Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

How many masks do you wear?

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

17 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

When mandates, such a mandatory health insurance, or executive orders to wear masks in public facilities,  who is to provide them and at who's expense?

Does this mean that if I have a tree on my property that is diseased and likely to fall on a neighbor's house, the government has no right to require me to fix it?  That will probably cost more than several masks.

Does this mean that if I am driving a car that is in a condition that increases the risk of accident, the government has no right to require me to fix it if I want to drive it?  That will probably cost more than several masks.

In my view it would make more sense to legalize nudity than to legalize not wearing a mask.  A full set of clothes will probably cost an amount at least comparable to the cost of several masks.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 245
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

This discussion has been rather far removed from the fundamental principles regarding man’s rights, and has focused instead on notions of aggression, spreading (versus other means), sensory inputs, af

https://youtu.be/ssvSsMqTtjo Kibbe on Liberty: Pandemic imprisoning and the culture war. Perspectives from Britain and the USA. Great conversation.

I wear one when required, out of respect for the fact that a private business is required to enforce the mandate. I never decided on a consistent policy to use in situations where I have a choice. I g

Posted Images

17 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

Wayne County's prosecuting attorney recently dismissed over 1800 legal cases regarding infractions regarding CoViD-19 related incidents citing that the supreme court of Michigan had declared that the governor could not use executive orders to "write" laws ex-nihilo.

OK, there have been procedural violations invalidating certain mask mandates.  This is a separate issue from whether mask mandates should be permissible at all.

If Michigan's law against murder were thrown out by the courts because there was something wrong with it or with the way it was passed, the governor would have no right to replace it with an executive order.  The legislature would have to pass a new law.

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

How do legitimate laws on the books mitigate any citizen's personal responsibility for their own reasonable safety? Reckless drivers and active shooters are not daunted by such laws.

So your responsibility for your own reasonable safety does not in itself preclude mask mandates.

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, DavidOdden said:

when we get proposals that being unknowingly diseased in public is the same kind of choice as committing murder

No, being lax about whether you should take precautions against unknowingly having a serious disease that is known to be going around and that can spread before symptoms show is the same kind of choice as being lax about maintaining your vehicle or about securing your gun or sword.

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, DavidOdden said:

Only a small set of torts involve initiation of force.

Any tort is to some extent an initiation of force.  It involves such acts, possibly inadvertent, as damaging or usurping control over another person's body or property or violating their privacy.  If there were no element of force, there would be no justification for government action.

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, DavidOdden said:

Under the law, inference (by the actor) of the intent of another is crucial to defenses for otherwise-wrongful acts. A person may shoot another if he reasonably infers an intent (to harm) – based on certain facts.

If a drunk is wildly shooting a gun, you can be justified in shooting them even if you are convinced that they intend no harm.

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, DavidOdden said:

Do you know of a real case like the one you described?

Some time ago I read of a case where someone involved in a live-action role-playing game was using a toy gun in a public place.  A police officer ordered them to drop it.  They turned and pointed the toy gun at the police officer.  The officer then fired his real gun, injuring the role player.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, DavidOdden said:

that is the immoral choice that was made. In the case of mask mandates, the immorality resides in the willful refusal to apply reason and even the most elementary moral philosophy in devising these restrictions. What these cases have in common is that the fundamental choice made was evil.

Fair enough.

To clarify things, can you elaborate on your "solution", or how it should have been.

From what I see, there are two fundamentals environments to talk about:

1. A purely legitimate system (ideal man in the ideal society perspective)

2. A system where some form or authoritarianism is inevitable (i.e. that you can't escape from it, what we live in)

I am interested to know about your position regarding "liability". Some do not believe there should be any covid liability as it would create a tsunami of litigation. But from a purely philosophical perspective, if A infects B, A should be liable.

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, DavidOdden said:

@DonAthos, my head is spinning from playing argumentative whack-a-mole in this thread.

You aren't the only one playing argumentative whack-a-mole in this thread.  My head isn't spinning, but I am spending a lot of time.  Other priorities may affect how soon I can spend some of that time, i.e. how soon I can respond to some posts or parts of posts.

Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, DavidOdden said:

Returning to that specific question, let us remember that there actually is no such law, there is a set of dictatorial emergency decrees. At present, mask-mandates are marginally authorized by open-ended emergency statutes giving governors authority to boss people around in an emergency. Rand has written about emergencies, and how dangerous a concept it is. There is no emergency: there is a new fact of existence. Emergencies last at most a week.

