With Coronavirus Comes the Hobbesian Leviathan 2

Our enemy, the state is on the prowl.

By James Pinkerton

The American Conservative

Many thoughtful observers—including here at TAC—have warned that civil liberties, and perhaps freedom itself, could fall victim to the coronavirus. They have a point, but on the other hand, there’s a virus out there, and beating it by any means necessary seems to be the predominant concern right now.

Thus the mainstream media, which only a month ago was warning about the dangers of racism and xenophobia, is now substantially on board with strong public health measures.

For instance, on March 19, The Washington Post published a survey of actions taken by various Asian countries tagged with this remarkable sub-headline: “Big Brother looks after you.” As the Post explained, “Singapore used its FBI equivalent, the Criminal Investigation Department, to effectively interrogate every confirmed case with stunning granularity—even using patients’ digital wallets to trace their footsteps. Those caught lying face fines and jail time.”

It would appear that the Singapore Civil Liberties Union—if there even is one— doesn’t have much clout in that Confucian city-state.

Looking to another Asian country, the Post added, “Taiwan tracks infected people’s whereabouts via smartphones: Stray too far from home and you receive a message; ignore it and the police will pay a visit.”

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