Jackass freedom

On the one hand, real freedom – freedom to get an education, to work, to leave the house, to travel, to be around other people, to be godless. On the other hand, fake freedom – to refuse to wear safety belts in cars, to refuse to heed warnings about building in flood zones or fire zones, to refuse to wear masks during a pandemic.

The Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, will temporarily be allowed to enforce an order banning mask mandates, the state supreme court ruled on Sunday.

So the governor is free to force other people to risk their health by allowing third parties to risk the health of their employees and students or patients or customers by not mandating masks. It seems like a very perverse and frivolous kind of “freedom.”

However, the ultimate fate of mask mandates in Texas is far from clear, as school districts and localities fight to maintain control of public health orders and Covid-19 caseloads driven by Delta variant infections among unvaccinated people surge.

They want to have mandates, and the governor wants to ban mandates. Whose freedom is more important here? Yes, having to wear a mask is an interference with freedom in a sense, but then so is being on a ventilator. Freedom from COVID is a more profound freedom than freedom from wearing a mask.

Abbott has said his order does not ban mask-wearing.

“Anyone who wants to wear a mask can do so, including in schools,” he said in a tweet on Sunday.

Cute, but since wearing a mask protects other people more than the self, that’s not as consoling as it might sound.

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