Jul 27, 2020

Freedom of Assembly has become a sacred cow

A lot has been said about the right to protest being a staple of democracy, thus causing the government to allow protests to continue almost unhindered while limiting all other social activities with very strict restrictions.

It is considered so sacred that I think it has become a sacred cow. 

I do understand it though, even though I personally would not participate in a protest at this point. I also understand it even though I think anyone who does participate in such protests, especially without taking care for social distancing and wearing masks, is taking undue risks and could very well be causing the spread of the virus.

However, I am not sure why the right to protest is the only right given that status. Democracies are built on the rights and liberties of the people, with those rights including a lot more than just the right to protest.

If the rights of the people are so sacred,. what about the right and freedom to worship? I am not one to fight for shuls to open against the recommendations of health officials, nor in greater numbers than what they recommend, but why is the right to protest any more sacred than the freedom of worship? There is no right to go to a restaurant or a concert, so I won't compare it to that directly, but there is personal freedom and liberty and if a person should choose to open his restaurant or organize a concert and should I choose to go to it, why should that be any less than the freedom to protest?

If the government has the right to shut down everything else due to public health concerns, why not protests? I just don't get it. Why is the freedom of assembly, the right to protest, any more sacred than all the other rights a democratic society provides?

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  1. Irrespective of the legality of these demonstrations, I really think that it shows a massive lack of judgement.

    People have been unable to attend significant life events such as weddings or funerals of loved ones, many people haven't seen family in months, many people are under tremendous hardship, but realize that it is in the interests of society to contain this disease as much as possible, even if that means not attending a wedding or (L'Havidil) funeral of a loved one.

    These demonstrators are saying that their right to demonstrate is more important that any of the other events that people have had to forgo. Organizing or attending any public gathering now, whether a party, concert, or demonstration shows a massive lack of judgement.
    There are so many other ways to demonstrate such as online petitions, or drive-through convoys which would be equally effective (or ineffective), without showing a lack of sensitivity to others who missed the funeral of a parent.

    1. I'd say more effective. Have demonstrations ever accomplished anything?


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