Coronavirus

A New Warning That International Pandemic Responses Are Eroding Freedom

Authoritarian-minded officials have found opportunity in public health fears.

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In a year of extraordinary and often terrible actions taken in response to COVID-19, yet another international civil society group warns that governments are leveraging the pandemic to tighten controls over their subjects. Ominously, it's not the first such warning and comes as even traditionally liberal democratic countries step up surveillance of dissidents and crack down on public opposition.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dire impact on civic freedoms globally," Civicus, a South Africa-based group that promotes civil society and freedom of association, reported last week. "Our research shows that governments … are using the pandemic as an opportunity to introduce or implement additional restrictions on civic freedoms."

The United States drops in status from "narrowed" to "obstructed" for "restrictive laws, the excessive use of force against protesters, and an increasingly hostile environment for the press." The Civicus rating emphasizes militarized tactics and mass arrests in response to the Black Lives Matter protests that erupted this year. While those protests aren't explicitly linked to the pandemic, they were likely exacerbated by the disruptions and economic pain caused by lockdowns that brought simmering preexisting tensions to a boil.

Unfortunately, Civicus's ratings criteria seem anecdote-driven and rather arbitrary. While the U.S. is (rightfully) dinged for sometimes heavy-handed treatment of protesters (while police in other locations seemingly surrendered the streets to favored political factions), other countries get a relative pass for cracking down on public expression that was specifically targeted at pandemic responses.

Australia, for example, is classified as "narrowed"a better ranking than the U.S.even as authorities arrest people for merely planning to protest against pandemic-related lockdowns. The country is also moving to centralize surveillance of travelers in the name of public health and to ease domestic monitoring of electronic communications.

"Journalists in France have been obstructed in doing their jobs through intimidation and detention while covering protests," observes Civicus, which ranks the country as "narrowed."

Last Friday, 142 people were arrested in Paris during demonstrations against a law that would restrict photographing police officers during such events as protests against lockdowns.

Germany's arrests of anti-lockdown protesters are acknowledged even as the country gets an "open" rating.

Unmentioned is Germany's surveillance of opponents to restrictive anti-pandemic measures on the grounds that they have been "infiltrated by extremists." The "move is effectively a public warning to sympathizers and leaders of the group—which officials described as the 'epicenter' of Germany's coronavirus protests—but it falls short of banning the movement," notes The Washington Post.

The listing for Israelranked as "obstructed"focuses on the treatment of Palestinians. That's certainly an important issue. Still, as Civicus emphasizes governments' exploitation of health concerns to justify expanded authority, it's worth mentioning that the Shin Bet, the country's internal security force, presented bogus information to gain authorization to monitor citizens for coronavirus. "In other words, the committee voted and reaffirmed surveillance on Israeli citizens by the Shin Bet based on partial or even misleading data," according to Haaretz.

That said, the Civicus warning is timely, and the organization's concerns are shared by others.

"The first global pandemic of the digital age has accelerated the international adoption of surveillance and public security technologies, normalising new forms of widespread, overt state surveillance," warned Kelsey Munro and Danielle Cave of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute's Cyber Policy Centre last month.

"Numerous governments have used the COVID-pandemic to repress expression in violation of their obligations under human rights law," United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression David Kaye noted in July.

"For authoritarian-minded leaders, the coronavirus crisis is offering a convenient pretext to silence critics and consolidate power," Human Rights Watch warned back in April.

There's widespread agreement, then, that government officials around the world are exploiting the pandemic to expand their power and to suppress opposition. That's the case not only among the usual suspects where authorities don't pretend to take elections and civil liberties seriously, but also in countries that are traditionally considered "free."

It's wildly optimistic to expect that newly acquired surveillance tools and enforcement powers will simply evaporate once COVID-19 is sent on its way. The post-pandemic new normal is almost certain to be more authoritarian than what went before.

Several organizations make attempts at rating freedom around the world, such as the Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders and the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom. The more holistic assessmentssuch as those by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watchtend toward narrative summaries rather than comparative rankings. That may well reflect the difficulty (seen in the Civicus rankings) in fairly gathering and weighting governments' treatment of their citizens across a multitude of categories.

For my money, the best effort to date that lets us compare countries and see the extent to which we're becoming more or less free is the Human Freedom Index published by organizations including the Cato Institute, Canada's Fraser Institute, and Germany's Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. Last published in 2019, that "global measurement of personal, civil, and economic freedom" uses 76 indicators including rule of law, freedom of movement, freedom of expression, and freedom to trade.

