“Your freedom to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.” This statement sums up the Harm Principle in a nutshell. “Laws created under the Harm Principle are written to protect people from being harmed by others. Harm Principle laws are essential in every society and every government in the world has them.” (ThoughtCo, 2019.)
The Harm Principle says people are free to act however they want until they cause harm to somebody else (Ethics Explained, 2016). For example, you are free to drink yourself silly in the privacy of your own home. You are not free to get behind the wheel of your car inebriated because, obviously, you might cause bodily injury to someone else. Thus, the government steps in and passes laws to protect us from irresponsible drivers.
We instituted laws restricting smoking in public places when research showed passive cigarette smoke caused illness in others and, in turn, placed a burden on our healthcare system. This is the perfect analogy to apply to mandating masks. All the research confirms masks lessen the spread of COVID-19 and prevents overloading our hospitals and healthcare system.
When wearing masks, you are protecting your fellow citizens from the coronavirus and they, in turn, are protecting you. You do not have a right to cause your neighbors to get sick. You do not have a right to burden our healthcare system. It violates the Harm Principle. It’s as simple as that.
We in Arizona seem to have had a tough time self-regulating, so the Maricopa Board of Supervisors had to step in and make masks mandatory. And we are thankful they did.