Friday, October 31, 2014
It seems to me that when we look at the issue of Ebola and how quarantine fits in terms of liberty it is important to look at who the responsibility of avoiding spread of the disease, and subsequently harm to others, falls upon. If a person is knowingly infected or even possibly infected, the onus falls upon that person to take the necessary precautions to prevent spread of the disease. In the case of Ebola the appropriate way to do so is go under medical treatment and subsequent quarantine until all signs of the disease are no longer present. The question becomes what happens when the infected person refuses to follow those orders, and is the state in the right to force quarantine upon an individual who may be infected? As discussed in class today the action of quarantine itself falls constitutionally to the individual states as a police action. I believe a person who violates quarantine, and in so doing causes potential harm, up to and including death to others, is violating others personal liberties and therefore worthy of police action. I say this realizing that it is not unfathomable to think that government controlled quarantines could quickly become excessive. In a perfect state of liberty, should a person be detained inappropriately they would have recourse for their own liberties being violated, but we know in the current state government will likely not be held responsible for undue quarantine in the interest of “the common good”. All in all it seems that finding a clear cut ruling on grounds of liberty in cases of quarantine would be difficult due to the transition period from personal responsibility to police action and where that line is drawn.