fetish of "absolute freedom" makes us back down in the pandemic

“Land of the free and home of the brave”: the United States has in the lyrics of its anthem a refrain for part of its population that insists on not getting vaccinated and following sanitary guidelines to contain the new phase of the pandemic.

According to The New York Times, more than 150 thousand cases of infection by the new coronavirus were registered in the last week, and the death toll in the country has already surpassed 630 thousand.

“What we are seeing now is a combination of factors: a more contagious variant, which is Delta, the population’s relaxation in relation to protective measures and resistance on the part of people to not taking the vaccine”, analyzes to Brasil de Fact Dr. William Moss, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Also according to him, 90% to 95% of patients hospitalized in serious condition in the United States are individuals who were not immunized.

The vaccine against covid-19 does not seem to combat the idea that each person’s individual freedom is no greater than collective health.

“This is part of a very individualist thinking of the concept of freedom, something that happened in the 19th century,” explains Professor Annelien De Djin, who teaches History of Modern Politics at Utrecht University.

Author of the book “Freedom”, published by Harvard University Press, De Djin identified in her researches that the individualization of freedom was an invention of the liberals. “We started talking about freedom as an individual concept and no longer a collective one because the elite feared democracy. Frightened by the advance of democratic political systems and how this could expropriate their fortunes, the rich and powerful began to fight certain struggles in the name of freedom “, says the scholar. “It would give them a basis for arguing that even a mob calling for increased taxes would be an attack on individual freedom.”

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This idea, which still persists today, fuels protests like those seen on the streets of New York in the second week of August. Dozens of protesters marched to City Hall Park, the seat of the local government, with posters and megaphones. The uprising was against the government resolution that makes vaccination mandatory for certain workers and requires that gyms, restaurants, bars and other establishments verify the vaccination of their customers.

We live in a country that respects individual laws, but that does not mean we are free to hurt others,” says doctor William Moss. they are certainly a risk to you, but they are also a threat to everyone around you.

The United States has worked for years with certain vaccination requirements. For a child to be enrolled in public kindergarten, for example, parents need to certify that the doses of rubella, meningitis, hepatitis B and other viral and transmissible diseases are up to date.

“I think people who say that these new measures to contain the pandemic hurt their individual freedom don’t understand that rules are not a prison or a threat,” ponders Professor De Djin, “we drive on one side of the road, stop at red traffic lights , we open our bags at airports, go through metal detectors and subject ourselves to countless other determinations that help us to live better. Without rules, there is no way this complex industrialized society can function. I believe these new measures introduced in the pandemic, to protect us , do not be an attack on the freedom of each one.”

The professor at the University of Utrecht believes that not every resolution that comes from a hierarchy is beneficial or free from evil, but that it is easy to know how to distinguish the decisions that threaten or not the freedom of each one.

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“The key question is: who is creating these laws? We live in a society full of laws and it is inevitable that this is the case. But who determines and enforces them? If the answer is that one person or a small group of people who do not can be held accountable and make the decisions, and the population has no control whatsoever, so it’s to be concerned, but otherwise, our freedom is guaranteed.”

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