Former Supreme Court judge, Lord Sumption:
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the British state has exercised coercive powers over its citizens on a scale never previously attempted. It has taken effective legal control, enforced by the police, over the personal lives of the entire population: where they could go, whom they could meet, what they could do even within their own homes. For three months it placed everybody under a form of house arrest, qualified only by their right to do a limited number of things approved by ministers. All of this has been authorised by ministerial decree with minimal Parliamentary involvement. It has been the most significant interference with personal freedom in the history of our country. We have never sought to do such a thing before, even in wartime and even when faced with health crises far more serious than this one.
He goes on:
The real problem is when human societies lose their freedom, it’s not usually because tyrants have taken it away, it’s usually because people willingly surrender their freedom in return for protection from some external threat. And the threat is usually a real threat, but usually exaggerated and that is what I fear we are seeing now…
Didn’t all this happen in 2007, not 2020? Didn’t most Britons willingly surrender their freedom on 1 July 2007 in return for protection from the exaggerated threat of ambient tobacco smoke?
We lost our freedom a long time ago, and nobody noticed.
Back in 2007 Britain’s smokers lost the freedom to sit in a pub and smoke tobacco. It was an ancient freedom, enjoyed for centuries, not even curtailed during two world wars. And then one day, in the blink of an eye, it was gone.
But most people didn’t care, because most people didn’t smoke. Smokers had become a minority. Nobody spoke up for them.
And now everybody else is losing their freedom too, and in the exact same way: a new health threat. I’m not a bit surprised.
Freedom. Truth. Justice. None of them matter any more. Health is the only thing that matters now. So it’s in the name of Health that a culture and a civilisation is being dismantled. The future is going to be one imaginary health threat after another, which will be used as an excuse to remove more and more small freedoms.
The freedom to sit in a pub and smoke a cigarette was one such small freedom. And freedom always comes with some threat to health. A soldier fighting for his country’s freedom always has his life in danger. Once his life matters more to him than freedom, he will lose that freedom very quickly. Those who love freedom must be careless of their lives.
Now that everybody just wants to simply stay alive as long as possible, they will not fight for anything. They will become slaves. All it needs is an army of Health Experts to conjure up new Health Threats to stampede them in whatever direction they like. First tobacco smoke. Then carbon dioxide. Now a mild influenza-like contagion.
Why not asteroid impacts? Aren’t they a Health Threat too? Didn’t an asteroid wipe out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago?
Isn’t night another Health Threat? At night people can’t see. Perhaps we should have sirens at nightfall, warning of the encroaching darkness. And sound the All Clear every morning once the sun has risen again. With a strict curfew during the night hours, with nobody allowed to go anywhere. This is where we’re heading.
Small freedoms add up to large freedoms. Once you’ve lost all your small freedoms, you will have lost all freedom.