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Carlson Feels Liberties Are Being Destroyed to Save Lives


April 15, 2021

Dear Editor,

In response to the COVID-19 virus, government has placed many restrictions on the American people. Many of these restrictions infringe upon the American people’s God-given right to liberty. However, many government officials who promote such restrictions say that they are justified because protecting life is far more important than protecting liberty. They may be partially right, but to what extent can government rightly destroy our liberties for the sake of saving lives?

An illustration outside the realm of COVID-19 may be helpful. Each year, many innocent people die as a result of crime. The government has an essential duty to save these lives. But how far can the government go to save these lives? Can the government conduct routine, unannounced, and unreasonable searches of everyone’s homes? This would likely save many lives; this would likely result in the rescue of victims of abuse, kidnapping, and human trafficking, or the seizure of illegal weapons and harmful drugs, or the arrest of violent criminals. But although this restriction of our 4th Amendment liberty would result in saving lives, it would also be shocking to the senses of every decent, freedom-loving American.

So if government cannot severely restrict liberty to prevent murder and human trafficking, why can it do so to prevent a virus that has a recovery rate of over 98%? Government has an urgent duty to take precautions and save lives, yes. However, saving lives must be done within the framework of our free society. This framework includes the rights to interact with other people, to operate businesses, to make our own health decisions, or to worship and assemble without hindrance.

Freedom is part of what makes life so precious. In the famous words of Patrick Henry, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

Isaiah Carlson,



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