Let’s see what it would take to justify such a law. First we have to say what such a law would demand: “A tight-fitting N95 mask must be worn at any time that a person is outside their own home. Violation will be punished with a month in prison”. To justify the law, there has to be a compelling government interest. The existing justification is “to prevent the spread of disease”. Now subtract covid from the scenario – would it have been justified to force the wearing of masks without covid (to prevent the spread of flu, colds, measles etc)? I have seen nobody anywhere claim that it would have been. It must first be establish that there is something massively different in the case of covid. A covid-specific mask law needs extraordinary justification, to override ordinary constitutional protections of your rights. Secondly, the restriction needs to be demonstrably effective. It is insufficient to say “There is this big problem”, you also have to prove “This actions sufficient eliminates the problem”. Mandatory vaccination is clearly much better justified than the mask mandate, because vaccination is based on infinitely better science and is much less conjectural. Finally, the restriction must be the least-restrictive means of reaching that end. The hypothesized mask law allows only one choice, but there are other alternatives (physical distance from others; being certified disease-free are two obvious ones, and bright, free minds may find others).

The fatal weakness in the covid mask proposal is (a) necessity and (b) effectiveness.

This kind of discussion makes much better sense than saying that increasing the risk of spread of disease can't be physical aggression.

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, DavidOdden said:

@DonAthos, my head is spinning from playing argumentative whack-a-mole in this thread.

This is a disappointing and dispiriting response. I'd hoped you could be better.

17 hours ago, DavidOdden said:

I really wanted someone to set forth a simple sentence, articulating their principle that guides discussion of a complicated problem. It’s a really big problem, in my opinion, when we can’t set forth general but simple philosophical principles that guide our choices using a few simple unloaded words (avoiding “fear” and vague terms like “threat” which refers to “possibility of negative outcome” – not initiation of force). In particular when we get proposals that being unknowingly diseased in public is the same kind of choice as committing murder, that’s when we need some clarification of fundamental principles.

I think your expectations are unrealistic. Philosophy (that is, good philosophy) is neither simple nor easy, and application of the same can be supremely complex. Ayn Rand was an extraordinary genius, but the people who have followed in her wake are... not necessarily of the same caliber, and Objectivism specifically has not yet been fully "fleshed out." It makes sense that various people trying to apply her philosophy, mere years after her passing, or otherwise lead their best lives, struggle in application or articulation -- especially with respect to principles that run contrary to our greater culture and learning. This forum exists, in part, as a testament to that difficulty -- and you will be hard pressed to find any thread in this forum that proceeds in exactly the manner you describe (though you are always welcome to "set forth general but simple philosophical principles" yourself; but then again, do not expect everyone to agree with you).

People elsewhere in this thread are discussing justice (i.e. "getting what you deserve"). I'm not responding here to you as you deserve, as your reply merits. Because one often unheralded aspect of justice is that the person who metes it also necessarily suffers consequence. I will observe that when you say there are proposals that "being unknowingly diseased in public is the same kind of choice as committing murder," you are again describing other peoples' arguments in ways that they would not recognize, distorting them as a rhetorical tactic. This relates to the "pattern" I'd observed in your earlier reply, when you sought to describe me as "concrete-bound" because I wanted to discuss concretes, and etc. You are being dishonest. And it is possible that defense of your position is impossible without such dishonesty, but you should still strive for better. These matters are difficult enough to discuss without it.

17 hours ago, DavidOdden said:

I will assert my position. First, the government has the right and obligation to establish and enforce laws which punish certain acts: those which constitute initiation of force, as characterized by Schwartz. If the government knows in advance that you are going to do such an act, they may rightfully stop you. That covers “crimes”. In addition, there are acts which, once committed, are wrongs which can be addressed by the law – compensation can be compelled. These are the “torts” and “breaches of contract”. Government involvement is always post-hoc, and the government’s only role is to serve as neutral arbitrator and enforcer of the final judgment (and author of the default rules, in case there is no prior agreement i.e. relevant contract term). Only a small set of torts involve initiation of force.

The only thing that justifies force-in-retaliation (i.e. "government involvement") is the initiation of the use of force. The reason why the government may prevent some particular action ("knows in advance that you are going to do such an act") is because some activities constitute a credible threat of harm or destruction, which is itself the initiation of the use of force.

You have balked at the word "threat," then belabored unsuccessfully to describe it yourself, but Rand employed it (as Galt) writing, of the initiation of force that, "[to] interpose the threat of physical destruction between a man and his perception of reality, is to negate and paralyze his means of survival." When we act at the point of a gun, are "coerced," we need not have been "harmed" or have had any "physical" interaction at all to have been subject to "physical force," as Rand intends and employs it.

