Commentary: You Don’t Need a Permission Slip to Go Back to Normal

Group of people together socializing at dinner table

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control did an about-face, announcing that the fully vaccinated among us may resume normal activities. The news came more than a year after California initiated the first lockdown on March 19, 2020.

The CDC’s new posture comes with some narrow exceptions. If you’re traveling on a plane or find yourself in a homeless shelter or in a medical or correctional facility, you still need to wear a mask; and the CDC made sure to clarify, apparently out of great deference for federalism and Hayekian spontaneous order, that its guidance does not predominate over the requirements of federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

Before the CDC updated its pandemic guidance, this was exactly the position espoused by libertarian law professor Ilya Somin of George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia School of Law. Writing from his regular perch at the legal blog The Volokh Conspiracy, Somin’s argument is summarized nicely in the subheading of his piece, “Free the Vaccinated from COVID Restrictions”: “Doing so will protect constitutional rights, reduce vaccine hesitancy, and increase liberty—all at once.”

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Commentary: Is an Alliance Possible Between the Conservatives and the Libertarians?

In a recent column, I argued that libertarians should stop supporting third-party candidates and join our side in an effort to stand up to the Left. In response, writing for the Orange County Register and Reason, libertarian writer Steven Greenhut contended that although conservatives and libertarians have been allies on many issues in the past, “now we’re like residents of different planets.”

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