I was astonished and at a loss for words at Balentine’s blunderous attempt at an op-ed (“Here’s Something: An overabundance of caution is our undoing,” Aug. 11). I realized that this writer is just pandering to the far right. He claims that he finds himself at a store several towns over from his cabin on Sebago Lake. When a shopper has the gall to chide him for not masking up, he launches into a tirade about supply-side economics. Farfetched?
And then I thought to myself, how can anyone take such a selfish, narcissistic and borderline-sociopathic view of one’s role in society as to disregard scientific experts and not wear a mask at a crowded store, essentially because “I don’t wanna”?
The cornerstone of modern libertarian thought assumes that the government does not need to regulate because individuals in its stead will exercise personal responsibility. Like voluntarily wearing a mask in a crowded store during a pandemic. And then I realized Mr. Balentine’s “I don’t wanna” is so extreme that it actually rejects and goes beyond libertarianism. He has, in fact, reverted back to 18th century libertinism that yearns for freedom in the absence of personal responsibility.
As another reader mentioned in response to the dreadful July 4 op-ed, we can and must have both freedom and responsibility. But this is a conversation for another time. Right now, we’re trying to overcome a pandemic.
Ryan Evans
Portland