That's a lot of ground to cover, and the 2019 publication relied on 2017 information"the most recent year for which sufficient data are available"to arrive at its rankings. Given that 2020 still has several weeks in which to throw fresh hell our way, we likely have to wait a couple of years to discover whether countries have held their rankings (the U.S. came in at 15) and what those rankings mean in a changing world.

But with Civicus only the latest organization to point out that "the COVID-19 pandemic has had a dire impact on civic freedoms," we don't need detailed rankings to know that authoritarian-minded government officials have found opportunity in public health fears.

NEXT: Shootings, Stabbings Mar a Weekend of Pro-Trump Protests

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      2. BLM protestors weren’t getting arrested, it was rioters that were burning buildings and destroying private property.

  1. So when is Reason going to oppose these nonlibertarian lockdowns?

    It’s been nine months, and we’re still waiting.

    1. They finally noticed there’s a problem. That’s a start.

      1. No, they are only admitting that others SAY there MIGHT be a problem.

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        2. ” others SAY there MIGHT be a problem.”

          That is pretty much the template going forward. We got four years of direct attacks and direct criticism of Trump, get ready for four years of chin tugging and ‘both sides’ over other people’s ‘concerns’ about Biden and the Democrat’s reviving leviathan.

    2. Reason has been opposing the lockdowns since they began. Where have you been? The fact that you posted this comment on an article that criticizes government control during the pandemic is odd.

      1. Reason has been critical of Trump and has accepted the election. That means that they’re all communists who cheer lockdowns. What other explanation is there?

        1. “Trump”

          You keep bringing him up.

          1. Had to check the article to sew
            e if I missed it. Didn’t.

            Not everything is or has to be about Trump. S should stop screaming at the sky. I’m starting to get embarrassed for him.

            1. Oh shit now he’s gonna wail at you.

              Money on “Your what hurts”

              Additional money on the long shot “something something no YOUR MOTHER”

              1. To be fair at least a dozen crybabies on these here comments are still crying about the election being stolen from…… Trump.

                1. Who isn’t brought up in this article.

                  You brought him up.

                  So, if it bothera you as much as you say, maybe stop?

                  “To be fair ”

                  You misspelled “defensive”

                  1. See my 11:52 comment.

                    1. The super defensive one?

                    2. Sarc is bitterly masturbating to his 8×10” glossy of Trump.

                2. Poor unreason. We know they hate America and any semblance of judicial review when crimes of Democrats election fraud have been alleged and supported.

                  Republican Party of Pennsylvania v. Boockvar and Scarnati v. Pennsylvania Democratic Party Still pending before SOCTUS.

            2. I was explaining to beavis why Bill says Reason doesn’t oppose the lockdowns. Try to keep up.

              1. By mentioning Trunp. Who you brought up.

                Again.

                Try not to cry so much when people mock you.

                1. Mock? I thought you were just being an ass. But ok. Whatever you say.

                  1. I’m sorry that I made you made by mocking your Trump fetish.

                    1. I think this might be where you see his patented “your what hurts” 1978 burn.

                  2. This coming from the stupid cunt who screams “I’M A COMEDIAN! YOU JUST DON’T GET IT!” every time he gets called out on being a lying piece of shit.

              2. Don’t see any explaining.

                See you whining about Trump.

            3. unreason has to keep up the appearance that they are not Commies and hate America.

              There are too much of cowards to do it themselves so they send in unreason bots like Sarcasmic.

        2. Yeah I don’t know. But it’s crazy to say that Reason has been silent on, much less supported, the lockdowns. It’s fantasy land.

          1. Reason has been pushing panic porn as badly as the rest of corporate media.

          2. Reason has supported lockdowns from the get-go. Ron Bailey praised them and has called for more (in addition to compulsory testing, compulsory vaccination and compulsory contact tracing). ENB, Britschi, Boehm, Bailey, and Sullum all castigated Trump for not doing enough.

        3. During the lifetime of great revolutionaries, the oppressing classes constantly hounded them, received their theories with the most savage malice, the most furious hatred and the most unscrupulous campaigns of lies and slander. After their death, attempts are made to convert them into harmless icons, to canonize them, so to say, and to hallow their names to a certain extent for the “consolation” of the oppressed classes and with the object of duping the latter, while at the same time robbing the revolutionary theory of its substance, blunting its revolutionary edge and vulgarizing it.
          Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, The State and Revolution

      2. Reason has been a mixed-bag about the unilateral fascist decrees, rules, and commandments issued in response to corona virus; at times has ridiculed dissenters and other times times ridiculed the fascists.

        But it’s okay. The current article is clearly aimed at the authoritarians.

