bookmark_borderHockey and freedom

There are few things more beautiful in the eyes of a hockey fan than hats raining down onto the ice. Last night’s Bruins win was significant not only because we’re off to a 1-0 advantage over the Islanders in the series, and not only because David Pastrnak scored his second career playoff hat trick, but also because it was the first day since the Covid-19 pandemic that sports were allowed to be played before full-capacity crowds in Boston. Even though I only watched the game on TV, I could feel the jubilant energy of the fans emanating through my TV screen, and my heart was warmed by the sight of the ice crew diligently scooping up the dozens upon dozens of hats that fans had thrown onto the ice in Pasta’s honor.

Another thing that is beautiful in my eyes as a supporter of individual rights and liberty is the fact that TD Garden does not require Covid-19 vaccination or testing in order to attend games. The joy from seeing the approximately 18,000 fans would have been tainted and hollow if accompanied by the knowledge that they had been required to undergo a medical procedure in order to be there. No one should be required to have any medical procedure in order to live his or her life, and attending sports is part of that. Yes, going to a game in an arena packed with yelling, cheering fans presents some risk of catching the virus, but that is a risk that people have the right to take if they wish. Yes, some people would feel more comfortable attending games if they knew that their fellow fans had been vaccinated and/or tested, and might choose not to attend absent these requirements, but that is exactly the way that it should be. People should do the activities they are comfortable doing, and avoid the activities they are not comfortable doing, as opposed to demanding that other people’s bodily integrity be violated in order to make themselves feel safer.

A win for both the Bruins and individual liberty is a beautiful thing indeed.

bookmark_borderOn “politicizing” the response to Covid

I often hear the claim that the response to the Covid-19 pandemic is being “politicized.” Almost always, this claim has been made by those who support authoritarian restrictions on people’s freedom to slow the spread of the virus. And now this claim is being made by those who support the authoritarian position of pressuring, requiring, mandating, and/or forcing people to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

According to Dictionary.com, political means “of, relating to, or involving the state or its government.”

Therefore, it seems to me that the question of what policies the government should adopt with regards to the virus (or any topic for that matter) is inherently a political question. Which rights people have, to what extent (if any) freedom should be sacrificed for safety, and what types of restrictions the government has the right to enact, are all political topics. When those who argue (correctly, in my opinion) that restrictions violate individual rights are told to “stop politicizing the virus,” they are essentially being told that the concept of individual rights should be ignored. Authoritarian-leaning people urge governments to adopt whatever policies are likely to produce the best public health outcomes, while ignoring the fact that the decision to prioritize public health outcomes over individual liberty is itself a political judgment. 

Accusing your opponents of politicizing an issue is a form of presuming the truth of what you are trying to prove. To equate caring about liberty and individual rights with “politicizing” an issue is to presume that liberty and individual rights do not matter. This is arrogant and intellectually dishonest, not to mention deeply wrong.

For the government to impose authoritarian measures such as stay-at-home orders, mask mandates, and vaccination requirements is inherently a political act. Given the definition of “political” that I cited above, one could actually argue that the people urging coercive state or governmental actions are those who are truly politicizing the virus. If either side is treating the virus as a non-political issue, it is the side that is advocating for the state to stay out and allow people to make their own decisions.

bookmark_borderThe distinction between action and omission

In the seemingly never-ending debate about Covid-19 and which regulations (if any) are appropriate to combat it, many people make the mistake of erasing the distinction between action and omission. Far too often, I see tweets, comments, and editorials that equate refraining from taking a helpful action with actively taking a harmful action. 

For example, I have seen numerous people equating the decision not to receive a vaccine with “spreading disease,” and derisively characterizing the right not to get a vaccine as “the right to spread germs.” I have read editorials accusing a hypothetical person who gets on a bus while having an asymptomatic case of the virus of “killing” a hypothetical elderly person who subsequently gets on the bus and contracts the virus. I have seen tweets accusing governors of “killing” their states’ residents by lifting restrictions. 

Statements like these are based on a fundamental error in logic. People are not morally obligated to take any action; they are morally obligated only to refrain from harming others. In other words, as long as someone’s actions are not actively and directly harming others, they are doing nothing wrong. Failing to take an action that would benefit others, failing to actively help one’s community, these things are perfectly okay. People have the right to do their own thing and pursue their own goals; they are not required to contribute to the greater good.

