Note: I consider myself a devout individualist (as opposed to a collectivist). And in order to truly espouse libertarian (for lack of a better term) principles, one must necessarily be, first and foremost, an individualist. Rights and liberty are bestowed on individuals, equally, not on any group or collective or majority or class. So if one does not consistently and adamantly espouse individualism, one cannot truly espouse libertarianism.
In that vein, I would like to address the current government lockdowns in response to the COVID scare, using individual nutrition, values, and risk assessment as guiding principles.
As a certified nutritionist, one of the first things I mention when discussing nutritional plans with others (I avoid using the term “diet”, as it implies caloric restriction or other difficult or even miserable eating plans, which are not at all necessary (or even successful in the long term) for weight loss, fitness, and healthy lifestyle; depending on one’s goals, one simply needs to change what one eats, not necessarily how much one eats) is that there is no specific nutritional plan that works for everyone.
Each individual is unique, with unique nutritional needs, unique metabolism, unique genetic factors, unique physique, unique environment, unique stress factors, unique goals, unique lifestyle, all of it.
This is why there’s a million different nutritional plans out there, from low-carb to keto to paleo/ancestral to fasting/intermittent fasting to vegan to carnivore, and everything in-between.
This is also why I emphasize pursuing an overarching healthy lifestyle, rather than simply a specific type of diet or cookie-cutter plan or book. Once someone makes the decision that they want to transition to a healthy lifestyle, then they need to understand that it will be a lifetime of learning, experimenting, and hopefully success, as they experiment with various nutritional plans, exercise regimens, stress reduction techniques, and other lifestyle changes to find what works best for them.
In other words, a successful nutritional plan and fit/healthy lifestyle is subjective to the individual.
Values are also subjective to the individual. Each one of us has a different hierarchy of values, based on our beliefs, upbringing, biases/prejudices, culture, religion, education, environment, life experiences, etc.—even our very perception is subjective, as the human brain is incapable of perceiving objective reality, we instead reconstruct reality using myriad subjective “filters” that our minds automatically apply to our perceptions.
This is why it’s so important to allow individuals the right and liberty to pursue their own happiness, based on their own subjective values—which is what I consider to be the only “universal value” (applies to everyone equally). The right and liberty for each individual to pursue their own happiness (short of harming others or their property, or restricting their liberty to pursue the same) is the cornerstone of a free society, the only pathway to a moral, peaceful and prosperous society.
Like values, risk assessment is also subjective to the individual, again based on their own personal value hierarchy. Each individual has the right to consider the risks involved with any decision or action, weigh them against their subjective value hierarchy, then decide for themselves what actions, if any, they are willing to take, based on their own projected benefits or consequences of their decisions/actions.
As for the current government lockdowns/mandates, my position is, and has been since the outset, that it’s not their decision to make.
This is why I don’t participate in debates about the danger (or lack thereof) of the virus, or whether the mandated actions are effective, etc. To me it’s all moot, because nobody has the right to make those decisions for others.
In other words, the decision(s) rightfully belong to each individual.
If they feel they’re at risk, they can stay home; they can quit their job, or shutter their business, and figure out some other way of supporting themselves and/or their families. They can wear a facemask, practice social distancing, wash their hands regularly, etc.
Everyone has the right to do any of these things.
But what nobody has the right to do is force others into compliance with their own subjective decisions/actions, resultant of their own subjective risk assessment, based on their own subjective values.
And what we’re seeing today is even worse: many government officials and their paid enforcers are forcing compliance with their decisions onto everyone else—while not complying themselves!
This is the very definition of tyranny!
Tell me again, why we have a second amendment?
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