        1. Reason, as the name suggests, has never completely shaken its Objectivist origins, mixing libertarianism with !science!.

          1. Oh, and also heavy emphasis on “We’re different!” and “We’re always in opposition and on the fringe, wah!”

      3. “Reason has been opposing the lockdowns since they began.”

        Reason is not a monolith.

      4. unreason does 10x Trump articles per day for the last 4 years because Orangemanbad. Imagine what unreason will do during Trump’s second term.

        unreason does a flaccid hack piece once per month and they must be hailed as champions of LIBERTY!

        Pravda did an article here and there that Stalin was bad too. He was bad at not foreseeing how evil America was. SEE…dissent.

        1. You, you mean that for the last four years a libertarian magazine has been complaining about the sitting president when he does things that are non-libertarian?

          HOLY FUCKING SHIT!

          1. Your citations fell off. Especially where unreason is Libertarian.

            Libertarians dont elect Democrat slavers in charge.

          2. When Obama was president Reason complained when he did non-libertarian stuff, and for the next four years this libertarian magazine will complain about the sitting president when he does things that are non-libertarian.

            Do you see a pattern forming?

            1. Yeah.

              You cry constantly.

              1. I think you have me confused with one of the dozen who refuse to accept the election results.

                1. They brought up Trump in this article discussion when he isn’t mentioned?

                  *looks*

                  Nope that was you.

                  1. Well I’m sorry I offended you so much by taking your Dear Leader’s name in vain. Didn’t realize it was a sin.

                    1. You really don’t have to get that upset just because people point out you keep obsessing over Trump.

                    2. You’re trolling all my comments and calling me upset? Dude….

                    3. No really, you’re getting all worked up over something you control.

                    4. >>Didn’t realize it was a sin

                      Ah yes over the top passive aggression, always a sign one is not upset.

                    5. Ah yes over the top passive aggression, always a sign one is not upset.

                      sarcasmic is a brilliant comedian, you see. It’s just that nobody gets him because he’s too brilliant.

                2. Where Trump won? Minus all the democrat fraud, of course.

            2. When Obama was president Reason complained when he did non-libertarian stuff

              No, they didn’t. They praised him for using unilateral executive action on immigration. They praised him for using unilateral executive action to initiate overseas wars in the middle east. They praised him for using unilateral executive action to suspend offshore oil drilling. They praised him for using unilateral executive action to suspend fracking on federal lands.

      5. “Reason has been opposing the lockdowns since they began. Where have you been?”

        Many articles in Reason have criticized Sweden for non locking down (er for killing grandma), but not one article has defended Sweden’s libertarian response to covid.

        In sharp contrast, I’ve posted dozens of comments here since March opposing the lockdowns by left wing Democrats.

    3. Commies at unreason want the world to burn so their lunatic versions of Utopia can be realized.

      1. You do know that the Batman movies were fiction, right?

        1. You do know that you’re a worthless alcoholic child fucker right?

    4. This article is designed to be an diversion from reality or the author is an idiot. Reality is, Americans have had their freedom taken away since 2001 with the Patriot act that is renewed for no good reason other to maintain a constant state of war to justify and rationalize the more than 20 year illegal wars in the middle east, that have killed over a million of innocent people. Anyone who dares question and protest can be locked up with no charges, jury trial or access to a lawyer.

      No one is dying from the imposition of wearing a mask or curtailing your time at your favorite restaurant. People are dying from our constant bombing and droning in the middle east and in Africa, our wars of empire to conquer, steal and pilfer other’s wealth and resources under the guise of fighting a global war on terrorism.

      1. A lot of us can multitask. So we oppose both.

    5. There is a not-so-fine line between appropriate and inappropriate government intervention. During WWII Americans largely gave up meat and cheese. Gasoline was rationed. It was a national reaction to a national problem. This time around people who are more than happy to thank soldiers for their service view even minor inconveniences as an existential threat to their personhood. There is no appropriate government response precisely because American’s refuse to be inconvenienced. They won’t get their fat asses out of the La-Z-Boy to change the channel (that is what the remote is for) and more than they would wear a mask to help slow the spread. Watching them defend their patently un-American self-entitledness by pretending it could become a larger deferral of personal liberty to The State is as laughable as Gavin McInnes and his Pride Boyz marching through Washington DC. It’s uniquely American in its selfishness and short sightedness.

      1. GFY, you statist asshole

      2. As stated elsewhere, you’re free to hide under your bed if you so wish.

      3. Your masks don’t do shit, faggot.

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  3. They initially played on public fear. Once they had control, they sure as hell weren’t going to let it go.

