So Dave Portnoy has made a video suggesting that people should have the freedom to do what they want and as adults deal with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and it’s not the role of the government to tell people what do. Framing the argument as a philosophical question of freedom. But Dave just doesn’t get the point.
Before I explain why let me express a few important points:
- Nobody wants the situation to be like this. There is no magic answer and the government making decisions is a bit like picking the winner of the Super Bowl. You might get right, but you can also get it wrong. You just can’t predict the future.
- I’ve chirped a lot at Dave recently but that’s just how it is.
- If people can catch coronavirus more than once then we could see a snowball effect where every six months more and more people are sick from the virus until we have a monumental health disaster on our hands
The reason why lockdowns are being enforced across America and around the world is to protect the medical resources for everybody. Regardless of whether they have coronavirus or not. So Dave may decide to go out to a restaurant, cinema or other public space and contract coronavirus, resulting in him being hospitalized. Now Dave’s argument is that as an adult he should have the freedom to do this. However he will use up medical resources such as doctors, nurses and even oxygen tanks and prevent them from being used on people who need medical attention but don’t have coronavirus. So when someone is involved in a car accident that person dies because Dave has taken up the medical resources that would otherwise kept that person alive.
That is the problem governments are facing right now.
It’s not a question of freedom and to be honest anyone who views it in that regard is someone childish and selfish. Dave Portnoy has the financial resources (the freedom) to buy a Ferrari. But it still doesn’t mean he has the freedom to drive it 150mph down a highway because there are laws controlling speed limits on roads. These speed limits are designed to reduce accidents and limit the number of innocent victims injured or killed in accidents.
The freedom Dave has to drive at 150mph has been taken away from him to protect other people. The freedom Dave has to go to certain places has been taken away from him to protect other people. This is why governments introduce speed limits and lockdowns.
Now, there might be an argument that the speed limit should be 80mph or 60mph instead of 70mph. Or that sports stadiums should stay open whilst cinemas have to close. Either way your freedoms have to be taken away from you.
Once again, does anyone what it like this? No.
But we have to look after the medical resources that we have. Doctors and nurses have been working flat out for nearly nine months and some of them have contracted coronavirus and died from it. In Northern Ireland oxygen tanks are being rationed. This isn’t the time for people to be choosing whether they go to a restaurant or not. That’s just how it is and if there were limitless medical resources such as millions of doctors and nurses waiting on standby then Dave’s argument would have more merit. But we just don’t live in that world.
So public figures like Dave Portnoy shouldn’t be debating peoples freedoms during a pandemic. It should be how can we look after our medical resources and help protect the lives of people who aren’t sick from coronavirus.
Dave may want to go to a restaurant at 11PM but quite frankly the government don’t care. They want to ensure someone dying from cancer or is involved in a car accident is able to see a doctor or nurse. That is there priority right now.