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Republican legislators who signed a letter encouraging the reopening Iowa and restoration of liberties have received expected criticism from some left-wing folks on social media.

It isn’t a surprise. But it is telling.

In my mind, it gets to the very heart of the difference between conservatives and liberals.

Conservatives believe the individual is more than capable of making the decision that is best for each individual. Liberals look to government for the answer — or in this case, order.

I know there are folks out there who are in the “high-risk” category. I know there are folks out there who genuinely believe the best, safest thing to do right now is stay home.

My advice for them is to do what they think is best — for them. But do not expect everyone else to one, agree, and two, follow suit.

It is not the government’s role to order people to stay home or they might get sick and die. I’m sorry. It isn’t.

If the government has information along those lines, then, by all means, pass it along to the public and let the public take it into consideration.

Undoubtedly the government wants the public to trust the government. But there are two sides to that, and the government should trust the public to do what is in the public’s best interest.

This is a virus. It isn’t going to disappear. I’d be willing to bet that most everyone will be exposed to it at some point or another. And I’d also be more than willing to bet COVID-19 has been in our state since late last year or January of this year.

There are inherent risks of being a human being. Every day people choke. People die in car crashes. People trip and fall while walking and end up with serious injuries.

Every day.

The government cannot protect us from everything, nor is it supposed to.

We can say that Gov. Kim Reynolds has done a better job than most (we being Republicans), but the truth is if a Democrat governor ordered churches to be closed, there would have been many vocal critics from the GOP. And if a Democrat governor ordered churches remain closed for Easter, there would have been even more defiance.

Let’s not pretend that is not the case.

Churches never should have been “ordered” to close by the governor. That should not be allowed. There can be a strong recommendation, but an order was not right.

It is still early, but it seems pretty obvious that the reaction to COVID-19 has created far more problems than COVID-19 has. I don’t know how any truly objective observer could dispute that.

I view this whole should we open, should we not debate like this…if you are a parent of a child and live in rural Iowa and the weather is bad, but not bad enough to cancel school, and in your mind, your child would be in serious danger if he or she went to school that day, would you really force him or her to go to school UNLESS the school called off?

Really?

Responsible parents are going to make the decision they feel is best for their child.

Same thing with workers.

If you truly are scared for your life at the idea of going to work in the middle of a pandemic, are you really going to risk it and show up to work?

Really?

Yes, you may lose your job. Yes, you may be punished. But are you not willing to put your survival ahead of those things?

At some point, we have to allow adults to be adults. Not all of them will make the right decision. Their inability to make good decisions will lead to bad outcomes for others. That’s part of life.

Remember in the early days of the War on Terror? We were told that one way the terrorists would win is if they were successful in changing our everyday routine.

Well, if this is truly a War on COVID-19, have we already lost? The first thing we did was change everything about our everyday routine.

Freedom comes at a cost. And there are many things that are required of a free people. One of them is personal responsibility.

If a business owner wants to remain open, and customers want to continue to do business there, let them. If someone wants a haircut, and someone wants to cut their hair, let them.

If someone wants to stay home, let them.

At some point, if we’re truly a free country, we have to allow people to be free in their decision-making process.

Look, COVID-19 isn’t something to mess with. It has cost people their lives. I get that. But so have automobiles, knives, baseball bats, sidewalks, etc.

We cannot create a utopia where risk is extinct.

In a free society, risk will always be all around us. And we should be able to decide exactly how much “risk” we’re willing to take on as individuals.

There are a lot of precedents being set right now, at this very moment. What we’re allowing to happen right now will be more likely to happen next time.

And while Iowa is fortunate to have a Republican as governor today, how can we possibly know who will be governor next time?

Is it inconceivable that a Democrat governor or President would not declare a public health emergency over climate change and require everything ‘nonessential’ be shut down to preserve energy or lower pollution or reduce emissions?

Is it inconceivable that after the next mass shooting when a Democrat is President or Governor they might not claim it’s a public health emergency?

When this thing is over, it will be imperative that elected leaders reflect back on everything that was allowed to happen and distinguish what was proper and what was not.

In the meantime, let’s continue working to get back to normal.

Jacob Hall

Author: Jacob Hall