The editorial team at The Des Moines Register, (as well as many liberals), seem to think that anyone who does not follow the recommendations of our government’s scientists is a “science denier.” That’s not true. People can believe the science but disagree about how to respond politically. Science can give us a pretty good idea of what will happen when we take certain actions, but science does not tell us what risks are acceptable or what trade-offs we are willing to make to achieve any specific level of safety. Those are either individual or political decisions. We could stop COVID-19 completely if everyone was required to stay in their home for the next 30 days. But even then, some would die in their homes. There is no perfect answer. It is a proper role of government to use its force to stop or slow the spread of a communicable disease. But as we can clearly see there are wide differences of opinion regarding what trade-offs we are willing to make and what level of safety should be our goal. To the extent that those who are not willing to take a risk can protect themselves, others should be free to take risks.
The proper role of government is to protect our lives, liberty and property against those who would use force or fraud against us. The powers of government should be limited to those same powers that each individual is morally justified in using. We are individually morally justified in defending our lives, liberty and property against those who would use force or fraud to take those things away from us. If it is morally wrong for an individual to do something, that same thing does not somehow become moral because a majority of the people want to do it. If it is morally wrong for an individual to use force to take justly obtained property from another person, then it is not made moral by by being done by a majority.
In order to have a civil society, one that is ruled by laws that apply equally to all instead of one that is ruled by force, it is proper for people to cooperate socially to form governments. It is a good thing to have a justice system to resolve disputes between people. Humans have emotions and biases that often prevent them from solving their own disputes. If you didn’t know whether or not you might be on the wrong side of the law, wouldn’t you want the dispute to be decided by an independent, impartial judge and/or jury? That is a proper role for our government.
Otherwise, our government should let honest and peaceful people do pretty much anything as long as they don’t use force or fraud against others, and don’t infringe on the same right of others.