Your Sept. 16. editorial, “Live free and die?” on the difference between “Freedom” and “Liberty,” as espoused by Thomas Jefferson, should be read by every anti-vaxxer and anti-masker and their political and media endorsers.
You were correct to point out that there is no unfettered freedom to do whatever one wants in America, regardless of the consequences. As you note, Jefferson’s central belief was that the exercise of one person’s freedom could not impinge upon the freedom of others who are equally endowed.
A half-century later, the great English philosopher, John Stuart Mill, made the same point about the limitations of liberty in his eponymous Essay, when he said: “(T)he sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection.”
Jefferson and Mill teach that those of us who wish to be protected against the danger to our health and access to beds in hospitals presented by the unvaccinated and unmasked, have every right to expect that our government take whatever steps deemed effective and prudent to ensure that our health and safety are protected.
To the extent that others seek to thwart those protections based on their distorted notions of freedom or liberty, they should be constrained. If that means that they are to be excluded from employment or access to public places because of the dangers they or their families present, so be it. The rest of us have rights, too.
John A. Rudy