Dear Fellow Brooklynite Steve:
I went to Madison High School, and Brooklyn College. You?
Thanks for your thoughtful note.
Yes, certainly I agree with you that “an actively contagious individual (who) has been found to deliberately and repeatedly sicken other individuals” is a criminal, and ought to be punished by law. However, what if he does this accidentally, only once? Still, I think it would be justified to use force to stop him.
As to covid, when I wrote about this in March, all I was saying is that we libertarians have no particular comparative advantage is determining just how much of a threat it was, and we ought to be more moderate in our reaction to attempts to stop it by doing things that would otherwise be considered rights violations. I still stand by that assessment. However, nowadays, speaking not as a medical expert, I regard forced quarantines, forced mask wearing (on public, not private property), the possibility of compulsory vaccinations when and if we get one, as anathema to libertarianism.
I fully agree with your assessment of governmental response to this disease. Well said.
From: Steve Athanail
Sent: Friday, August 28, 2020 9:33 AM
Subject: Typhoid Mary
As a physician I’ll allow that forced isolation and even, compulsory directly observed treatment may have a justifiable role in very limited circumstances, as for example when an actively contagious individual has been found to deliberately and repeatedly sicken other individuals with grave outcome. This may have been the case with Mary Mallon, and if so, her misconduct could have been addressed through judicial procedures. I hardly believe this to be the case with “Covid-19” or any other epidemic I’ve dealt with in 40 years of practice. “IF covid is that serious, it was certainly widely thought to be in March of this year”. ‘Widely thought’ is insufficient reason to forcibly deny an individual their due process. It is widely thought that guns and bullets are the cause of civil unrest. Cars are related to thousands of deaths annually. Should we forcibly disarm the entire citizenry, or ban all motor vehicles or any number of other risky activities that may be widely thought to threaten ‘the public health”? I think not. My point is that the civil response to any threat or contagion is a matter of the degree of the danger and should be a rational nuanced response. The political response to “Covid-19” including mass quaranteen has been anything but rational and nuanced, and the more serious danger is the deliberate manipulation by the state of a widely feared but mostly benign infection to crush a population into submission. Curiously, the proven threat of biological weapons research seems to rate low on the state’s danger scale. Rather than permanently quaranteening this loathesome and sickening enterprise, it is surreptitiously encouraged and funded or concealed off shore.
Steve Athanail, MD
Walter2:43 am on August 30, 2020 Email Walter E. Block