William Burden: Civil liberties include civil responsibilities | TheUnion.com

William Burden: Civil liberties include civil responsibilities

In her May 9 guest column, Robin Trembath’s basic assumption seems to be that “civil liberties” trump all other considerations. Part of being a citizen is understanding that no meaningful freedom comes without responsibilities, first of all in regards to our fellow citizens.

The very word “civil” assumes we live in a community. If we are threatened by an unsafe driver or a rabid dog, it is assumed that our government has some responsibility in protecting us from those threats. It should be clear that the coronavirus is a threat to all of us.

Robin also shows no real understanding of the cruel math of this virus. We have been fortunate that we have had few cases — yet. We have centuries of history with various infectious pandemics, and the clear pattern is waves of reoccurrence. There is no pre-existing immunity to this particular virus. If our community allows the spread of the virus we will see effects like those in Italy and Spain, which only gained control by much more invasive restrictions than we have experienced. And the virus is still out there.

As a small business owner, I am certainly concerned about the near-term outlook. As a citizen and a grandparent, I am much more concerned with long-term outcome. It should be obvious that our government plays a key role, for good or ill. That is the crux of civil liberty, and civil responsibility.

William Burden

Penn Valley

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Connect with needs and opportunities from

Get immediate access to organizations and people in our area that need your help or can provide help during the Coronavirus crisis.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User