Freedoms Lost, Sufferings Gained

We live in a community. Obligations to one another flow from that. At the same time, obligations must be checked by individual freedoms because it is almost impossible for an individual to opt out. The law follows you to the boundaries of the State. Civilised societies try to find the right balance between communal obligations and individual freedoms. People tend to gravitate to societies which are relatively skewed towards individual freedoms. Migration flows speak to that. Empirically, such societies are also the most prosperous. Individual freedoms and prosperity move in sync.

Unfortunately, there is no formula which determines the ideal balance between communal obligations and individual freedoms. An added complication is that circumstances alter cases. In wartime, for example, individual freedoms are curtailed. Spreading alarm and despondency became a crime in Britain during World War II. Seems the kind of law more fitting of Oceania under Big Brother. Yet it’s arguable, I suppose, at a stretch, that it may have deterred fifth columnists from causing mischief. Does it make any sense? Perhaps, maybe, if only barely.

Making sense is the first hurdle to jump. A second is how temporary and well specified are the circumstance giving rise to the curtailment or loss of freedoms. Freedoms lost for a well-specified and temporary set of circumstances is clearly of a different quality than if it is open-ended.

As in wartime, pandemics can justify a curtailment of freedoms. Same tests apply. They have to make sense. They have to be for a well-defined and temporary set of circumstances. Below is a non-exhaustive list of freedoms lost in Australia but also, to one extent or another, across most countries during the current pandemic. I will have missed some.

♦ Freedom to travel long distances

♦ Freedom to travel short distances except for defined purposes

♦ Freedom to sit and rest in a public place while exercising outside

♦ Freedom to enjoy outdoor recreational activities (e.g., golf, fishing, sports)

♦ Freedom to mingle with friends

♦ Freedom to mingle with family outside of one’s own household

♦ Freedom to visit relatives in nursing homes

♦ Freedom to assemble

♦ Freedom to encourage people to assemble

♦ Freedom to work in specified occupations

♦ Freedom to operate specified businesses

♦ Freedom to go about unmasked

♦ Freedom to attend school

♦ Freedom to have elective surgery

♦ Freedom to refuse an intrusive medical procedure (vaccination)

It is important to understand that all of the above losses of freedom apply to healthy, non-infected people and children. Also note the devilment in the detail. A few examples: Old people left to die alone. Dysfunctional families locked together 24/7. Snitching on neighbours encouraged. Police thuggery enforcing senseless illiberal rules. Discriminatory and divisive restrictions, and public vilification, visited on the unvaccinated. Children – soon (be horrified) down to as young as six months – used, as might be guineas pigs or lab monkeys, by Big Pharma to boost profits.

The loss of freedoms across all of society during the pandemic, specifically lockdowns; shackling, if you will, of healthy people, is unparalleled in human history. Heretofore only infected and contagious people, slaves and criminals, were so shackled. Two questions. Does it make sense? Is it for a well-specified set of circumstances and temporary?

Lockdowns make no sense because they don’t work to stem deaths and cause untold suffering. Untold is the word. As yet there has been no accounting of the suffering. However, it has been massive and is continuing. And two years on, there is still no certain end in sight

Masks of the kind almost everybody wears are next to useless in curbing viral spread. They interfere with facial expressions, which are such an important part of human communication and an essential part for teachers and children at school. Vaccine passports are punitive and divisive and have no effect in preventing contagion.

And, over two years later, there is still no assurance about when normality will be restored. What an utter and unmitigated shambles.

Two sides to it, you think? There ain’t. I’ll tell you why.

Three researchers from the John Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise (a mouthful) published a meta-analysis of the effect of lockdowns on COVID-19 Mortality in January. You might have seen coverage of it; nevertheless, it’s worth repeating an extracted summary of its conclusion (emphasis added):

This study employed a systematic search and screening procedure in which 18,590 studies are identified that could potentially address the belief [that lockdowns reduce COVID-19 mortality] … 24 qualified for inclusion in the meta-analysis [which concluded] that lockdowns have had little to no public health effects, they have imposed enormous economic and social costs where they have been adopted. In consequence, lockdown policies are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument.

But we long since knew this, didn’t we? Deaths in light-touch Sweden never exploded as the models or doom merchants on the Left predicted. As at the end of January, Worldometer reports the death rate in Sweden as below that in UK, the US and in Spain. It’s higher than in some countries but lower than most. Similarly, light-touch Florida, South Carolina and Texas had death rates all lower than in New York and many other American states.

