Is Virus Lockdown Justifiable? And in Pursuit of What Aims?
9 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2021
Date Written: February 25, 2021
This commentary considers the legitimacy of three interests that might be pursued by virus lockdown: maintaining healthcare capacity, saving lives, and protecting morals. The article is divided into three sections accordingly, and in each section the author considers whether and under what circumstances lockdown would be justifiable in pursuit of such interests, in a modern European liberal democracy.
In the first section, the author argues that the most legitimate interest of virus lockdown is maintaining healthcare capacity, but that lockdown is only justified when all other alternatives for expanding healthcare and treating patients have been exhausted. The author also analyses the factor of time passage in relation to this issue, and concludes that lockdown is hardly justifiable as time passes.
In the second section, the author states reservations concerning the interest of saving lives, specifically how this could be assessed and whether it is presumptuous to claim that lives would be saved. In this section, the author argues that even if “saving lives” is accepted as a legitimate aim of regulation, it would be difficult to argue that such drastic measures like lockdown would be justifiable in pursuit of such aim.
In the third section, the author makes various remarks concerning the interest of protection of morals. Again the author expresses concerns regarding whether this could justify virus lockdown, but concedes that the question is inherently broader since it considers the nature of morals and how the law should reflect them.
Keywords: Legitimate interest, lockdown, liberal democracy, government measure, exhaust alternatives
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