Some thoughts on recent protests against state lockdown measures, and how they reflect an issue we in public health have long grappled with - the tension between “freedom to” and “freedom from.”
“Freedom to” is the liberty that lets us pursue what we wish to do – to speak, to assemble, etc. “Freedom from” is being able to live a life free from the preventable harms that can stop us from doing what we wish to do.
“Freedom from” is arguably a deeper freedom than “freedom to,” as we cannot do what we wish to do if we live with the threat of injury and disease. Yet we tend to deemphasize “freedom from” until moments of crisis like this pandemic.
Facing #COVID19, we have made choices which temporarily curtail “freedom to” for the sake of “freedom from.” Most of us recognize this has been necessary, in the short-term, to protect health and sustain the long-term freedom health provides.
Can we use the lessons of #COVID19 to engage in real conversations about how we need to create structures that elevate our “freedom from”, so that we do not have to curtail “freedom to” in the short-term?
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