neurotic and hypochondrial minority. They are free to isolate and wear masks / body suits everywhere, but let the rest of us live our lives on our own terms.

Population-wide mandates that dramatically restrict everyday life and basic human freedoms are authoritarian, and authoritarianism is a cancer that must be stopped.

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