Letter: Depriving people of livelihoods is no solution

Graphic by Lori Deaton

While I appreciate hearing Margot Kornfeld’s thoughts and concerns about being a person who is “at-risk” as we combat this current virus, I found it unfortunate that she would choose to imply that I have no concern for anyone but myself [“Freedom Vs. Reducing Coronavirus Risk,” June 24, Xpress]. Quite the contrary. While precautions and common sense are needed more than ever right now, whether one is “at-risk” or not, depriving thousands of their livelihoods here in Asheville and millions across the nation while driving many small businesses into bankruptcy is not the solution, in my humble opinion.

Perhaps Ms. Kornfeld would feel safer if we kept the lockdown indefinitely and required everyone to wear face masks for the next year or two. Those who need an income to survive and support their families do not seem to be much of a concern to her. I feel differently.

As far as our civil liberties are concerned, they are not mine, Ms. Kornfeld. They belong to all of us. Curtailing these basic rights in the name of keeping us all safe is a precedent we set at our own peril. Benjamin Franklin told us many years ago that those who are willing to give up their liberties for safety will ultimately lose both. I wish you well and pray for the safety and well-being of us all.

— Gardner Hathaway


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2 thoughts on “Letter: Depriving people of livelihoods is no solution

  1. luther blissett

    Let’s go to Thomas Calder’s excellent archival piece on how the Civil Rights Act was greeted by the Asheville Citizen and its (white) readers who wailed about how their civil liberties were being curtailed:


    A supercilious assault on a group of straw men gets us nowhere. You cannot ask (let alone order) people to feel safe. The economy cannot be revived without a shared sense of (relative) safety. Relative safety requires a sense of control: that tests are being processed quickly, that contact tracing is effective, that low-wage retail and service workers don’t fear assault for enforcing mask-wearing rules. And the earth above Franklin’s grave is constantly tilled by the spinning beneath.

  2. Mike

    Generally speaking, one of the greatest “grabs” of civil liberties in US history was the Patriot Act-directly because of safety. I’d be interested to hear the letter writer’s perspective- is this different? If so, how? Not trying to be argumentative, just something I’ve been thinking about when trying to understand the “civil liberty” arguments against mask wearing , social distancing, and yes, limitations on commercial enterprise. Also, to be clear, tremendous empathy for those whose economic lives are suffering. Frying pan, fire, rock, hard place.

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