It isn’t over yet. School in this county starts Tuesday, and no one under twelve has been vaccinated.

Proposed for all vaccine and mask deniers: Smarten up! Get the vaccine and wear a mask in public. Listen to the science and change your behavior. Let’s get on the right side of this.

The debate over pandemic mask wearing and vaccinations should have ended in 1859, 162 years ago. It was in that year that John Stuart Mill published On Liberty which addresses the nature and limits on an individual’s power to express his or her personal freedoms and a government’s power to regulate those freedoms.

J. S. Mill was the champion of individual rights and Liberty. However, he wisely outlined the one necessary limitation on those liberties: All personal liberty is sacrosanct unless the exercise of that liberty causes harm to others.

Individuals are rational enough to make decisions about their own personal well-being. Government should only interfere when it is for the protection of society. Mill explained that rebellion, if truly necessary, should be allowed. However, the way to express those arguments should be in speech, but not in a way that causes actual harm to others. This is widely known as the harm principle: “That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his [or her] will, is to prevent harm to others.”

Mill is clear that his advocacy for liberty does not extend to all individuals and all societies. He stated that “Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with Barbarians.” Citizens who wrap themselves in self-righteous indignation and proclaim their immunity from our government’s attempts to ensure public health through mask and vaccine mandates are those barbarians.

More recently, at the beginning of the 20th century, Oliver Wendell Holmes put forward the standard of “clear and present danger” based on Mill’s idea.

If you want to ignore the danger to yourself and others that you pose by not getting vaccinated, you should be at the back of the line for a hospital bed, and you should pay your covid related hospital bills one hundred percent out of pocket. You should not be allowed, as some covid deniers have done, to set up go-fund-me pages to cover your covid expenses.

Service personnel are often the only ones wearing masks in public. That’s not right! See one, wear one! It’s the right thing to do. If you aren’t extending that courtesy to the rest of humanity, vaccinated or not, you are a knucklehead!