Ethical Outrage: No Excuse for This Kind of Behavior

This story in the Washington Post caught my eye and gave me an instant headache. Here is a man who fought to reopen Maryland prematurely, caught the coronavirus, and now refuses to provide information on who he’s been in contact with because he doesn’t want the government to have anyone’s information. This despite the fact that infectious disease experts say contact tracing is key to containing the virus.

People have a right to control their own behavior and exercise their individual rights—but not when it puts others at risk. This is why it’s important to wear a mask indoors with others present. You can put your own health at risk if you want, but a mask protects others. Not wearing one is the equivalent of driving drunk and not caring who you might run down.

It’s hard to believe anyone can be so uncaring, so selfish, so unethical as the gentleman described in this article.

Is there any sane argument in his favor? If you think so, please leave a comment or email me at


3 thoughts on “Ethical Outrage: No Excuse for This Kind of Behavior

  1. I agree. Freedom cannot be absolute if we are members of a society. As classical liberals advocated, the individual should be free to act but only to the extent that his or her actions do not harm others. In our current case, as the post suggests, individual autonomy poses a real threat to the greater good.

  2. Mark, seems like this guy has been sufficiently humbled by his callous behavior. He said that he personally contacted those who he may have infected and am fine leaving it there.

    I can relate to his reluctance to give the government data. The government did a security check on me for when I worked for NASA and failed to secure my data. My family and I were informed that we were victimized in the 2015 OPM hack. As a result, the government provided me with three years of free identity theft protection. Great. I also work with healthcare PII on a daily basis and know how easy it is to breech. The only real defense is for individuals to protect their own data. I guess it boils down to how much you trust private corporations and the government.

    In this instance, I don’t think contact tracing should be mandated regardless of the best intentions.



  3. I imagine immigrants might have difficulty with contact tracing and giving up names of possible illegal immigrants, but the rest of us have no excuse not to provide all the information that we can for contact tracing.

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