Therefore, refraining from getting a vaccine is not the same thing as spreading disease. Nor, for that matter, is refraining from taking other risk-mitigation measures such as staying home or wearing masks. Spreading disease means deliberately infecting others with germs, on purpose. Failing to actively stop the spread is not the same as actively spreading. Diseases spread from person to person. People are not to blame for the transmission of a virus; the virus itself is.

It’s even more ridiculous to accuse leaders of killing people when they lift restrictions. Doing so presumes that restrictions are morally required, which is as far from the truth as it is possible to get. Taking away people’s freedoms for the sake of fighting a virus is morally impermissible, and therefore the restrictions never should have been enacted in the first place. To equate respect for fundamental rights with “killing” is preposterous. 

It’s understandable that proponents of mandatory vaccination, mandatory wearing of masks, and mandatory staying at home would conflate the failure to take these actions with taking a harmful action. It’s a lot easier to argue that a harmful action should be banned than it is to argue that people should be compelled to do something. Banning the spreading of disease and the killing of people sounds a lot more reasonable than banning minding one’s own business. But these attempts to justify totalitarianism are based on faulty logic. They erase the fundamental moral distinction between action and omission.

bookmark_borderJoe Biden, authoritarian dictator

This past week, President Joe Biden published a series of tweets about the Covid-19 vaccine that are despicable and reprehensible for a variety of reasons:

First of all, as anyone who believes in the non-aggression principle knows, people have a fundamental right to make their own decisions about their own bodies. Each person has the right to either get the vaccine or not, and each person has the right to either wear a mask or not, regardless of vaccination status. Biden therefore has absolutely no right to tell people to do what he is telling people to do in these tweets. To provide advice or recommendations is fine. To provide information about the relative safety of various activities is fine. And indeed this is what the CDC did when it issued its recent guidance stating that vaccinated people can safely go mask-less indoors and outdoors, which prompted Biden’s tweets. But Biden is phrasing this guidance as a rule, which is fascist and violates everyone’s rights.

It’s also noteworthy that Biden does not even acknowledge the possibility that a person might choose not to get the vaccine. He uses the word “yet” and uses the word “until” as opposed to “unless,” which presumes that every person will eventually get the vaccine. This demonstrates a complete disregard for people’s right to make their own medical decisions. People have every right to opt not to get the vaccine, and Biden needs to use language that acknowledges this.

Another disturbing thing about these tweets is that Biden is not characterizing masks as a tool that people can use to protect themselves, but instead as a punishment for people who do not get the vaccine. It would be one thing to say something to the effect of, “If you choose not to get the vaccine, we recommend wearing a mask to protect yourself.” But Biden is essentially saying, “If you don’t get the vaccine, you have to wear a mask everywhere you go for the rest of you life as a punishment.” Using a respectful tone would have made a world of difference, but instead of being respectful, Biden chose to be mean-spirited and punitive towards people who are doing absolutely nothing wrong.

Additionally, Biden’s unilaterally announced “rule” not only makes requirements less strict for people who’ve gotten the vaccine but simultaneously makes requirements more strict than they previously were for people who haven’t gotten the vaccine. Before this week’s guidance, the CDC had issued guidance a few weeks earlier stating that people can safely go mask-less while outside by themselves regardless of vaccination status. The CDC also said that a person who hasn’t gotten the vaccine can safely get together mask-less in a small group with people who have. But now Biden is telling vaccine-less people that they are not allowed to do either of these things. He is telling them that they need to wear a mask at all times, which is stricter than the CDC’s recommendations. Again, he is being punitive towards people who have done nothing to deserve punishment. 

And not only is Biden punishing people for opting not to get a medical procedure, he is imposing a punishment that is publicly visible and therefore stigmatizing. He is imposing a punishment that visually differentiates those who have gotten the vaccine from those who haven’t. This reminds me of the red “A” that Hester Prynne had to wear on her dress in “The Scarlet Letter” or the yellow stars that Jews were required to wear in Nazi Germany. 

