After local lawmakers condemned President Biden’s expanded vaccine mandates as “totalitarian measures,” I started wondering what other requirements they might consider “totalitarian”:

How about requiring a license to drive a car, and requiring a test to receive a driver’s license?

How about requiring drivers to carry liability insurance?

What about our Social Security system, into which all workers pay and from which all who live long enough benefit? What about Medicare?

How about blood alcohol limits for drivers? Why can’t people drink as much as they want and then do whatever they want, even at risk to their lives? Isn’t encountering a drunk driver just a risk the rest of us have to take? After all, most car crashes aren’t fatal.

In elementary school I received the polio vaccine, still required by all 50 states, in a sugar cube. My school also vaccinated my schoolmates and me for rubella (“German measles”). Totalitarianism?

Speaking of schools, I pay school taxes though I have no children. Totalitarianism?

Racially integrated schools (I entered first grade the year public schools were desegregated in my home state of North Carolina): totalitarianism? The white families who established expensive, segregated private schools for their children to attend sure seemed to think so.

For the common good, Americans accept many limits on our freedom and share many responsibilities. Compared to those existing limits and responsibilities, how does limiting our freedom to contract COVID-19, transmit the virus, and allow it to continue to mutate into deadlier variants qualify as totalitarianism?

Sabrina Kirby,


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