This is why the police officer is justified in shooting the person who pulls out his cell phone and points it, as though it were a gun. You'd asked for an example of this happening in real life, and while I would find it amazing if you yourself honestly had not heard/read of similar episodes before, here's one. The site reporting this concludes that officers ought to "[take] some fire before dishing it out," but I don't agree. I believe that force is initiated -- and force-in-response is merited -- when you take actions that lead another person to believe, in reason, that their life or safety is in jeopardy. Which is to say, a "threat." (Here is a similar example, though without police involvement, from... er, now.)

Threats are themselves (rightfully) illegal: you cannot tell someone that you will kill them (in any serious context; context matters); you cannot drive wildly down the street or start shooting your gun off in crowded public places. dream_weaver observed that there are "legitimate laws" against these sorts of activities, and Doug Morris is right in that we would not allow our neighbor to neglect a diseased tree such that it might collapse on our home, and the reason why is because: they threaten. Harm may or may not be "intended," but harm is threatened. Which is to say, they are the initiation of the use of force, and they justify force-in-response. (The level of force rightly employed depends upon the context; context matters.)

For the purpose of this discussion, it remains to relate this to the spread of disease generally (would it be the "initiation of force," for instance, to secretly remove an agreed-upon condom during sex?), and then to the context of a pandemic, specifically (if some raging disease were far more deadly and spread by physical contact, how would we regard a "friendly," unasked-for pat on the back? It is a theme: context matters). And then even more specifically to the details of the current situation (there are different options available, including contact-tracing and targeted quarantines, as Yaron Brook advocated, for instance -- but a mandated quarantine is also a use of force, and first depends upon our general, principled evaluation). Yes, philosophy and its application are complex and they can set your poor head spinning! But I'm exhausted, and I have other things to do. Good luck.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

I am interested to know about your position regarding "liability". Some do not believe there should be any covid liability as it would create a tsunami of litigation. But from a purely philosophical perspective, if A infects B, A should be liable.

There are two kinds of liability, intentional wrongs and negligence. Intentional wrongs are, for example, dumping garbage on someone else’s property, fraud, assault, trespass, defamation. There may also be criminal penalties associated with intentional torts, and they all involve initiation of force. Negligence involves a “duty of care”, which may be special and arising from a contractual relation (e.g. medical negligence, negligence in construction) or may be “everyone owes everyone else this level of care”. For example,  if you store poison next to your bottled water supply and accidentally give some person poison thinking that it is water, that is (or could be) negligent.

The crucial elements of negligence, as a wrong for which you may be forced to compensate a person are duty, breach, damage and causation. The first means that you have a duty to all others to exercise a certain level of care. The second simply means that you didn’t observe that duty: you were not careful enough. The third is that someone suffered an actual injury (to person or property) because of an act or the failure to act (the duty). Finally, the injury was a reasonably forseeable consequence of the act (omission).

There are clear cases where passing a disease is a tort. Deliberately infecting a person is a clear case (and falls under initiation of force). Negligence can also exist. Negligence torts are the diciest under Objectivism, since it relies on an unspecified “duty of care”. If you catch ebola, MERS, smallpox and knowing that you have the disease nevertheless go to a football game, that would probably constitute negligence. A problem with the vague “duty” requirement is that we don’t know what our duties are. I can cause harm to a person by buying the last roll of toilet paper (you may recall those days). What we need is a better analysis of this duty, so that you are not liable for the consequences of buying the last toilet paper, over-using antibacterials thereby contributing to bacterial resistance, discontinuing sales of a product, planting particular flowers, eating food implicated in an allergy, and so on.

My view is that foreseeability is really crucial, and extent of harm is also significant in reigning in over-zealous negligence claims. I also think that these are the two facts most applicable to covid.

As far as covid transmission is concerned, the only form of behavior that I condemn is knowingly being out there spreading the disease when you know you have it. On the political front, I condemn the deliberate creation of a climate of fear and state-omniscience. The former is essential to creating the perpetual “emergency” which gives governors dictatorial power, and which is also used by Congress to expand the web of socialism. State-omniscience is the willful refusal to consider alternatives and to seriously and publicly engage the science. The level of public science in this pandemic is shockingly low. In Washington state, which was one of the first lack-down states, we got locked down theoretically until they “flattened the curve” at which point they might move to Phase 2. Didn’t happen, kept on not happening, and then when the number of diagnosed cases shot up by a factor of 100, but started to dip a bit in the last month, well it wasn’t until Trump was out of office and Biden was sworn in that it was safe for them to move to Phase 2, despite the still much higher infection rate. What conclusion should be drawn? That these are political actions, not based on actual science.