In conclusion, throughout his campaign and in his inaugural address, Joe Biden has repeatedly characterized himself as embodying decency, civility, and unity. He promised to listen to the voices of those who disagree with him and to be a president for all Americans. Yet he is now using Twitter to bully, coerce, and browbeat people into undergoing a medical procedure and insulting them if they do not. I fully expected Biden to be a terrible president, but these tweets are disappointing. This unprofessional and un-presidential behavior falls short of even my very low expectations. Biden has demonstrated that he is a bully with no decency, no civility, no respect for people who are different from him, and no regard for individual rights, freedom, liberty, or bodily autonomy. I am ashamed to be American and embarrassed to have Biden as my president.

bookmark_borderRachel Maddow on the Covid vaccine

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow had some pretty disturbing comments about the Covid-19 vaccine, that demonstrate that she does not understand the concept of people having the right to make their own decisions based on their preferences.

“It is OK to feel reluctant or oogey or scared, and not want to get it,” Maddow said. “That is nothing to be ashamed of. But feel the fear and do it anyway. Get it. Because most of all, it is not for you. It is to keep you from getting the virus and then spreading it.”

First of all, Maddow assumes that the only reason someone would not want to get the vaccine is because he or she is “oogey” (whatever that means) or afraid. This presumes the truth of what Maddow is trying to prove – namely, that everyone should get the vaccine. It presumes that getting the vaccine is the rational thing to do, and any desire not to get it must be based on an irrational emotion such as fear. There are a variety of reasons why someone might not want to get the vaccine, many of which have nothing to do with fear. For example, I’m currently undecided about whether or not to get the vaccine, partially because I think it’s wise to wait until I know more about the side effects and how long the protection lasts, and partially because I am unlikely to become seriously ill if I get Covid, so I simply don’t think adding another medical procedure to my life is necessary.

More importantly, whatever a person decides with regards to the vaccine, that decision should be his or her own. Each person has the right to make decisions about his or her body without bullying, pressure, or coercion from anyone else. As liberals like Maddow say so frequently with regards to abortion (but completely forget about whenever any other issue is being discussed): my body, my choice. Hearing people like Maddow tell me I must get the vaccine makes me feel insulted and attacked, and therefore less likely to get it.

She is essentially saying, it’s OK to have preferences that are different from mine, as long as you don’t act according to them, and act according to mine instead. This is incredibly patronizing and condescending. The whole purpose of having preferences is to use them when making decisions. What is the point of having preferences if you are supposed to disregard them and make decisions according to someone else’s preferences? If someone does not want to get the vaccine, that means that they do not want to get the vaccine. Why should someone get the vaccine when their preference is to not get it? What Maddow is saying makes no sense. 

A final note: actually, the vaccine is for you, not to keep you from getting the virus and then spreading it. The vaccine is a benefit that people should be able to avail themselves of, if they wish. It is not something that people should be forced or pressured into doing. It is not something that people have a right to order other people to get, as Maddow is doing.

So no, choosing not to get the vaccine is not about being “oogey” or scared. It is about the principle that people are not morally obligated to get a medical procedure for the benefit of other people. 

If you want to get the vaccine, you should get it. If you don’t want to get the vaccine, you shouldn’t get it. It really is that simple. 

bookmark_borderPeople who do not get the vaccine are not “moochers”

A recent editorial in the L.A. Times claims that people who choose not to receive the Covid-19 vaccine are “mooching off the rest of us.” I strongly disagree with this idea. 

First of all, the editorial repeatedly uses the verb “refuse” to characterize the decision not to get a vaccine. I disagree with this word choice, as it implies that the decision not to get a vaccine is a bad thing. In my opinion, it is not. People have a fundamental right to decide for themselves whether or not to get a vaccine (or any medical procedure, for that matter). Both options are equally valid and acceptable. 

The editorial criticizes Rep. Madison Cawthorn and Sen. Rand Paul, who have (in the author’s words) “defended the right not to be immunized as an exercise in individual freedom” and are “casting themselves as courageous individualists.” These two gentlemen are 100% correct. The right not to be immunized is an exercise in individual freedom, and those who defend this right are courageous individualists. 

The editorial tries to debunk Cawthorn’s and Paul’s arguments as follows: “The hazards of refusing the vaccine don’t confine themselves to the individual refuser. Vaccine resisters are putting the rest of us in danger, too. Unvaccinated people who contract COVID-19, even if they don’t become seriously ill, can pass the virus to family and friends.”

