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December 06, 2021

Freedom Has Consequences

“No one has the right to tell me what I put into my body!!!”

“I have the right to take my drugs of choice!!”

“I’m not a slave; I don’t have to work!”

Suppose I don’t want to get vaccinated. Let’s ignore the fact that I put others at risk with my choice. Am I willing to accept the consequences? In Singapore the unvaccinated have to pay for their Covid treatment. Am I willing to go the end of queue for an ICU bed or for Covid meds? If I won’t take the consequences, then I don’t have the right to the freedom.

Outlawing drugs doesn’t work anymore than outlawing alcohol did. Many have paid a terrible price for their alcoholism; some have overcome it. The choice to use other drugs shouldn’t be a choice without consequences. The destigmatizing of drug abuse – “substance use disorder” – is not helpful to individuals or society. Everyone deserves a second chance. However, a lifetime free supply of Narcan or methadone is not a basic human right. We can’t have the freedom to make bad choices if we don’t have personal responsibility for consequences.

There have been some consequences for those who oversupplied and overprescribed opioids. However, drug manufacturers and distributors have also been awarded a vast new market for “maintenance” drugs paid for not by their users but by the rest of us. More a reward than a consequence.

Food and housing, we hear, are basic human rights. Work, however, is a basic human responsibility. If I choose not to work….

We can choose to have a society which allows a great range of personal freedom. We can choose to have a society which protects us from the consequence of bad choices. We can’t have both.

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