Liberty and Pandemics: A Libertarian Approach to the Global COVID-19 Situation
4 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2020
Date Written: June 18, 2020
What better way to start a discourse on civil liberty than by alluding to George Orwell’s 1984? In 1984, Orwell narrates the story of an omnipresent government called The Party and ruled by Big Brother. Big Brother controls every part of the people’s lives with little or no grace for civil liberties. To consolidate unchecked powers, Big Brother invents a language called Newspeak and a regulation called Thought-crimes – both in a bid to completely eliminate any form of opposition – or even a thought of it – to the party’s policies. And whosoever disobeys gets sent to the widely feared Room 101 for punishment.
In a similar vein, our history with pandemics shows how governments can be quick to assume the post of a big brother, all in the name of national security. This was the case when the George Bush administration used the possible threat of a smallpox virus attack to justify its controversial massive smallpox vaccination program. It was the case during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) pandemic when China tried to enforce a counterproductive quarantine program.
Keywords: Liberty, COVID-19, Pandemic, Libertarian Approach
JEL Classification: I118
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation