When faced with an argument against lockdowns, lockdown proponents retort, “You just want a haircut, and don’t care about Grandma dying.” While nobody has ever made this argument, it comes up as a strawman to make opponents of lockdowns seem like egotistical savages. There is no basis for this characterization. Doomers formulated it out of nothing.
However, as they are fighting this strawman, I want to defend it. Imagine this strawman exists. He just wants a haircut. Should he have the right to get his hair cut?
Let’s ask ourselves what it means to live in a free country. Does it simply mean that we get to vote? Certainly it cannot mean that. If the majority voted to take away the rights of a minority, it would not create a free country.
Does it mean that you should have the freedom to shoot grandma? Certainly, it cannot mean that. Grandma should have the freedom to live.
Does it mean that the government can only take away rights if they have a good reason for doing so? This might sound like a logical foundation for freedom, but this cannot be the case. Whatever the government does, it justifies by saying it has a logical reason for doing it. When the John Adams administration passed the alien and sedition acts, outlawing all criticisms of the government, he did so with the intention of protecting the young American republic. From the perspective of the one acting, all acts diminishing rights are pursued with what’s best for the country in mind.
So, what does it mean to live in a free country? I would argue that it means that you can pursue your most basic interests with as minimal interference from the government as possible. So, where you work, who you marry, where you worship, how you travel, etc. are all done without the interference of the government. The government in a free country could interfere with major acts. For example, it would make sense for a government official to prevent you from shooting grandma. However, the more minor the acts where the government steps in to control, the less free the country.
I can think of few acts more minor than a haircut. That’s why they pick that strawman. It seems downright trivial. However, because it’s trivial, it shows that it should be the last area the government should dictate. If they can dictate whether or not you get a haircut, there is no limit to what they can or cannot dictate. Imagine someone saying they live in a free country, but describing that place as a place where you have to check the news each morning to see if you are permitted to get your haircut!
If you desire a free country, defend the freedoms to do the trivial. Because once those freedoms are lost, there are none left.