Letters to the editor, December 26, 2020
Freedom goes both ways
Speaking to the Journal in March 2014, state representative Phil Jensen argued that market forces and not government mandates should determine the acceptability of businesses that discriminate based on race or sexual orientation. Giving a hypothetical example of a Ku Klux Klansman who owns a bakery and refuses to serve minorities, Jensen argued that the baker would either change his business practices to conform to decent society’s norms or close due to lack of patronage.
Consistent with this laissez-faire viewpoint is the notion that the free market should also determine which businesses thrive and suffer during a pandemic. What can freedom mean in this context, however, without access to information about businesses’ practices regarding COVID? Knowing which businesses do and do not follow CDC recommendations allows consumers to make more informed decisions. The market that incorporates the most information is the freest.
Such is the function of the Caring Businesses of Rapid City Facebook page and councilmember Laura Armstrong’s posts. The defender of free markets and critic of government interference, however, has complained to the city attorney, calling Armstrong a “scold”.
They love freedom until it challenges them.
Seth Thomas, Rapid City
In support of Armstrong
I am in full support of Laura Armstrong and the Facebook page and here's why and feel free to share my story. I am a single mom and I have bronchiectasis along with other health issues. I also have an 84 year old mom that lives with me with lung cancer. I get really sick when I just get a cold because of the pockets in my lungs just waiting for a virus to come calling. If I get COVID or mom we would probably not be one of the lucky ones. So I have to know where to go that is safe to shop at and where it's not. They choose to not wish to mandate a mask policy in their stores that is their right, but it is also my right to not shop there. I get sick, I am pretty positive none of the anti masker freedom people are going to step up and pay my mortgage or support my son or take care of my mom if I die. So you know what? I have a freedom and a right to know where to shop that values me as a customer and values my safety. I have a right to shop where I feel safe and that FB page gives me info so I can make an informed decision on my household. They don't like it that their company was mentioned? Then they should clean up their act. My life is more important to me than the fact that they don't like being mentioned on a FB page. Well guess what I can also go on their public page and state the same thing than on the private chat page.
Lisa Knigge, Rapid City