Earlier this week, Arnold Schwarzenegger went on a rant in which he described anyone who refuses to wear a mask as a selfish "schmuck." For good measure, he added another line: "Screw your freedom." Now, in an essay at the Atlantic, the former governor acknowledges that his language was a "little much." On the other hand, he's doing anything but retracting it. "You have the freedom to wear no mask," he writes. "But if you exercise that freedom, you’re a schmuck—because you’re supposed to protect your fellow Americans." Schwarzenegger says he has taken lots of flak over his comments, but one sentiment in particular bothers him. "Many people told me that the Constitution gives them rights, but not responsibilities," he writes. "They feel no duty to protect their fellow citizens."
This leads Schwarzenegger to offer what he calls a "civics lesson." He draws a comparison to the self-sacrifice Americans of all kinds made during World War II. Food rations, gas rations, the loss of loved ones sent into battle, etc. "Americans lived through four years of brutal sacrifice, and we’re going to throw fits about putting a mask over our mouth and nose?" he asks. America is once again fighting a war, this time against a virus, and "some people want to create an alternative America, where we have no responsibility to one another." But that version of America has never existed, he writes. The essay concludes with a question: "What will you do for your country?" Read it here. (Read more Arnold Schwarzenegger stories.)