Opinion: Some in Idaho want the right to spread contagion

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and will never be.” — Thomas Jefferson

“Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

I’ve been pondering the nature of freedom since visiting Boston and walking the Freedom Trail.

In Massachusetts, it turns out, masking and vaccinations haven’t resulted in tyranny. There’s a freedom from fear, knowing that, for the most part, if I have an emergency, there will be a hospital bed for me. I can be reasonably certain I won’t bring a highly contagious disease back to my friends and family.

Knowing that my Airbnb hostess requires vaccinations, it’s easy to freely interact with other houseguests. I’ve been able to enjoy time with old friends, thanks to the understanding that medical science is providing guidance line upon line, as we receive more knowledge. I know they won’t endanger me (or my loved ones) through a decision to spread a preventable illness.

Certain people in Idaho, on the other hand, seem to suffer under the illusion that freedom means doing whatever they want, whenever they want, with no regard to their impact on others.

However, as we’ve heard countless times before, “Your right to swing your fist ends where my face begins.”

When living in a society — and taking advantage of the infrastructure, advantages and protections that everyone’s taxpayer dollars go toward — it’s laughable to pretend that you exist in a vacuum. That your decision to remain unvaccinated and willfully ignorant of the further light and knowledge available through science is somehow “freedom.”

You talk about choice, but you’re stealing others’ choices. Someone who ends up in the emergency room, through no fault of their own, is impacted by your choice to be unvaccinated. Sure, you’re suffering the consequence of your willful ignorance. But you’re not the only one facing the consequences. You’re forcing others to wait for hospital beds. You’re forcing deaths. Your “choice” results in livelihoods lost and families unnecessarily torn apart.

You could have prevented this disaster, but you chose not to. In the name of some imaginary and immature concept of “freedom,” you’re proclaiming that somehow your right to spread contagion and ignore the progress of centuries is more important than everyone else’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

George Washington mandated smallpox inoculation to the entire Continental Army. Benjamin Franklin, after experiencing tragedy and learning more about inoculation, changed his position and began favoring mandates. They knew individual freedom has to be tempered by wider freedom as a society. Plopped down in the alternative reality of the Idaho “Freedom” Foundation, Washington and Franklin would be labeled tyrants for their views.

Idaho is first in COVID-19 positivity rate, third in hospitalization due to COVID-19 and fifth in COVID-19 death rate, thanks to cynical extremists who use buzzwords in an effort to rile their base and line their own pockets.

Miranda Marquit, Master of Business Administration, is a nationally recognized financial expert, writer and speaker. She is the state committeewoman for the Bonneville County Democratic Central Committee.