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Liberty vs. Safety

Our country seems to be going through one of those periods of rage and protest. It’s happened before. It’ll happen again, assuming we survive this one.

COVID-19 remains a danger. But if you don’t wear a mask, you’re heartless. You hate grandmas, children, and puppies. You’re a science denier, ignorant, and generally the worst human being possible.

I’m okay wearing a mask, and mostly have been in public places. I’m okay with you not wearing a mask, if that’s your choice. And I have a reason.

I see many people prioritizing their safety over their freedoms. Are our freedoms worth risk? Yes. Are our freedoms worth injury, illness, and even death? Absolutely.

Thank God that our founding fathers agreed. Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” He didn’t just discover electricity and invent bifocals. He was instrumental in the Continental Congress to move us towards freedom. He was a writer and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Every signer put their very life on the line for the cause of freedom. He and every signer – people like Thomas Jefferson (who wrote the first draft), John Adams, Sam Adams, and John Hancock- put liberty above safety. And thank you to our American Soldiers and Sailors for sacrificing to maintain our freedoms.

I’ll modify Franklin’s quote to say, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety will receive neither liberty or safety.” Safety is fleeting. Lost liberties are hard to recover.

Is the freedom to not wear a mask an essential liberty? Well, that seems a little bit of a stretch to me, though I oppose it’s requirement despite the fact that I wear one.

Here’s what’s not a stretch of essential liberty. The ability for free people to perform business and commerce is absolutely essential. The freedom to travel within my state and the other 49 states is absolutely essential. The freedom to leave my home at will is foundationally essential. I have broken no laws. I am and remain free. I do not recognize our government’s authority to remove my freedoms. To do so removes the power of our nation from the people and delivers it into the hands of our elected officials. May they not remain in office for long.

There was a time in March 2020 when we knew little to nothing about this virus. The worst possible scenario of a new black plague seemed possible. Early actions by our government seemed prudent, though still heavy handed. We’re adults. We can make decisions like adults. Educate us and make recommendations. No executive orders should have been issued. Only dictators dictate. That’s why we call them that.

We now know much more about this virus. The worst case scenario is no longer a threat. Now the question is simply liberty vs. safety.

I choose liberty, like my forefathers before me. Maine should reopen today and issue guidelines and recommendations, not executive orders.

If you choose safety, I support your decision to do so. Please stay comfortably home. Just don’t expect everyone else to. That way lies things worse than a virus: tyranny, tears, and blood.

Business owners, if you’re struggling right now please reach out to your local Chamber of Commerce. They may not be able to help you directly, but should be able to direct you to groups that can, such as the Greater Franklin Development Council. Both can also provide links to more information. Also, if you’re now wishing you had handled your business cashflow differently in order to have the cash on hand to get through this mess, get Buying Bacon right now. Be financially prepared, because we’re in our business for the long game.

One more thing during this absolute travesty of a situation: look for the opportunities. Our economy is not dead, despite what you hear on the news. Most of the COVID-19 stock market losses are already recovered. The economy is moving fast right now in certain segments, such as construction, housing, and technology. Look for opportunities in those sectors and others, because I assure you, they’re out there. Opportunities are most likely to be found during times like these.

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