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Lockdowns in Western democracies are a taste of dictatorship; will our politicians give it up?

21 10 0
31.03.2020

Over the past few weeks of the coronavirus crisis, democratic governments around the world have imposed stricter controls on their citizens in more places than at any other time in recent history, even during wartime. From the closure of non-essential shops and businesses to curfews and full lockdowns enforced to curb the spread of the virus, the results include economic hardship, unemployment and still a potentially very high death toll.

One other consequence is the stripping away of civil liberties and basic human rights from entire populations. Working from home if possible, but staying indoors in any case, citizens are “self-isolating” under threat of fines and imprisonment if they break government guidelines. In some places, the lockdown is total, with non-essential travel prohibited as the fight to contain the pandemic goes on.

It is interesting to note the popularity of such measures, with most citizens tending to accept that they are necessary. In the US, for example, a recent poll found that only 20 per cent opposed them. While this is understandable given the desire to slow the spread of the virus, it also suggests that a majority in almost any country will always be prepared to have their freedoms stripped away in exchange for a vague guarantee of safety and security. This has been seen countless times, most recently post-9/11 and the subsequent “war on terror”. Whole societies are now monitored much more closely than before; the age of “Big Brother” is upon us.

READ: Politicians and specialists in the time of the coronavirus

For those who have dared to step out of their homes without good reason, there are........

© Middle East Monitor