Link and Quotes: Frank Bruni on the pandemic and freedom

I saw this via Facebook, and I can’t just now find a cleaner URL:

NYT: Frank Bruni, So This Is Your Idea of Freedom?

He’s says more eloquently what I was trying to say a couple days ago.

What does the abject failure of the United States, the richest country in the world, tell us about ourselves? In the mirror of Covid-19, how is America reflected?

Before I share my answers, I want to make clear: I remain deeply in love with America and fiercely proud of it, for reasons that would take several newsletters to do justice to.

But right now I’m just as deeply and fiercely worried. Our struggle with this pandemic has convinced me that somewhere along the way, we went from celebrating individual liberty to fetishizing it, so that for too many Americans, all sense of civic obligation and communal good went out the window.

Somewhere along the way, we also developed an immature definition of freedom, conflating it with selfishness, convenience and personal comfort. That’s writ large in the freak-out over masks. In reality, they’re “a ticket to more freedom,” Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado said a few days ago when he instituted a requirement that Coloradans wear them in many circumstances. “It makes it less likely that businesses will be shuttered. It makes it less likely that people will die. It makes it more likely school will return.”

In other words, important freedoms for all sometimes require slight adjustments by individuals. That’s not tyranny. That’s responsibility.

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