It is true that not getting a vaccine can have indirect effects on other people. But this is no reason to take away people’s freedom to choice. Every decision that a person makes has the potential to indirectly affect other people, but no sane person would argue that people shouldn’t have the freedom to decide on anything. The deciding factor is not whether a decision carries risks for other people but whether a decision violates others’ rights. In aggregate, the choice not to get the vaccine does increase the odds of catching Covid-19 for everyone in the community. But this choice does not violate the rights of anyone. There is no right to live in a world without infections diseases, or a world where one’s risk of catching any particular disease is below any particular threshold. The demand that the vaccine be made mandatory does violate people’s rights, however. Those who make this demand are essentially attempting to force medical procedures on other people, something that blatantly and unquestionably violates rights. They are arguing that the ability to live in a community with low rates of Covid transmission is more important than the ability to make one’s own medical decisions. I vehemently disagree with this claim. People have the right to make their own medical decisions regardless of what effect this has on the community’s risk level. In other words, no one has the right to demand that people be made to get medical procedures against their will for the sake of reducing their own risk or that of others.

The editorial goes on to insult Cawthorn, Paul, and others who think like them (including myself): “In fact, they’re acting as epidemiological moochers. They’re free riders, relying on the rest of us to protect them by helping the country reach herd immunity. Their relatives and friends, especially those 65 or older, should give them a wide berth. And their voters should treat them as what they are: dangerous to the health of their communities.”

I disagree with this characterization as well. No one is morally obligated to undergo any medical procedure, even if doing so would have indirect benefits to others, and no one who opts out of a medical procedure is a “moocher.” It is true that Covid-19 vaccination has what is called “positive externalities” – meaning that in aggregate it does tend to benefit society as a whole by reducing the overall amount Covid transmission. But there is no rule that if an activity has positive externalities, then everyone should be required to do it. I would be perfectly happy to live in a world where no one got the vaccine, but given that a lot of people are choosing to get it, there is no way for me to avoid the positive externalities. A moocher is someone who deliberately obtains a benefit without paying for it; therefore it is not accurate to describe people who do not get the vaccine as “moochers.” 

Additionally, although each person has the right to make his or her own decisions about who to associate with, it is intolerant, mean-spirited, controlling, and nosy to take another person’s medical decisions into account when deciding whether or not to spend time with them. I would never make a friend or relative’s vaccination status a factor in whether or not to associate with them, because it is none of my business. 

It may be true that Cawthorn and Paul are infinitesimally contributing to their communities’ virus risk. They are also bravely standing up for individual rights at a time when doing so is unpopular, and therefore desperately needed. That is far more important. 

bookmark_borderCovid restrictions getting worse, not better

Like almost everyone in the world, I’ve made adjustments to my daily life and routines because of the Covid pandemic. For the most part, I’m willing to do this. I switched from eating at restaurants a couple of times a week to supporting restaurants through takeout and (weather permitting) outdoor dining. I’m fine with carrying a mask with me and putting it on before I go into a store, business, train station, or bus. Working from home and the cancellation of most social events have actually been huge benefits for me.

But I am concerned by the recent trend of Covid restrictions becoming worse, not better. In November, for example, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker decided to require people to wear masks at all times when out in public (before, people were only required to wear masks when going inside stores or businesses). This week, the CDC implemented a law requiring everyone in the country to wear masks at all times while riding public transportation. This includes trains, buses, train and bus stations, airplanes, airports, taxis, Ubers, Lyfts, and ferries. And not just any kind of mask: the order specifies that people must wear a face covering that attaches to your head with ear loops or ties, making scarves, bandanas, and gaiters (as well as face shields) inadequate. Dr. Anthony Fauci and other experts are even recommending wearing two masks at once

These new restrictions significantly affect my day-to-day life in negative ways. Baker’s rule effectively makes it illegal to eat or drink while out and about, which prevents me from (legally) drinking my coffee while walking back from my daily coffee run. In addition to the fact that the CDC’s implementation of a law completely defies the Constitution, flies in the face of states’ rights and separation of powers, and defeats the purpose of having three branches of government, the public transportation mask rule creates logistical difficulties as well. Since the cold weather arrived, a scarf has been my face covering of choice because it can easily be pulled up when I approach a store, business, or train station, but worn as a normal scarf when I am walking down the street by myself, illicitly drinking my coffee. The new rule requires me to take off my winter hat, secure a mask around my ears, and put my hat back on, all while walking towards the train station. Wearing two masks, as is increasingly being recommended, would be twice as much work to put on and take off and would make it twice as difficult to breathe. 

