Abuse of power in the name of ‘public health’

I am not scared of the COVID-19 coronavirus. People are born and people die every day. Influenzas, wars, and natural disasters occur at regular intervals throughout the world. This is a fact of life.

I am, however, extremely scared by poor and irresponsible government decision-making, often made by ostensibly democratic countries, which demand the sacrifice of our civil liberties on the altar of ‘public health.’

Controversial digital surveillance programs are approved. Freedom of movement, assembly, and religion, are severely limited. Fines and arrests are handed out to the ‘new’ criminals; those who break quarantine.

The irony is so bitter it stings. In order to protect their citizenry from an ‘invisible enemy,’ governments around the world are declaring war, for an indefinite period of time, on the very things that ensure the physical and mental health of human beings. Gyms are closed, social gatherings restricted, places of work shuttered, sporting events postponed. In some places, even alcohol sales are banned.

Depending on law enforcement, people in many places now venture onto the street with an apprehensive look over their shoulder. Their faces riddled with confusion and fear just waiting for the next conversation with police officers or soldiers about where they are going and what they are doing.

Yes, we should wash our hands with soap and water. Yes, we should blow our noses with kleenex. Yes, we should take care of ourselves and our loved ones. But, it is also our right and responsibility, to criticize political leaders when it is believed that they are leading us astray.

Unemployment rates are soaring, and human interaction as we know it is rapidly grinding to a halt. How long will this new regimen last? Clearer objectives need to be stated. Answers need to be provided.

As far as I can see, the only good thing coming out of this whole situation is a welcome rest and respite for the environment. With very few cars on the road and no one on the street, the air outside is finally free from contamination. Now, if only we could enjoy it;)

About the Author
Freeman Poritz is currently traveling long-term and observing Israel from afar.
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