Next, to those estranging face masks. While their effectiveness in limiting the spread of the airborne virus is moot; unsurprisingly, they do work to prevent droplets from mouths and noses spreading through the air. What’s my point then? It is this: governments have spent gazillions on the virus. They have promoted and mandated masks. Why then haven’t N95 masks been made freely and abundantly available. Correspondingly, why have filthy, flimsy cloth masks been regarded as legally acceptable, if masking is so crucial? I don’t buy it.

A much better policy would have been to make N95 masks freely available to those wishing to wear them. Instead of 100 per cent of people wearing inferior masks, probably around 60 to 70 percent of people (the cautious majority) would choose to wear more effective masks in crowded situations. All told, increased protection against transmission while preserving freedom. Win-win. But then governments would have had to give up their power to push people around.

Little to say about vaccine passports. Leaky vaccines and equal viral loads among the infected vaxxed and unvaxxed. Surges in infections among highly vaxxed populations. Zero rationale for vaccine mandates, except, again, to serve the authoritarian instincts of governments.

A monumental and monstrous failure of public policy sums it up. Why did it happen? Take you pick. I mostly blame the media. Generally, those among the mainstream media are hysterics.

I read The Australian each day. No shortage of hysterics. Imagine if you took your news only from the ABC or read and believe The Guardian? One effect has been to drive political unity tickets. There is no opposition among the major political parties on combatting the virus, as there isn’t any more on combatting so-called “climate change.” In such circumstances despotism flourishes.

Media today verses yesterday: For sure, much more leftness, greenness, feminisation and callowness; but, dwarfing all of these pernicious trends is a precipitous fall in questioning curiosity, objectivity and common sense. Shows no signs of reversing.

14 thoughts on “Freedoms Lost, Sufferings Gained

  • HD says:

    Another great article, thank you Peter.

  • Xebec says:

    Thank you Peter, and if I can note another couple of freedoms lost.
    One loss is the freedom for your doctor to discuss alternative therapies to vaccines without risking censure.
    Coupled with the loss of freedom to prescribe therapeutics accepted by many to be very protective for prophylaxis and treatment.
    This makes our “informed consent” for the jabs a joke.

  • Claude James says:

    This tells the bigger story about Australian decline:
    All the complaints about loss of freedoms and gain of sufferings.
    Not a word, not anywhere, about citizens’ duties and responsibilities.
    One does not need to have had formal studies in democratic governance to be curious about the role of the citizen in an effective and successful democracy.
    Chuckle: Perhaps residents of a nation must be forced to get wise about the factors that ensure the survival if not the flourishing of a democratic social-economic system.

  • mpaine says:

    Thank you again Peter. Quadrant is the only publication that has accepted my comments until now.The Australian is a bitter disappointment – it has only been lately a few words that ‘should never be spoken’ have started to appear in their print. Jack the Insider’s ignorant derision of any folk daring to question government diktak is especially galling. I refuse to wear a mask or take a vaccine using experimental technology and being warned against by some extraordinarily qualified specialists. This is climate change on steroids i simply cannot fathom how so many academics are happy to have their precious children and grandchildren experimented on. I am off to Canberra this weekend as at least there are some fighting to accomplish something and have a degree of awareness. At least I can feel I am doing something. We need a million!

  • HD says:

    Good on you mpaine. I will be there too.

  • ianl says:

    >” … unsurprisingly, they do work to prevent droplets from mouths and noses spreading through the air.” [Peter Smith, from the article]

    I was involved in a hard analysis of pneumoconiosis risk from stockpile wind-driven particles. The lower end of particle size range, down to about 10 nanometres (nm) and by far the larger segment by volume, required laser photography to measure volume and distribution. Water “droplets” were also recorded since they were also aerosolised.

    Fabric with the N95-type mesh size (about 100 nm) was intruded across the particle -rich air stream and laser photographed to observe the effect. Water “droplets” in the air stream were included in this. The larger droplets – larger than the mesh size – simply broke into smaller drops when encountering the mesh fabric. These then just passed on through.

    This phenomenon is well-enough known in the literature and has been known for a considerable period (the earliest papers we read were from the 1930’s).

    Masks are essentially a placebo against aerosolised coronavirii.

    Perhaps this information, because it is just factual, may be sufficient to be labelled as incitement. One does wonder. And in my view, again cavalierly dismissing the “why” and simply repeating the “how” is not helpful.