If a person foreseeably infects another with a serious disease, there is a reasonable case that they should be liable. I grant that covid seems more serious than the annual flu (this is a separate science question). Simply existing in public does not establish causation under even the weakest standard of proof used in liability.

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, DavidOdden said:

If a person foreseeably infects another with a serious disease, there is a reasonable case that they should be liable. I grant that covid seems more serious than the annual flu (this is a separate science question). Simply existing in public does not establish causation under even the weakest standard of proof used in liability.

Thanks David. Keep in mind this is not an affirmation of governmental one size fits all mandates with flimsy data.

This issue brings to mind the issues around smoking where simply smoking will not cause a sever illness. Certainly not immediately. There is a percentage that will die of it. The medical establishment says smoking will cause cancer. But it is saying it will "likely cause cancer". There is no causal relationship, is there? (Some will recall Peikoffs bizarre defense of smoking)

In the case of Covid, we know that there is exponential growth in transmitters. That would imply that I or you will become one soon enough. To combat the exponential growth we have to do something (or do we?).

There are forces that could cause targeted responses:

Like, news reports come out that one Supermarket chain has higher percentage of workers that get it.

Without some sort of response, without any liability, super spreader events that are attractive will happen.

In that sense, what would you propose? In this case, just "being" means becoming a likely transmitter (at some point).

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/7/2021 at 6:50 PM, Doug Morris said:

It would be most unreasonable to demand the right to do this without accepting the associated danger.  But simply venturing out is not in the same category.  Anyone who ventures out is entitled to demand that others not fire guns in inappropriate places such as a supermarket, sidewalk, sports stadium, math classroom, or food court.  Anyone who ventures out is entitled to demand that others not drive in highly reckless ways that can easily cause an accident, such as unnecessarily swerving back and forth or driving 100 miles an hour on a busy downtown street.  In a different case, I am maintaining that there may be a situation where there is a right to demand that others take reasonable precautions to avoid spreading disease. 

"But simply venturing out is not in the same category". It surely is: For a vulnerable - elderly or unwell - person. Every place is potentially harmful. Anywhere, for him, might have flying bullets and reckless drivers-- they are the invisible virus.

He can and should place no expectations of nor entitlement upon his safety where active people are assembled.  Not only is he absconding from his self-regard and passing the responsibility for his wellbeing onto others, he is presuming that other people can't commit mistakes and cause accidents, an accident that could be harmful or fatal in his case. Would you call this evading reality?

The single premise underlying this "initiation of force" argument, is clearly your concern with "spreading the disease" or avoiding such. The justification you look for, posed in Objectivist, libertarian terms, to have blanket, mandated measures to control the spread of the virus.

In other words, to make everybody collectively responsible for everybody else. This is a contradiction to anything rational, voluntary and individualist. To repeat, the self-responsible approach, the non-dependence on government and social expectations, would very likely have ~prevented~ many fatalities. Or done no worse. And nearly everyone's lives would have gone on uninterrupted. I'd additionally venture that that solution could not have done any worse in mass suppression of the viral spread. At very least, a greater amount of herd immunity would have been achieved sooner. A virus is not defeated, its effects are substantially decreased when immunity plus vaccinations equally come into combined effect, eventually nearing transmission closer to zero. Slowing down either beneficial outcome is disastrous. As one epidemiologist advised "flattening the curve prolongs the curve". He made that statement a year ago and has been subsequently proven right.

He was ignored. The ruling doctrine aimed towards disease control is and has been the *collective effort* - not individual and chosen - one which has also been horrendously sacrificial for all individuals.

 

Edited by whYNOT
Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

No expectations and no entitlement at all? You don't mean that.

Indeed I do. For such a vulnerable, also self-interested person, any public place - of strange people and the myriad surfaces they touch - is a potential hazard. Their good will, notwithstanding. He above all can't count upon others.

Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

At very least, a greater amount of herd immunity would have been gained sooner.

One thing that certainly doesn't help your position is that this is questionable and the fact that "natural" herd immunity is dangerous and irresponsible. Sooner just means considerably more people die - not just all at once, but more people in total anyway. The only kind of herd immunity that you should strive for is acquired through vaccination. Slowing down spread before vaccination becomes widespread is the way to minimize total deaths. Indeed, flattening the curve prolongs the curve, but it doesn't mean the same thing as increasing total deaths (or leaving them the same). I've told you time and time again that epidemiologists already know this. 

