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Freedom? My Nose!

Um, Shoes that are too tight?  Um, A room that is too cold?  The smell of coffee burning?  What are ‘things that make you uncomfortable’? 

Beyond the physical, there are mental and emotional things that make you uncomfortable as well.  For many, one of them is the notion of Freedom.  I was reading a story about a student protest on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 this past weekend.  It made me uncomfortable.  I was inwardly conflicted.  I thought the act was reprehensible, but I support the student’s right to have the freedom do it.

There’s the old phrase: “Your right to punch me in the nose ends at the beginning of my nose.”  This is fine, it’s easy to define physical freedoms.  Your right to drive intoxicated ends at the beginning of the hood of my car you might hit.  But emotional and intellectual freedoms are harder to define. 

You have the right to worship as you please, it’s the main founding principle of our country.  But, your freedom to worship as you please ends at the beginning of you telling me how I can worship. 

Some may take this and apply it to public health.  They may say that the government’s right to vaccinate its people ends at the beginning of their arm.  And that’s fine, if we’re talking about health issues that stay within the unvaccinated person’s arm.  If you have a headache, you don’t have to take aspirin, that’s your right.   If you have an ulcer, you can keep drinking that’s your right.  But when you’ve got a health issue that spreads so easily, can kill or cripple, and has costs billions of dollars in world-wide economic impact; then your freedom not to get vaccinated ends at the beginning of mine and my family and community’s freedom not to get sick.

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