  • Peter Marriott says:

    Thanks Peter. Good piece as usual, and thank you ianl for your empirical, informative comment.

  • Simon says:

    Calamity Scott made all the wrong choices:

    1) Ignore the Pandemic plan, carefully created for just that type of emergency.

    2) Ignore hundreds of years of experience

    3) Ignore WHO advice, at least as it was at the start of this mess.

    He need only have thought one thing – lockdowns are un-precedented, and ALL three of the above advise against them. Why is that, I wonder? BECAUSE THEY DON’T WORK!!!

  • Stephen Due says:

    “Almost all the science we were hearing was wrong. This has been a disgraceful situation for science.”
    Michael Levitt, Nobel laureate, Lindau meeting 29 June 2020
    “I am against lockdowns for a virus that is exactly as bad as flu”
    Michael Levitt, ibid.
    “Lockdown is a nuclear weapon that destroys everything”
    John Ioannidis, the most cited medical scientist in history, 16 August 2020
    “We cannot destroy our lives, democracy, privacy, our world, for something like that”
    John Ioannidis, 6 September 2020

  • pgang says:

    Peter to add to your article from JH, here is one describing how NPR Health News has finally realised that humans have an immune system which works against the dark magic of COVID(scream!).
    Wow, if only SCIENCE(TM) had know about this two years ago!
    Sadly my son is now being bullied by teachers at school for choosing not to wear a mask. He is a good kid who is normally courteous and happy to abide by the rules and stay out of trouble. But he detests the face muzzle, as he calls it, and simply refuses to comply. This is causing him angst as it goes against his nature, but do you think the Christian school cares? Not one bit, even resorting to sending us demanding emails over this utterly facile exercise in stupidity. So chalk up my son’s emotional discomfort as yet another symptom of covid madness.
    Thus is the state of Christianity today: elevating superstition above truth, and secular law above God’s will, while throwing our kids to the wolves so that it can remain in its comfort zone. We are no better than the Scholastic heretics.
    I am booked in for my first jab now. It has become impossible to work without the passport. So I will let them jab this worthless cr*p into my arm to prove to ScoMo and his legions that I’m down and ok with Project Socialism. I’ve held off as long as possible, but am now coming to accept that the past is gone forever, and the future is theirs. In a way it is a useful lesson in humility for a Christian in being reminded that true liberty only comes from the cross, and never from the hands of men.
    On another note, I disagree that ‘ there is no formula which determines the ideal balance between communal obligations and individual freedoms’. There are the 10 Commandments, and there is Trinitarianism. The former outlines the boundaries that individuals and states should never cross. The latter decrees that the individual and the ‘state’ are intrinsically essential to each other, because this is a reflection of the nature of God Himself. All matters of law should always promote the good of both the individual and society. Today, the individual is of no value to the state. That is why the west will fall (because it is existing in an unnatural condition), unless the ‘person’ is somehow brought back to life.

  • Citizen Kane says:

    The official NSW data just keeps getting worse for the argument that the vaccines have any efficacy (whatsoever). The latest NSW Covid 19 surveillance Report can be found here: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Documents/covid-19-surveillance-report-20220204.pdf
    The data captured in the table on page 9 now demonstrates that there is zero, I repeat zero, difference between the likelihood of dying or suffering severe illness between triple, double and unvaccinated individuals and significantly less likelihood of unvaccinated individuals being hospitalised in the first place. This data spans from 26 November through to 22 January and incorporates the entire peak of the omicron wave.
    The science is in – the vaccines don’t work – case closed!

  • pgang says:

    Citizen, only 1080 deaths in NSW since Jan 2020?
    It beggars belief. That’s just a bit of noise in the total mortality data. Less than seasonal colds.

  • 27hugo27 says:

    Great article (again) Peter You write what I think ! And mpaine , we are definitely on the same page .

  • Rebekah Meredith says:

    I know this is late, but I only just read that you are booked for your jab. Please, don’t. I know that it is extremely difficult to work without it, but you said that getting it would be saying that you are in agreement with what is going on. That means, surely, that it is wrong. Remember 1 Cor. 10:13: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” There is ALWAYS a way out. I have good friends who have lost their jobs, and for some of them it has involved or probably will involve great sacrifice. But God will make a way. Please, hold the line. We need all the unwounded soldiers there are. And don’t ever believe that the fight is hopeless; a lot of people in occupied Europe thought that, too. God can still give us deliverance, but we must fight!

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