Passing Bull 243 – More on freedom


The virus was obviously sent to test us.  And some of us are doing better than others.  The threat to public health and safety leads to government being called on to interfere in our lives much more than we would ordinarily want.  People say that they are less free than they were before.  As we know, that is just about an inevitable consequence of any law.  The requirements of masking have led to complaints about a loss of freedom.  But it follows as night the day that in a time of emergency – genuine emergency on this occasion – we will be less free to act in certain ways than before.

Someone – it may have been G B Shaw – said ‘Freedom means responsibility – that’s why most men fear it.’  That sounds about right – if how you act is completely a matter for you, then the decision is yours and yours alone.  You will have to accept responsibility for your decision – you will not have the prop of superior orders to rely on.

In responding to the virus, each one of us will be affected by the conduct of everyone else.  The law cannot control every contingency.  To some extent at least, each one of us is responsible to the rest of us for doing what is reasonably required to see us through this emergency.  People who complain that the government is curtailing their freedom often forget that with that freedom comes a responsibility to act in a way that does not increase the risk of harm to others.  In other words, freedom comes with a price.


Trump is often unseemly, but in focusing on law and order, he may be saying things that Americans will increasingly want to hear.

The Australian, 4 June, 2020, Greg Sheridan

Then he sent in the army.

Whether it [dealing with COVID-19] was the necessary price of success or born of hysterical overreaction, history can judge.

The Australian, 4 June, 2020, Adam Creighton

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