30 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

He was ignored.

He wasn't ignored, whoever you're talking about, everybody already knows that. If you didn't notice that epidemiologists were already saying that flattening the curve prolongs the duration, then you were not paying attention. 

You repeat these claims all the time, so every time you say it, I will say the same thing. 

 

Somebody can be responsible and sensible in their behavior without resorting to a government issued demand on how to be responsible. People should be encouraged to reduce transmission, and people should be encouraged to vaccinate. The problem is if harm becomes the standard of initiating force. It becomes a matter of how much harm you are allowed to choose before the state steps in. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

He above all can't count upon others.

This is what doesn't make sense.

So if someone goes to lunch with you, they can't expect you to:

  • not to sneeze on them
  • not to pee on them
  • not to sit on your lap
  • not to go through their wallet
  • etc

That is why it's hard to believe you want to stick with "NO expectations". I understand we don't have a right to others giving us a free ride, it's just that you seem to argue for no expectation at all. Because it that is the case, then what is the point of having a government at all? You can't expect anything from it either.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

One thing that certainly doesn't help your position is that this is questionable and the fact that "natural" herd immunity is dangerous and irresponsible. Sooner just means considerably more people die - not just all at once, but more people in total anyway. The only kind of herd immunity that you should strive for is acquired through vaccination. Slowing down spread before vaccination becomes widespread is the way to minimize total deaths. Indeed, flattening the curve prolongs the curve, but it doesn't mean the same thing as increasing total deaths (or leaving them the same). I've told you time and time again that epidemiologists already know this. 

He wasn't ignored, whoever you're talking about, everybody already knows that. If you didn't notice that epidemiologists were already saying that flattening the curve prolongs the duration, then you were not paying attention. 

You repeat these claims all the time, so every time you say it, I will say the same thing. 

 

 

Yes he was ignored. As were others. "Ignored", in the sense that none of their advice was taken (e.g. keeping schools open) by health departments and governments, and dictatorial measures were enforced instead. And I clearly said that it is the ~combination~ of herd immunity plus vaccinations which eventually eliminate the worst of the virus. Vaccination achieves, in effect, 'herd immunity', where most of the populace has been 'infected' deliberately. I have nowhere suggested only to rely on "natural" herd immunity.

"Sooner just means considerably more people die". Such illogic. I will state my position again. If those most susceptible people had early removed themselves to total isolation, many and most would not have succumbed. Is that logical enough?

But carry on nitpicking.

Edited by whYNOT
Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

This is what doesn't make sense.

So if someone goes to lunch with you, they can't expect you to:

  • not to sneeze on them
  • not to pee on them
  • not to sit on your lap
  • not to go through their wallet
  • etc

That is why it's hard to believe you want to stick with "NO expectations". I understand we don't have a right to others giving us a free ride, it's just that you seem to argue for no expectation at all. Because it that is the case, then what is the point of having a government at all? You can't expect anything from it either.

Don't go to lunch with anyone!

(and to repeat - for those who know themselves to be at health risk, or simply don't think the risk is worth it).

Edited by whYNOT
Link to post
Share on other sites

You guys are stuck in "the collective effort" remedy. Hasn't worked.

Even so, +/-98% of the population will not die of Covid-19 (or Covid-related illness, to be exact). Even some of those 1 - 2%** did not have to die, I think.

IF it were not for the false but perceived, security of lock downs, masking, sanitizing and social distancing.

I personally know several individuals, the most cautious or obsessive social distancers, maskers and sanitizers, who caught the virus. Some would not have known of it if they hadn't been tested, a few felt poorly for a while before complete recovery and one I know of died.

**Open to advisement. Likely much less, when considering *total* population, not the exaggerated case:fatality rate.

Edited by whYNOT
Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

I will state my position again. If those most susceptible people had early removed themselves to total isolation, many and most would not have succumbed. Is that logical enough?

Logical perhaps, but wrong because of its necessary premise that "total isolation is viable". Total isolation will kill you. You have to get your food from somewhere, and this particular population needs medical care too.

It does not add up.

Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Logical perhaps, but wrong because of its necessary premise that "total isolation is viable". Total isolation will kill you. You have to get your food from somewhere, and this particular population needs medical care too.

It does not add up.

Visibly not the case. While extremely difficult, especially for a family looking after elderly or unhealthy members in the same home, it is quite achievable that I've heard of. Like one of our neighbors has to do. And grocery or medical etc. supplies are commonly delivered door to door. If one such vulnerable person needs to go out then he/she obviously has to independently take every possible precaution they can.

Edited by whYNOT
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...