OPINION: Ben Bayer - We Can Protect Liberty While Combating Pandemics

America is allegedly the land of the free. But since March, millions have lived under statewide mandatory lockdowns. As the lockdowns are being lifted, we should reflect on how to approach any resurgence of cases — and the next pandemic. Must we resign ourselves to renewed lockdowns that treat liberty as a dispensable luxury?

America can do better, but only if we understand what it means for the ideal of freedom to serve as a beacon guiding government’s actions. It does not mean trivializing the threat of infectious disease or inaction in the face of it.

To be guided by the ideal of freedom is to recognize government’s indispensable function in the face of infectious diseases — a function it has to date fallen far short of fulfilling. The nature and scope of that government function is at the core of a new paper by my colleague Onkar Ghate of the Ayn Rand Institute, “A Pro-Freedom Approach to Infectious Disease: Preparing for the Next Pandemic.” Key ideas from that paper, if implemented, would save lives and protect individual liberties.

Read more at The New Ideal


Ben Bayer, Ph.D. in philosophy and formerly a professor, is a fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute.