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Civil liberty and Covid-19

(77 Posts)
Greeneyedgirl Mon 18-May-20 20:25:55

Lord Sumption, former Supreme Court Judge was interviewed on the BBC by Mishal Hussain yesterday, and he was arguing against the continuing of lockdown on grounds of civil liberties.

I feel that the risk to society is a greater concern to me than my own personal freedom to take risks in the present pandemic.

Do you think he has a point I wonder?

Elegran Mon 18-May-20 20:35:43

In insisting on being allowed to mix when others when he has very likely been exposed to a virus which could prove fatal to the vulnerable amongst them, he is infringing their rights.

Rights and liberty work in two directions, and every right has an equal and inseparable responsibility.

Elegran Mon 18-May-20 20:36:14

mix with all others

Greeneyedgirl Mon 18-May-20 20:44:08

I agree morally with rights and responsibilities, Elegran but that may not be the case legally?

MawB Mon 18-May-20 20:47:24

There was a thread a wee while back

Starblaze Mon 18-May-20 20:50:17

I think we would have to go for the rights of others who have no choice to be out and about due to work or feeding their families who would prefer an individual not putting their lives at risk..

lemongrove Mon 18-May-20 20:56:26

Piers Corbyn certainly would agree with Sumption.?
Mind you, he is a bit of a fruit and nut case.

suziewoozie Mon 18-May-20 22:10:19

I used to quite rate Lord S but he’s gone a bit removed from reality recently.

Furret Mon 18-May-20 22:13:48

That dippy old codger has been ranting in about this for some time. He does seem to have lost the plot a bit.

Teetime Mon 18-May-20 22:28:43

Lord Sumption who is far from being an oldcodger wrote a very persuasive article in the Sunday Times and I have to say I have some sympathy with his logic. I do think a more regional approach is appropriate now. He wasnt only making a point about civil liberties but also freedom of choice based on robust information.

suziewoozie Mon 18-May-20 23:45:05

But he didn’t address the issue of reciprocal rights and responsibilities ( as explained by Elegran) . In society there are always limits on our civil liberties and freedom of choice - and never more so than in a time of national emergency such as a pandemic or war.

Elegran Tue 19-May-20 09:21:28

Civil liberties are part of civilisation - the very word has common roots, in the latin civis - the state, the country, the community, "the people". If you revere "the will of the people", then you also have to consider the welfare of "the people" and balance that with the desire for personal freedom of choice.

Sometimes one will be paramount, sometimes the other. In times of emergency those who want only to fulfil their own right to go where they wish and do what they want, ignoring the right of others to a reasonable degree of safety from the pandemic , might as well be honest and declare themselves uncivilised anarchists. Those who have lost friends or family would call them harsher names.

suziewoozie Tue 19-May-20 09:35:16

It would be interesting to hear Lord S’s take on what’s happening in Hungary - puts the issue of not being able to go to the pub into context.

GrannyLaine Tue 19-May-20 10:20:43

Although I didn't agree with much of what he said, I thought his perspective was interesting and raised some interesting concepts. When you consider some of the viewpoints raised on this forum, there is a great deal of diversity of belief as to what might be the best way forward. We all have to take personal responsibility for the choices we make or don't make: derogatory comments about someone whose views are different to our own doesn't make for intelligent discussion. Elegran, very well put.

suziewoozie Tue 19-May-20 10:32:25

The real issue Granny is that taking individual responsibility for the choices we make is all very well until that collides with another person’s rights to be safe. For example, a drunk driver taking the decision to drive can lead to the death/injury of another who was not party to that decision. During the war, someone not observing the blackout could have lead to the death of others. Someone infected with AIDS choosing to have unprotected sex with someone to whom s/he has not disclosed her status can lead to the unknowing partner having a lifetime of medication. In all (?) societies there are limits to unfettered freedom of behaviour that impacts on others. People will break those laws/ rules of course and in some cases be punished. The fact that such limits on our individual freedoms exist are actually, I would argue, part of our freedom not an attack upon it.

Toadinthehole Tue 19-May-20 11:04:24

I would hate to be the one making decisions. A part of me thinks should we all just go out and get on with it? Then another worries about the consequences of that. On the news last night, it was suggested we could be in this for many years, or at least until a vaccine. We can’t stay locked up all that time, there’d be no world to come out to! Are we just delaying the inevitable by staying inside? I expect the people will decide for themselves. They could open up everything tomorrow, but I still wouldn’t go. On the other hand, other people have been doing it all along, and don’t care about the rules. In some ways, they could be doing the rest of us a favour, by building up immunity. As much as most of us are law abiding, and don’t do what we’re told not to, we don’t have to ‘ come out’, just because we’ve been told it’s safe. We have a choice.

Baggs Tue 19-May-20 11:10:02

insisting on being allowed to mix when others when he has very likely been exposed to a virus

Two things, elegran. He did not insist on mixing with others. He expressed the opinion that he should be allowed to.

Secondly, how can he have "very likely" have been exposed to the virus when he has observed lockdown rules? He was specifically asked about that and replied that he had observed the lockdown.

Baggs Tue 19-May-20 11:13:06

Sumption also argued — in fact this was a central point of his argument — that nobody would be forced to mix with others if they felt at high risk. What he said is that no-one who felt vulnerable would go to the cinema (one of his 'scenarios’) anyway. They'd choose to stay at home.

Baggs Tue 19-May-20 11:14:07

It might have been theatre, him being him ?

Baggs Tue 19-May-20 11:14:47

Aargh! He being him.

I think ?

Oldwoman70 Tue 19-May-20 11:20:39

Yes we all have rights - but we also all have responsibilities. Under current conditions we have a responsibility to do our best not to spread the virus

GrannyLaine Tue 19-May-20 11:20:39

Absolutely right Suzie I did say that I didn't agree with much that he said but that his arguments were interesting. The difficulty in our present situation is that so much about the behaviour of this virus is unknown, and the damage of longterm lockdown has to be set against its advantages.

suziewoozie Tue 19-May-20 11:42:33

People at high risk may well be forced to mix with people who have been exposed to the virus.

Baggs Tue 19-May-20 11:54:01

How, suzie?

Baggs Tue 19-May-20 11:55:07

Your comment suggests to me that you don't think the shielding operation has worked?