The subject of this year’s Utah State History Conference is “Rights and Responsibilities.” The title alone could not come at a more apropos time. As a citizen and a primary care physician, I am surprised and disappointed at my fellow citizens who feel that their individual rights outweigh their responsibilities. The very notion that groups of people would band together and essentially make a pact that they will not only not wear masks themselves during a time of global pandemic, but that they will take it upon themselves to fight the legality of mandates for all to do so.

We have government officials to serve the best interest of the citizens by whom they were elected, and then we band together to fight against or even to sue them when they actually do their job based on the best scientific data available? Frankly I don’t enjoy wearing a mask all day long as I see patients either, but I do so, at least as much to protect others as to protect myself and my family from what I might bring home. It would be wonderful if everyone would voluntarily mask and not require mandates to do so, but experience has obviously shown us that this does not work.

We do not, and should not, wish to live in an Ayn Randian society where social Darwinism prevails and it is every man for himself. This leads to chaos and anarchy. We all need to do our part to make the world a better place, not one where my individual rights and freedoms are more important than my responsibility for the good of society. Such a society is not communism or socialism, and it is not “unconstitutional.” It is just being good neighbors.

Kevin B. Johnson, South Jordan