Disgustingly, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced today that people will be required to give up their rights to bodily autonomy and privacy in order to be allowed to enter restaurants, bars, gyms, museums, theaters, and any other indoor eating, drinking, sports, and/or entertainment facilities.
One of the most disturbing things that she said in the press conference announcing this decision was, “There is nothing more American than coming together to ensure that we are taking care of each other” (source: MassLive).
I could not disagree more strongly with this statement. In my opinion, coming together to take care of each other is not American at all, nor is it morally virtuous. I believe that it is each person’s responsibility to take care of his/her own self, and that the world is a better place when people concern themselves with their own goals and their own happiness and allow others to do the same. People are not morally obligated to take care of others.
Even if one considers it morally virtuous to take care of each other, doing so cannot come at the expense of individual rights. The right to privacy, the right to make one’s own medical decisions, and the right to freely come and go in public spaces are all fundamental rights. People deserve to have all of these freedoms, and it is morally impermissible to take any of these freedoms away or force people to choose between them, as Wu’s policy (along with similar ones around the country and world) does.
It would be a true statement to say that there is nothing more American than individual rights. The concepts of individuality, freedom, and liberty are quintessential American values, and contrary to Wu’s assertion, policies that sacrifice these for the sake of “taking care of each other” are both morally wrong and un-American.
Gubernatorial candidate Geoff Diehl eloquently voiced his disagreement with the vaccine mandate:
“These mandates are clear violations of the civil rights of anyone who lives in, works in, or travels to the city… While I openly acknowledge and share concern over rising case counts in Massachusetts, infringing on citizens’ right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is never an acceptable solution.”