Freedom, the notion that we have agency and free will in our lives is what makes life worth living to many. Freedom is multifaceted. It includes the freedom of being healthy, with death being the ultimate denial of freedom.
Besides capital punishment, what is considered as the next harshest sentence is confinement. In many societies, it is the standard punishment for major crimes, and it is intended to deprive those condemned of the main pleasures of life.
Freedom also means being sheltered from extreme poverty, Freedom includes freedom of movement and expression, and many aspects that are more difficult to quantify such as those fleeting moments of pleasure when we meet loved ones, have a walk in the forest or go to the pub.
Freedom is never absolute, and our individual freedom reaches its limits where it infringes on that of other members of society or falls foul of social mores or conventions. That said, modern democratic societies tend to provide their citizens fairly extensive freedom.
Many of the societal responses to the #COVID19 pandemic represent major challenges to our freedom, and even to its very definition. As such, most of the heated discussions about how to deal with #COVID19 in essence boil down to what freedom means to different people.
I believe it is a mistake to caricature those arguments as disagreements between libertarians/authoritarians, left/right or whatnot. Everyone has a unique view about what freedom means to them, and some of those views, however valid they might be, are just incompatible.
P.S. This thread was inspired by a tweet from @apsmunro, whom I'm grateful to for having helped me to think about this issue in this way.
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