It’s the exception that proves the rule is one of the more profound of expressions. Often misinterpreted. Replace ‘proves’ with its synonym ‘tests’, and its meaning becomes clear. It means, as Catallaxy readers would know, that if the rule breaks down in exceptional circumstances, then it isn’t a rule at all. It has a Popperian quality. It only needs one contradictory event to undo a theory or a rule.
We have Covid, the exceptional circumstance. The rule in this case is that our freedoms are inalienable and protected by our representative and democratic governing principles and practices. Well, how well has that rule stood up? We now know, there is no such rule. Our inalienable rights (e.g., to meet with our friends and family, to assemble, to earn a living, to eat out, to travel) are privileges dispensed by state premiers and their public health apparatchiks. Sure, they can be restored. But can we never again describe them as rights. We have ceded them to executive government.
Like standover men, governments allow you to go about your business for a price. Those choosing to be unvaccinated will soon find out. Think of dissidents in North Korea, in China, in Afghanistan for a parallel. OK you won’t lose your head, but your life will be made miserable.