To complain about such things might sound petty and silly, especially when compared with the suffering of those who have become seriously ill, and even passed away, from Covid. But they add up to significant quality of life issues and represent an encroachment by the government upon my right to use my own judgment about what precautions to take. I’m willing to follow rules if they are fair, reasonable, and make sense. But many Covid restrictions are none of these things. This is even more the case when the restrictions become increasingly strict, burdensome, and difficult to comply with. I don’t mind making adjustments, but what is not okay is when I make adjustments, become used to the new requirements, and then learn that the government added more requirements and I need to make more adjustments. The government should be appreciative of the efforts that people are making to reduce the spread of the virus, but instead, it is telling people that what they are doing is not good enough. Insatiable for control over people’s lives, it is demanding more and more and more. 

The government and public health experts promised that vaccines would bring a return to “normal” life. I do not expect a return to crowded bars, concerts, and packed sports stadiums immediately, but with vaccines rolling out, the restrictions should logically be starting to lift, or at least be staying the same, as opposed to getting worse. The constantly changing restrictions are demoralizing, disturbing, and frustrating and harm the credibility of the government and so-called experts. 

bookmark_borderWho is really being selfish when it comes to Covid?

One of the most common arguments made by people who support Covid restrictions is that those who oppose the restrictions are “selfish.” Proponents of lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, mask mandates, et cetera demand that everyone be willing to make sacrifices for the greater good. How selfish, they argue, to value one’s own freedom more than other people’s health and safety.

Examples of this attitude abound. One article that came out early in the pandemic criticized young people who chose to ride the bus, because if the young person happened to have an asymptomatic case of the virus, they might end up “killing” an old person who got on the bus after them. Someone on Twitter wrote that as a chemotherapy patient, businesses that do not comply with lockdown orders “force me to never leave my house… thanks for being so selfish.” And one of my Facebook friends criticized the Liberty Rally that took place in July on the Boston Common, calling the participants “idiots contaminating each other” and claiming that they should not ride on public transportation because “we have a right to be FREE of your germs.”

But are any of these people really less selfish than the people they are criticizing? The debate about Covid restrictions is a debate about which should be valued more highly: liberty or safety. Those who prioritize liberty are no more selfish than those who prioritize safety. After all, when I argue that I have the right to leave my house as often as I wish, go wherever I wish, and get together with as many or as few people as I wish, I’m not arguing that only I have the right to do these things. I am arguing that everyone does. Not only am I arguing that I have no obligation to sacrifice my quality of life to protect other people; I am also arguing that other people have no obligation to sacrifice their quality of life to protect me. Similarly, lockdown proponents are not altruistically sacrificing their freedoms for the sake of others; they are demanding that others sacrifice their freedoms to keep them safe as well.

In the examples above: Is it really selfish of the hypothetical young person to ride the bus, just because this could possibly result in an old person catching the virus? Why is an old person’s right to ride the bus safely considered more important than a young person’s right to ride the bus at all? I argue that it is more selfish to tell other people to stay off the bus just to make the bus safer for you. Without trying to be insensitive towards how difficult it must be to go through chemo, does the fact that you’re going through chemo really give you the right to demand that businesses close down to make it safer for you to leave your house? If leaving your house is too risky, it is your responsibility to stay home. Claiming that it is other people’s responsibility to curtail their activities to make the world safer for you is truly selfish. And is it really selfish to attend a rally, or is it more selfish to demand that those who have attended a rally stay off of public transportation so that you can be provided with a germ-free environment? You can probably guess what my answer to this question would be.

If you are at higher risk for a severe case of the virus, or are just very concerned about the virus, it is your responsibility to take the proper precautions (or to absorb the risks of not taking the precautions). If an activity or environment is too risky for you, then it’s your responsibility to avoid it. It is not other people’s responsibility to modify their behavior to make activities and environments safer for you. In other words, every person has the right to make decisions based on his or her own risk tolerance. Demanding that the entire society be tailored to your own risk tolerance is truly selfish.

