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Locking Down Risk and Freedom

Monday November 2, 2020.

It is probably fair to suggest the COVID-19 pandemic has divided the UK in a way that has never been seen before. Brexit had a similar effect but the separation of society is even more marked this year. The curiosity about Brexit and COVID-19 is that on the one hand, the United Kingdom left the European Union to be free of its restrictive practices, yet its citizens are now finding themselves less free than at any time in history.

It has to be said that the UK is not the only country in which its people have been placed by their elected governments in an invidious position. France and Germany for example both announced new lockdowns last week and there are many others around the world. We can however, only comment upon the situation in the UK. We are not from another country so are not best qualified to tell them what to do or to suggest how they handle their affairs.

There are however, rising protests around the world as people begin to rail against lockdowns and other restrictions; mass gatherings in numerous cities and towns as people try to reassert their rights to be free. Such huge protests are now being seen in country after country; except one - this one.

Yes, there have been London-based protests (there often is, over a number of things) but the UK has yet to see hundreds upon hundreds of thousands or more, up and down the land, in every city and town, demanding their freedoms back. These demands are criticised by supporters of lockdown (who almost always seem to come from the left of politics) who say anti-lockdown protestors want the freedom to kill people by spreading infections.

This may well be a valid point but misses the most important part – if we are to be truly free, there comes with freedom risk. Risk comes in many forms and (as Kevan James points out in his book, Comments of a Common Man Edition 3) if governments try to micro-manage risks, to attempt to eliminate all risks, one eliminates freedom as well.

The two go hand-in-hand. You cannot have both.


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