Governor Greg Abbott of Texas is not only fighting a COVID-19 infection—he’s also on the front lines of a clash within conservatism. The Republican has declared his state “the Freedom Capital of America.” He has consistently prioritized cutting regulations on business, and in a 2018 opinion column boasted, “Innovation and self-reliance are deeply rooted in the Lone Star State, and when freed from the stranglehold of over taxation and overregulation, new ideas flourish. By limiting senseless government restrictions, the opportunity to succeed in business is as limitless as the land itself.”

The pandemic has given Abbott new avenues to push for freedoms. Abbott has, for example, barred state agencies and organizations that receive state funding from requiring vaccines for consumers. “We will continue to vaccinate more Texans and protect public health—and we will do so without treading on Texans’ personal freedoms,”

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