Ross: Freedom requires level of unselfishness many in our country don’t have

Oct 21, 2021, 6:09 AM | Updated: 10:45 am
Freedom, vaccine mandate...
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

A listener wrote in via the inbox at MyNorthwest.com.

He told me he was chatting with a colleague about the number of state workers who gave up their jobs rather than get vaccinated. He concluded that the staff cuts could make life in Washington more dangerous.

Fewer police, fewer firefighters, fewer highway workers … and, he asked, if the state’s number one job is public safety, how did the vaccine mandate help us reach that goal?

His point was that in the name of saving lives, the mandate may end up costing lives.

I get that.

But this is the fundamental dilemma faced by any government official whose mission is to prevent a disaster, because success never looks like success.

No leader is rewarded for preventing a problem. Because when you successfully prevent the problem, what’s the result? The result is … nothing bad happens! The terrorists don’t attack. The oceans don’t rise. The virus never spreads.

The result is – the status quo!

So your campaign flyer would have to read: “Nothing happened, vote for me!”

Imagine our leaders were all clairvoyant geniuses who could see COVID coming, who knew the infection rate was 1.5%, who quickly figured out that at that rate 4.9 million Americans could die prematurely. So they immediately locked down cities, closed schools, restricted travel, required masks, and mandated vaccinations. As a result, nothing happened, and 4.9 million people did not die.

But you know what would happen? They’d be run out of office.

That’s why the only big country that got away with that was China.

Obviously, we don’t want a police state, but we also know that total freedom doesn’t work either. If people are totally free not to vaccinate, but also free to demand hospital treatment when they lose the gamble – that affects everybody who needs health care. We saw it happen.

Total freedom requires a level of unselfishness that doesn’t come naturally for a lot of people.

I think a reasonable leader tries to strike a balance. If they go public and say, “4.9 million people could die, I’m locking us down immediately,” they’re a dictator. But if they hold off until things get real, thousands of grieving relatives will rightly ask, “What did you know, when did you know it, and why did you do nothing?”

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Ross: Freedom requires level of unselfishness many in our country don’t have