Health and Medicine

State of Emergency and the Fragility of Liberty Facing COVID-19

By Russell A. Berman, TELOS

Both sides of the transatlantic alliance, America and Europe, pride themselves on their commitment to freedom. And rightly so: these political communities emerged out of histories of extended emancipation struggles, laying claim to rights against pre-democratic authoritarian states, just as they have done battle with modern, totalitarian dictatorships. The fundamental assumption that individuals have a right to freedom against the state as part of their catalogue of human rights defines the political self-understanding of this Western community, and this assumption has spread around the globe far beyond the geographical West. It has however not spread everywhere to be sure: neither Putinist Russia nor Xi’s China embraces freedom, although in both countries there are brave regime critics who risk their lives in freedom’s pursuit. They deserve our support.

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