If you’re at all a student of history and philosophy (or have even listened to "Hamilton" a few times) you know that freedom and responsibility go hand in hand.

Hobbes said that in our natural state, without a sense of obligation to one another, our lives would be “nasty, brutish and short.” Locke and Rousseau said that we gain rights and freedoms in return for the obligation to respect and defend the rights and freedoms of others. Dewey said that as societies grow, our freedoms and responsibilities grow in equal measure, because we have increased opportunities, but there are also increased consequences for our actions. In "Hamilton," George Washington says, “Winning was easy, young man. Governing’s harder.”

A simple glance at the comment section of any COVID-19 news article or the aisles of a shopping center show that there are many people in Wyoming, and in the U.S. in general, who love the idea of freedom, but refuse to take any responsibility.

Shoppers want the freedom to go out and about, but don’t want to take the responsibility to protect their community members by wearing a mask. Business and restaurant owners want the freedom to open back up, but don’t want to take responsibility if their policies result in someone getting sick. Legislators want the freedom that comes with increased federal funding, but don’t want the responsibility of passing the same measures that allowed that funding to arrive. (Hint: it rhymes with “baxes.”)

People, in general, want the freedom of returning to “normal,” but don’t want the responsibilities that come with reshaping our society in a way that will allow that to happen safely.

This isn’t all Wyomingites. Or even most. But there are enough careless “freedom lovers” out there to ensure that the freedoms of others are actually more curtailed after quarantine than during. The final result of this nonsense will be many deaths, and even more draconian restrictions than we can currently imagine.

Those who want freedom should accept responsibility, or they will lose the former due to the lack of the latter.

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