Personal Liberty Vs Social Responsibility

Personal liberty vs personal responsibility is beginning to be voiced on talk shows. Is one inclusive or exclusive of the other? Psychologist Dr. Bart Rossi, Ph.D. joins the Wink News team to discuss.

The concept is not new.  It is only the words ‘personal liberty vs personal responsibility’ that are newly emerging.  The concept of the title, after all, is exactly what the basis of the protests against the stay at home orders was about.

Following scientific guidelines, Michigan ordered citizens to ‘stay at home.’ To some, this was done as a measure to stop the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic. To others, it was an attempt by the government to take away their “freedoms.” So in response to the “stay at home” order in Michigan, protesters, some armed, stormed the Capitol Building.

Many other states issued similar orders. And there were similar small protests across the country.

There were many states that resisted issues of any orders that infringed on personal freedoms. They didn’t say to stay at home. They didn’t mandate or even suggest wearing masks. Florida, for example, has long-resisted imposing any restrictions — in lock-step with Trump’s rhetoric. Governor Rick DeSantis was claiming victory as early as April as Florida had not been impacted like New York and New Jersey had. But as noted in the Sun-Sentinel article entitled “Coronavirus reached its peak in Florida? Not so fast,” by late April it began to see spikes. By June, Florida saw record numbers as it topped 5,000 cases in a day, as did other early resisting states, like Texas, and Arizona.

As of today, Florida is now seeing 11,000 cases a day.

By contrast, New York was enduring 10,000 cases a day in April. Governor Cuomo enacted strict measures that one could certainly say hampered their freedoms. Most of New York City was shut down; social interaction almost non-existent.  However, by June, at the same time cases were resurging to record highs in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and others, New York has contained the virus spread with new cases declining to 700 a day. California was an early participating state in following health expert guidelines. And per capita, Califonia had fared pretty well. But it too most recently has seen a surge after beginning to reopen the state economy.

But the debate is still raging

So California is reinstituting some measures that helped it combat the virus early on. Other governors are not just reinstituting or extending stay at home orders, but also mandating masks in public, social distancing, and restricting crowd sizes.  Because crowd sizes are being restricted, that limits churchgoers.

Carlton Tucker of Fox News was making the case today that many State governments were infringing on the First Amendment, and specifically mentioned Freedom of Religion.

Certainly, the First Amendment allows for the freedom to assemble, and the freedom to worship. But I didn’t see anything in the First Amendment that says groups had to be allowed to assemble even if it puts others in danger during a pandemic, that is highly contagious.

As I watched his show with a friend,  I noted that: “It’s a stupid debate. It’s a false debate. If there wasn’t a pandemic, I’d agree. But the freedom of religion argument doesn’t hold water in the middle of a pandemic.”

To my surprise, the rebuttal wasn’t based on the grounds of freedom, the constitution, or the first amendment. I was told in no uncertain terms that “The pandemic is over.”

This is the biggest issue we’re facing in America today. Divided information is being given to a divided nation. Not only can’t America agree on what has happened during the pandemic, but they also can’t even seem to agree on whether there still is a pandemic.

Personal Liberty Vs Social Responsibility

In this episode, Dr. Rossi delves into the psychology behind liberty vs. responsibility.



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