Dutch police fired on anti-quarantine protesters, seriously injuring some of them. We are witnessing the supreme folly of frightened politicians, unable to accept the fact that they are powerless in the face of a natural phenomenon.

If both quarantine and forced closure of companies and other brutal countermeasures work, then how do you explain the fact that all these countries are in the fifth pandemic wave and the third or fourth quarantine? How long must this situation continue in order to recognize that these measures do nothing but postpone infections until after the lifting of the restrictions?

The logic of maintaining them at this time is that they will never be able to be lifted. These measures, which were once justified as temporary restrictions to help us stay in place until vaccines are in place, now risk being forcibly imposed on people as permanent changes in their way of life.

Opposition to vaccines is stupid

Perhaps the worst feature of this crisis is the habit of politicians to blame atheists for the failure of their own policies. Opposition to vaccines is stupid. They are extremely effective in preventing serious forms of illness and death. But they are not as effective as once thought against contagion and transmission.

The Austrian chancellor was on the front line in this game of accusation. Others are tempted to imitate him. But the proportion of fully vaccinated individuals in Austria (64%) far exceeds the European average (57%) and is not far behind us (68%). The Netherlands and Belgium are among the European countries with the highest vaccination rates, 74%, but have seen some of the steepest increases in the number of infections. On the other hand, the moral dimension is forgotten. In essence, the problem is that addressing the pandemic is treated as a purely technical issue, or at the same time a complex social, economic and political issue.

This leads to the reckless assumption that there are no limits to what a legitimately frightened majority can legitimately impose on others in the hope of protecting themselves from infection. The absence of moral scruples when acting in favor of what is considered to be the public good is the first symptom of totalitarianism. The reduction of human beings to simple instruments of state policy is the next symptom.

Those who refuse to be vaccinated may be reckless, perhaps even selfish

Social interaction with other people is not an optional entertainment activity, but a fundamental necessity of the human being. A minimum of respect for the personal autonomy of our fellow human beings is essential if we are to live together in any kind of harmony. These are the things that make us a community. Governments that ignore them violate an important line of moral demarcation and inevitably find themselves involved in a sustained assault on the humanity of their own people.

Those who refuse to be vaccinated may be reckless, perhaps even selfish. But if they are not allowed to decide even which medical procedures to undergo and which drugs to accept in their body, then it means that there is not much left of their autonomy as human beings. The gates are wide open to despotism and eternal social discord.

We, the others, should look and see how easily liberal democracy can be undermined by fear. Article by Lord Jonathan Sumption (former Supreme Court Judge of the United Kingdom, 2012-2018). Translation: Rador

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