Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger railed against anti-maskers in a panel conversation about the COVID-19 pandemic. The Terminator actor did not mince his words and explained that “with freedom comes responsibility” to protect those around you.
“People ought to be reminded over and over that the experts are saying we have to wear masks, especially when you go indoors,” Schwarzenegger said in a YouTube conversation with retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and CNN’s Bianna Golodryga. “The experts are saying we should still wash our hands regularly. we should still do social distancing, especially with this new comeback of the virus, we have to really go and work together on that. there is misinformation out there.”
Just as Schwarzenegger is “an expert at building a bicep,” he reminded the audience that there are experts out there who’ve studied viruses and public health “year after year after year” who we should be listening to.
“People should know—there is a virus here. It kills people. and the only way we prevent it is to get vaccinated, wear masks, do social distancing, and wash your hands all the time,” he said. That also means not just thinking about, ‘Well my freedom is being kind of disturbed here,” Schwarzenegger continued. “No, screw your freedom. With freedom comes obligations and responsibilities. You can’t just say, ‘I have the right to do X, Y, and Z when you affect other people. That is when it gets serious.”
Ultimately, Schwarzenegger encouraged viewers to work together to protect each other from COVID-19. “Yeah, you have the freedom to wear no mask,” he said, “but you know something? You’re a schmuck for not wearing a mask because you are supposed to protect your fellow members [of society] around you.”
Schwarzenegger’s words may be forceful, but perhaps his palpable frustration is warranted at a time when the U.S. is in the middle of yet another COVID-19 surge, only 59% of people ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated, and harmful COVID-19 misinformation abounds on social media. As Schwarzenegger said, it will take all of us stepping up to the responsibility of doing what we can—getting vaccinated, wearing masks, washing our hands, and staying socially distanced—to protect ourselves and our entire community.