Libertarian Theory and Covid

From: Walter Block <[email protected]>

Sent: Saturday, December 05, 2020 8:17 PM

To: ‘Josh Klenoff’ ; ‘Michael Edelstein’

Cc: ‘Malcolm Greenhill’  ‘Mort Kantor’ ; ‘David Pressman’

Subject: RE: Anti-Mask

Dear Josh:

My writing on this might be of interest to you.

Block, Walter E. 2020. “A libertarian analysis of the Covid-19 pandemic.” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 24, No. 1;

Best regards,


From: Josh Klenoff

Sent: Saturday, December 05, 2020 7:51 PM

To: Michael Edelstein

Cc: Denise, Ken Rosenblum, Larry, Golden ; Malcolm Greenhill ; Walter E. Block ; Mort Kantor ; David Pressman

Subject: Re: Anti-Mask

How interesting! If you have any questions, please share them with me. I’m hosting a Covid debate on Monday between, on the one hand, an epidemiologist in favor of collective action over individual rights, and on the other hand, the head of Pandemic Analysis Group, in favor of individual rights over collective action.

Once again, please share any questions you’d like me to ask our debaters.

The epidemiologist, in sharing some of his basic thinking with me, said:

1. during WWII, England forced people to keep lights off when sirens rang. Should people have been free to turn lights on? That would have gotten people killed. Bombs are dropping with Covid.

2. 9/11, we passed the Patriot Act to prevent more bombings and atrocities. Covid is far worse than 9/11.

3. Quarantine in the 14th century came to mean merchants would dock in Venice and before being permitted to leave their boat, they needed to wait on their boat 40 days. Only if people weren’t dying could Venice residents believe that they were free from the plague. This was essential.

He also spoke of Rousseau’s social contract and how during healthy times, the U.S. has a better health system than Canada, but during wartime or Covid, Canada is better than the U.S.

On Sat, Dec 5, 2020 at 7:47 PM Michael Edelstein wrote:

Scott ODecember 5, 2020 at 11:38 AM

I believe that masks help spread the virus faster, given that we know they do not block aerosols or isolated viruses. First, they encourage people to get closer to each other as a substitute for distance (though it is disputed whether distance is any help). Second, the mask of an infected person collects the virus as that person breathes. Then that person turns to another and speaks, and as the mask is not designed to contain that velocity of air, some of the collected virus is sent towards the other person along with the virus in that exhalation, enhancing the likelihood of transmission.

FarodekDecember 5, 2020 at 2:51 PM

I’ve read a couple papers now, showing that masks can force droplets to split up into aerosols as the pressure forces them through the openings.

Dear :

Best regards,



4:09 pm on April 16, 2021

Political Theatre

LRC Blog

LRC Podcasts