A Voluntarist Pandemic Protocol

With the recent uptick in covid-19 cases, some state and local officials have resorted to re-issuing the same draconian lockdowns and restrictions that wreaked havoc across the nation just a few months ago.

Of course, with the return of the health based police state, so comes the legions of loyal subjects to egg on the government in all its ill-conceived procedures (which anyone may find by checking the comments of their state and local officials’ social media pages). The NY Times contributing OB/GYN Jennifer Gunter and sports personality/writer/podcaster Jemele Hill give pristine examples with their tweets,

The groveling displayed Gunter and Hill’s kind is often met with objections based on individual rights, constitutionality, fairness, personal responsibility, and government overreach. While these sorts of rebuttals are each valid on their own, they raise an interesting hypothetical that is rarely (if ever) expanded upon during public discourse: That of a voluntarist pandemic protocol.

Of course, the media’s ubiquitous, ad nauseam reporting on covid-19 would ensure that practically everyone was aware of the potentially deadly virus. From then on, there would be a fundamental difference regarding the focal point of preventative measures.

Instead of the faux selfless anti-Randian collectivism that encompasses the public psyche, there would be a greater emphasis on personal responsibility. Since voluntarism excludes political officials coercing citizens based on the actions and performance of others, there would be no dissidents lengthening lockdowns and spoiling re-opening for the rest of the community. Without any decree to dissent, there can be no dissident This would mean less incentive to concern ones self with the others decisions.

Without the threat of having individual liberties and natural rights stripped away by public officials, each individual entity who wants to change the pandemic habits of others would have to take action themselves to do so. This could take the form of either persuasion or (in the case of those who are caregivers) taking preventative measures to lower the risk of care receivers contracting the virus. If any entity wanted to increase the effectiveness of their outreach, they’d have to improve their rhetorical and/or planning skills.

Anyone concerned with the health ramifications of their occupation would have to assess their own personal cost benefit analysis regarding what the best course of action should be. Outside of charity, the burden of financial support would rest solely on the shoulders of the individual in question. If one concluded that staying home would maximize their safety regarding the virus but also maximize impoverishment, it would be up to said person to determine which set of circumstances were less loathsome and deal with the trade off.

It goes without saying that no one following a voluntarist pandemic protocol could dictate who should and shouldn’t work. The closest possibility to this would be a company willingly shutting down, but this does not force an obligation on the entire industry nor the workers to abstain from earning a living in that industry.

Finally, hospitals would have to rely on their own resources and strategic abilities to deal with any influx of patients. As mentioned in a previous article, hospitals are not entitled to any favors coerced from the public simply because of their valuable service. As per the article,

Anyone who voluntarily goes into a profession assumes whatever burden is associated with that profession, even if certain burdens weren’t present during the point of entry…those in the medical field have job descriptions that fall on their shoulders even if the pandemic wasn’t previously accounted for.

John A. Lancaster (emphasis added)

By leaving hospitals to their own devices regarding the spike in cases, they’ll have more leeway in determining how best to serve the public. A greater degree of freedom in providing services means that there will likely be options for those who may have had their preferred procedures declared unessential and postponed. The availability of procedures would be crucial in lowering the amount of preventable deaths that would’ve been caused by state imposed rationing.

Allowing for a laissez-faire pandemic approach will certainly not yield the uniform action of government imposed lockdowns, which is a good thing. It has been proven that centrally planning preventative measures leaves individuals prone to depression, violence, molestation, mental health trauma, and poverty with little ability to escape their government caused predicaments. The only method to assure that the individual has a chance in maximizing well-being is to leave the individual in control of their own decisions.

Photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash

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