To Mask Or Not To Mask: A Social Contract

By Kendyl Brower 

Why must we wear such constrictive, liberty-thieving masks? What laws bind us to this tyrannical contract that violates self autonomy? Anti-maskers question the recommended mask orders given by health officials, believing that such requests infringe on personal freedom. Although we did not sign our names on a dotted line, American citizens like you and I agreed to a social contract in which we sacrifice some freedoms for the greater good. Contractarianism, stemming from Hobbes’ ideals, suggests that we benefit from cooperation. Morality is rooted in one’s ability to follow the social contract, even if they find certain policies unfavorable. Ultimately, to enjoy the commodities the system provides, one must pay in. For instance, we sacrifice the liberty of driving at extremely fast speeds in order to create safe roads. Likewise, our taxes go toward beneficial services like education and public transportation. Evidently, this philosophy is woven throughout our laws and society; we oblige to enrich the community and ourselves. Thus, by wearing masks and giving up a minor freedom, we protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors. Failure to uphold our moral obligations will prevent one from receiving the benefits of the community, or worse, lead one into dangerous situations. What you give is what you take: if you hold large rallies without requiring masks, you might wind up getting a disease. Wearing a mask is as simple as putting on a seatbelt— in the grand scheme of things, the loss of miniscule liberties makes all the difference between life and death.