Wearing a Mask Is Your Duty

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A life and death question of your rights

I’ve watched tragically misinformed people refusing to wear a mask in public — people who claim a Constitutional right to infect their fellow citizens with a highly contagious and potentially lethal disease. The Constitution protects no such right. Anyone who tells you that it’s a violation of of your right of free speech is gaming you and using you as a political dupe. Because the Supreme Court long ago ruled that you have no Constitutional right to spuriously shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater and cause a potentially lethal panic, you also do not have a right to inflict your potentially virus loaded breath on others when your state or local government has mandated masks and social distancing in public places. The right of governments to declare and enforce quarantine rules in response to contagious diseases is totally within their Constitutional authority.

With rights usually come obligations. People have died to make our Constitution possible and to protect and defend it from its enemies. As a citizen protected by that Constitution, do you not have an obligation to avoid harming your fellow citizens? Wearing a mask is not to protect the wearer. COVID-19 is most easily spread with the microscopic drops of moisture in our breath, so a mask is worn to protect others. You may not believe that the pandemic is real (despite all the irrefutable evidence that it is). That is your Constitutionally protected right. But you have no morally defensible or Constitutional right to inflict that belief, and the potential risk to health and life, upon others.

I’m a US Army veteran of the Vietnam War, have a wonderful wife and family, am a working software engineer, and a committed citizen.

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