World News: COVID-19 Granulizes Democracy

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Faced with the need to limit individual and collective freedoms to combat the COVID-19, contemporary democracies are torn between defending libertarian achievements and castrating health imperatives. Which one will eventually take over the other?

This is one of the perverse effects of the health crisis generated by the emergence and spread of Coronavirus on a global scale: the temporary suppression of the fundamental freedoms of each. Some, for obvious public health reasons, see this as a necessity and, overall, measures to contain and drastically restrict private travel (excluding business or imperious travel) are all accepted for the time being. For now...!


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For there is no evidence to suggest that if the current situation were to continue beyond the six weeks commonly accepted to reduce the risk of contagion and hospital saturation, acceptance of these measures would be equally easy. And the Coronavirus to pose a real problem today to our contemporary democracies and to our states of law.

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The latter, based on individual freedoms that make each of us sovereign actors and citizens, are now obliged to turn around and apply methods that sometimes allow the hints of banana republics to be exhaled, or even more as the Hungarian example demonstrates ( )

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Forces of order scattered throughout the territory,control of movements, verbalisation, closure... These are all measures and realities that distance contemporary democracies from the concepts that underpin them. So yes! Indeed, the COVID-19 defies democratic regimes by sending them back to extremes that the virus imposes while undermining the foundations of the rule of law.

The irruption of COVID-19 is not without questioning democracies unaccustomed, if at all, to discuss their freedoms with an invisible and devastating enemy. The question then arises as to whether our democracies will be able to accept the societal upheaval that this virus generates? Unbearable dilemma, impossible Gordian knot to cut.

We must now, if not convince,at least begin to prepare for it, the potential multiplication of pandemic episodes in the coming years will change our relationship to freedom in general and to collective and individual freedoms in particular.

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Many of our current democratic regimes have been created and prospered on the intangible assumption that nature is at the service of Man. For a long time, he regarded his place on Earth as evidence that nothing could question in a form of Darwinism misunderstood, wrongly and indiscriminately applied.

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COVID-19, the latest episode of other viral accidents (Black Plague 1347 - 1352; Spanish flu 1918 - 1919; SARS 2002) is a special thing in that it has burst into a world where the notion of freedom was fundamentally acquired, on lifestyles that bathed in carelessness and that no one wanted to question.

Added to this is an economic integration by oxysmal that did not prevail in the past, including in 2002 when the principle of globalization, advanced certainly, was not as much as to date, an integration that multiplies the effects of COVID-19.

The economic interactions of the 14th century, even the 20th or early 21st century do not match those prevailing to date and also explain why no measures of containment and restrictions of freedoms had been applied at that time. Does this mean that we will have to live cloistered and refuse any socialization?

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Not of course, but in the years to come, it may be necessary to admit the reduction of certain individual or even collective freedoms, in order to preserve our way of life, to be reinvented in addition. Some would shout at liberticidal politicians! They would be right, but it is also clear that the state of the world after the passage of Covid-19 will certainly call for an imperious and profound questioning.



Bio: Olivier Longhi has extensive experience in European history. A seasoned journalist with fifteen years of experience, he is currently professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held a variety of publishing positions, including Head of Agency and Chief of Publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, editor and editorial project manager, he has trained and managed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant, and a communications consultant.

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