I leave you with the below post which has been making the rounds on Facebook and which makes some excellent points:

I see a whole lot of this: ‘People who don’t wear masks are selfish and putting everyone else in danger.’
Just no. Stop.
Do you know what’s selfish? Passing off responsibility for YOUR health to everyone else around you. It doesn’t work that way.
YOUR health is YOUR responsibility. MY health is MINE.
Trust me, you don’t want ME in charge of your health because I’ll swoop in and toss out all your junk food, processed crap, alcohol, & cigs, fill your fridge with fruits and veggies, force you to drink water, take quality supplements, exercise daily, and get plenty of sleep.
Oh, what’s that? You don’t want to be told what to eat, drink, take, do, etc? Well, Karen, if the way you’re living promotes poor health and a depleted immune system that isn’t functioning at its best, then you don’t get to make a single health decision for me.
Furthermore, if YOUR mask works, which you obviously believe it does since you want to force everyone to wear one, you have nothing to worry about if I choose not to.
My freedoms don’t end where your fear begins. We are all adults that make our own decisions regarding the level of risk we are willing to take in everyday life. As of now, we’re a free country, although that seems to be changing.
If YOU want to wear a mask, bleach everything around you, wear gloves, and never touch anyone or anything… that’s up to you. I do not and cannot accept that life.
Sincerely,
A woman who has never changed her daily routine, worn a mask or gloves, or sanitized the heck out of everything since all this started. And I’m still here and haven’t been sick. Thank God for properly functioning immune systems (which are NO accident, btw)

bookmark_borderClassless Cuomo ridicules those who disagree with him

In addition to being a bully who does not care about freedom of speech (or any other type of freedom for that matter), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also apparently enjoys ridiculing those who hold different views than he does. He posted the following meme on Facebook making fun of those who disagree with him on the issue of the government requiring people to wear masks to stop the spread of Covid-19:

This is completely classless. First of all, there is no such thing as “anti-maskers.” I suspect that Cuomo meant “people who don’t wear masks” or “people who disagree with mask mandates.” More importantly, it is unacceptable for any person, let alone a governor, to personally insult and ridicule those with whom they disagree. It is disturbing that someone who is in charge of governing a state would act in such an unprofessional manner. I assume that Cuomo was attempting to show off his cleverness and wit, but all that he is demonstrating is nastiness and contempt towards people who are different from him. There is nothing funny about that. 

Here is my attempt at a meme:

bookmark_borderPlanet Fitness fights back against Mayor Walsh’s restrictions

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is imposing new restrictions on the liberty of individuals and businesses in an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19, but not everyone is unquestioningly accepting these authoritarian policies.

According to Boston.com, the gym chain Planet Fitness is fighting back against the restrictions. “In March, we understood the shutdown,” said Stan DeMartinis, who runs two Planet Fitness gyms in Boston and several more in the surrounding area. “But the fact is that we’re one of the only industries out there that can contact trace our members, because they check in all of the time. Our position is going to remain very firm: Fitness is essential, it’s safe, and we should be able to remain open in our communities because of the benefits we give to the consumer… I run two gyms in that city, and they’ve never contacted me once this whole time. They just want to shut me down. That’s where the frustration comes in… Where we are in the country today, not to get into politics, but half the people want to work out and half don’t. Our members that come in right now are members who have made their assessment of risk. They feel safe in their environment to work out. They feel they have a constitutional right to do that. And that is being taken away from them.”

Exactly. People have a fundamental right to make their own decisions about which activities they are willing to do and how much risk they are willing to incur. Some people do not wish to work out, because they do not think it is worth the risk of catching the coronavirus. That is fine. Others do wish to work out, because they think it is worth the risk of catching the coronavirus. That is also fine. It is unacceptable for the government to take that decision away from people and force everyone to live according to the preferences of the most risk-averse people. And although hitting the gym is not mentioned in the constitution, it is indeed a constitutional right. The Ninth and Tenth Amendments specify that people are allowed to do any activity that the Constitution does not specifically prohibit.

Planet Fitness also has a good argument that the fitness industry is being treated unfairly compared to other industries. Walsh’s restrictions order the shutdown of gyms, museums, historical sites, aquariums, and movie theaters, while sparing restaurants and stores. When Walsh introduced the restrictions, he said: “This is not about targeting specific sectors that cause the virus. This is an effort to reduce overall activity outside the home.” This is a confusing statement, because the restrictions clearly do target specific industries by including them in the list of businesses required to close. But what Walsh seems to be saying is that inclusion in the list was not determined by how risky a particular type of business is. Instead, Walsh is just trying to decrease the total amount of businesses open so that people will have fewer options for activities to do outside their homes. This raises the question: how did Walsh decide which businesses would be forced to close and which would be allowed to remain open? What criteria did he use, if not the level of risk? Given the potentially disastrous economic impact of inclusion on the list, Walsh owes these unlucky business owners an explanation.