Covidiots, the Freedom Cafe, and taking a stand for “liberty” in Kentucky

I just learned a new word: “covidiot.”

Covidiots are people who refuse — often angrily — to take common sense precautions against the deadliest disease pandemic in a century, thus risking their lives and the lives of others.

Simultaneously, covidiots “may also engage in selfish behavior that doesn’t look out for the greater good when it comes to slowing down and stopping the spread of the coronavirus,” explained the Explore Health website.

“Covidiots” include loopy right-wing libertarians who claim that mask mandates in public places violate their personal freedom. In other words, they argue that their individual liberty is more important than public health and safety.

“The right to bodily integrity and autonomy is the most fundamental of all human rights—and these tyrannical politicians have infringed upon it, claiming that it is necessary to somehow stop the spread of COVID-19,” a covidiot harrumphed in aTampa Bay Times letter to the editor.

The Freedom Cafe

The Poke, a satirical British website, jabbed covidiots in a sendup last fall that’s still timely with the death toll continuing to rise worldwide. In the U.S. it has topped 570,000 and counting. So far, COVID 19 has killed more than 6,500 Kentuckians.

The website posted a letter to the editor published in a California newspaper. The missive is about a mythical “Freedom Cafe” where masks are optional.

The spoof has cafe management explaining that “in the same spirit of individual liberty, we allow our staff to make their own choices about the safety procedures they prefer to follow as they prepare and serve your food.”

While management encourages “employees to wash their hands after using the bathroom,” the bosses acknowledge “that some people may be allergic to certain soaps or may simply prefer not to wash their hands.” Hence, they concede, “it is not our place to tell them what to do.”

Though diners “may be used to chicken that has been cooked to 165 degrees,” management points out that “we do have to respect that some of our cooks may have seen a meme or a YouTube video saying that 100 degrees is fine and we do not want to encroach on their beliefs.”

Meanwhile, waiters are free “to touch your food as they serve it” because “there is no reason that a healthy person with clean hands can’t touch your food.” Freedom Cafe’s proprietors will “take servers’ word for it that they are healthy and clean.”

Likewise, dishwashers are at liberty to decide “water temperature and detergent” to use and are free to determine “how they’d prefer to wash the silverware you will put in your mouth.”

Management also admits some patrons “may get sick, but almost everyone survives food poisoning” and concludes, “We think you’ll agree that it’s a small price to pay for the sweet freedom of no one ever being told what to do – and especially not for the silly reason of keeping strangers healthy.”

More liberty – get rid of these pesky rules!

So, in the spirit of the Freedom Cafe, let’s take libertarianism to the max.

Down with tyranny! Up with these actions to increase our freedom!

  • Abolishing laws against underage drinking and smoking.
  • Repealing laws impinging on a drunk or doped-up driver’s right to operate a motor vehicle.
  • Nixing all licensure requirements to drive a car, truck, school bus, public bus, train, or to fly an airplane sloshed or stoned. 
  • Deep-sixing speed limits, no-passing zones, and one-way streets. Oh, and switching off stop lights and pulling up stop signs.
  • Axing licensure requirements for professionals such as doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, lawyers, electricians, public school teachers, counselors, and therapists, and handlers of explosives, radioactive materials, and pesticides.

To heck with our national motto, E. Pluribus Unum, and also with “United We Stand, Divided We Fall,” our state slogan.

In honor of covidiots everywhere, notably Kentucky’s junior senator, let’s make our universal motto the bleat of South Park’s bigoted brat, Eric Cartman: “I do what I want!”

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Berry Craig of Arlington, Ky., is a professor emeritus of history at West Kentucky Community College in Paducah and an author of seven books and co-author of two more, all on Kentucky history. His latest book is Kentuckians and Pearl Harbor: Stories from the Day of Infamy, published last fall by South Limestone Books, an imprint of the University Press of Kentucky.

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