Is the real axis open or closed

The freedom to get infected

It was once praised to risk life and limb in favor of freedom. Today, in the Corona era, we have turned this principle into its opposite. We are advised to risk and undermine freedom for the sake of our lives. Health, so the refrain, is the first priority of politics and society. At the altar of health we stab the citizen in the chest in a panic vortex of economic freedom, democracy and personal responsibility. Restaurants, shops, small businesses and parliaments were closed, millions plunged into unemployment or short-time work, the healthy population forcibly isolated: lives destroyed to protect lives; Freedom stolen so that as far as possible no life ends as a result of Covid-19.

The new dogma of health and the resulting lockdowns endanger and devalue human life. You are endangering it by the state-decreed paralysis of the economy. The subsequent impoverishment and unemployment of many people will, as is usual with economic disasters, cause deaths and health problems in the long run. In all likelihood, the current economic self-destruction is damaging the health of the affected population more in the long term than the coronavirus can ever do.

Restricting our freedom devalues ​​our life. We are told to stay home. Because if we went public, we were putting strangers at risk by potentially infecting them with the virus. But that's only one side of the coin. If I go out in public, I run the risk of becoming infected myself. This risk is the more important as everyone should be free to take it. If someone wants to risk contagion, we should let them take the risk. If not, he should stay at home. In other words, we should have left those of us who did not want to isolate themselves in peace. A mini lockdown should have been ordered only in old people's homes and where a coronavirus case inevitably infects a whole group of people at risk against their will.

No creative handling of the pandemic

In the case of mature, responsible, independent individuals - whether young or old - the state should have no right to deny them going out and socializing in restaurants, bars, at work or in a public place with others. In many cases it is precisely the elderly who want to breathe a little more life into the remaining time. Some people want to enjoy life to the end and not go on without the joys of life for as long as possible. This includes social contacts with friends, family and strangers. The lockdowns and bans on contact give many an unpleasant ending experience during the last moments on this planet. Some old people would rather risk becoming infected than have their freedom to interact socially with others curtailed. In addition, it bothers him that the freedom of society as a whole is impaired for their sake.

People who wanted to isolate themselves for health reasons should have received help and support in every possible way with their project. The voluntary self-isolation could have been supplemented by time off from work and by an army of volunteers who are ready in their free time to do grocery and other shopping and provide services to those who do not want to leave their homes. In many cases this was done on a voluntary basis. We could have used our freedom and freely configurable leisure time as our greatest asset and our greatest strength to organize ourselves even more in solidarity for the benefit of those in need. Instead, we haven't even thought creatively about how to get out of a pandemic without losing our freedom, let alone figuring out how we could have strengthened freedom in this endeavor.

What justifies the draconian measures against Covid-19? We already knew before the lockdowns that Covid-19 could be overcome by most people without any problems or even symptom-free, while elderly, health-impaired people in particular are seriously and often fatally threatened by the virus. Covid-19 is of course a new virus. However, it is nothing new to the vulnerable elderly, who have always had to be wary of the flu and certain other common illnesses as they pose a risk of death. A rational policy would accordingly have specifically shielded endangered individuals and groups in hospitals, old people's homes and elsewhere from dangerous infection, not the entire, healthy population.

Stirred fear and panic in the media and politics

It wasn't the virus itself that drove us into these lockdowns. The cause of the overreaction was evidently stoked fear and panic in the media and politics. Lord Jonathan Sumption, "the brightest man in England", historian and former Supreme Court Justice of the United Kingdom, has this to say:

“The real problem is that when human societies lose their freedom, it is usually not because tyrants took it away from them. As a rule, it is because people willingly give up their freedom in exchange for protection from an external threat. And the threat is mostly real, but mostly exaggerated. I'm afraid that's exactly what we're experiencing right now. "

Covid-19 is a real threat, as real as the flu - but nowhere near more deadly. Some are outraged about comparisons of the coronavirus with the flu. But this comparison makes sense and becomes more and more important with the increasing amount of data on Covid-19. John Ioannidis - an epidemiologist at Stanford University - notes, "Our data suggest that Covid-19 has a mortality rate that is in the same order of magnitude as seasonal flu." While it is true that we have some level of herd immunity against have the flu, but not the new coronavirus. But against the latter, we should have built this herd immunity in an otherwise free and open society with only minimal necessary restrictions for most citizens. Despite this fact: Ioannidis ‘finding“ suggests that even if it is a very serious problem [with Covid-19], we should not be afraid ”.

Freedom is risky

It is precisely this similarity between the deadly effects of the flu and the coronavirus, as well as the markedly different way in which we react to both dangers, that proves that we acted massively disproportionately with the lockdowns.

Our freedoms have been wrongly withdrawn from us through exaggeration. So far Lord Sumption is right. A sufficient explanation for the vehement measures against the coronavirus does not just include a reference to panic and fear. Another reason is the low esteem we had for freedom even before the lockdowns. Even before the coronavirus era, we gave up fundamental freedoms such as freedom of speech, for example by allowing the implementation of laws against hate speech. We have allowed our self-determination to be restricted by the tutelage of supranational institutions such as the EU and the increasing formal and informal regulation of everyday life. If freedom is really important to us, it is our responsibility to take action against these lockdowns. Freedom is risky. Let us take the liberty of becoming infected.


Andrea Seaman is a Swiss author and student. Among other things, he writes for the British magazine "Spiked".This post first appeared atNovo arguments.

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