    1. These guys:
      https://pacificlegal.org/
      Are doing something about it.
      IJ lost my dough this year; they’re not interested in the issues.
      I predict it’ll take a year of litigation to claw back what the assholes steal from us each month.

    2. Certainly true of Phailing Phil Murphy, that useless POS governor.

      1. Likely thanks to a looming election, Murphy doesn’t seem so heavy handed this go round. Who knows, maybe the peer pressure of our asshole neighbors (particularly Big Daddy Cuomo) will change things.

        But the NJ DOH has advised my employer that they expect this week and the second full week of January to be the hospitalization peaks for this cycle, though they haven’t made noises about killing any sort of electives because growth has been slow and there’s a good amount of slack. Reason for hope.

    3. I think you are extrapolating too much from your own personal fear.

      1. Coming from someone who thinks other people should be locked in their homes by armed agents of the state because he might get a cold bug.

      2. I think you’re full of shit.

  4. “Authoritarian-minded officials have found opportunity in public health fears.”

    I was not alone in calling for rioting in the streets back in March when emperor Newsom told us all to stay home, told business owners which were allowed to continue in business, told us to close the schools, to wear face-diapers, how close we were allowed to get to each other and more.
    We were assured that ‘this isn’t bad; it’ll just be for a while; it’s for your own good’. The standard platitudes used by dictatorial assholes for a thousand years.

    1. Why are the authoritarians so irrational? Why do they reject liberty? Did mommy not hug them enough? It makes no sense.

      1. Believing POWER = WEALTH. It’s the very core foundation they live by and has been ever since a war was fought to free the slaves. Take some time to listen to a lefty debate; the foundation of the argument will always resorts to the above.

        They truly believe they cannot obtain wealth and prosperity without the POWER to dictate or steal from ‘those’ Individuals.

        1. … by the means of their almighty Gov-God personal saviors (the POWER).

    2. I’m pretty sure they are called chin diapers.

      1. Or muzzles.

  5. In an insane world a sane man must appear insane.

  6. militarized tactics and mass arrests in response to the Black Lives Matter protests”

    Now thats a laugh so these people think its okay for rioters to subjegate whole neighborhoods eliminating their rights. Take note Rioters were not arrested enough and many should have been shot on site

    1. what mass arrests? even those arrested were often let out without charges, or bailed out by celebrities and Democratic candidates.

      1. if there really had been mass arrests, with felony charges and serious jail time, the riots and looting and vandalism could have been shut down in the first week.

      2. They typically do mass arrests of people still in the streets post-curfew. The police surround a group and gather them up, put them in plastic hand ties, and process them one by one. I’m not sure what else they were supposed to do though.

        The protests/riots/etc. are all livestreamed by countless people and aggregated on various Twitch channels. Highly recommended viewing. I saw the stabbings and mass beatdown live on Twitch Saturday night, wild stuff.

  7. A “new” warning. Hot, fresh out the oven. Brand new, never been discussed.

  8. The Civicus rating emphasizes militarized tactics and mass arrests in response to the Black Lives Matter protests that erupted this year.

    They must be talking about the people that took umbrage with the legally painted and city-licensed banners that were painted on the streets.

  9. I got to this part:

    “The Civicus rating emphasizes militarized tactics and mass arrests in response to the Black Lives Matter protests that erupted this year. While those protests aren’t explicitly linked to the pandemic, they were likely exacerbated by the disruptions and economic pain caused by lockdowns that brought simmering preexisting tensions to a boil.”

    And realized that this was a terribly unserious research.

    1. Yeah, I doubt we will ever see the BLM crowd protesting they are not allowed to go to work and earn a living.

      1. Exactly; ever read a story about work boots getting looted?

        1. Timberlands are workboots, you fucking monkey. So are docs.

  10. “Ominously, it’s not the first such warning and comes as even traditionally liberal democratic countries step up surveillance of dissidents and crack down on public opposition.”

    Even? Those “traditionally liberal democratic” countries are generally, and have been historically, among the first to behave poorly for even the barest of reasons. They stepped up from 10 to 11. Wooo boy. Those same people are the ones who elected Biden, because they prefer someone to be a dictator since Trump wasn’t willing to fulfill their wet dreams.

  11. Fascists gotta do fascism.

  12. Wait until they make the vaccine mandatory, and then announce the masks and the social distancing and the lockdowns are mandatory as well. That way, you won’t be surprised when they make complaining about it illegal.

    1. They will make the vaccine mandatory, but will have trouble forcing everyone to take it, so the lockdowns will remain mandatory as well…because of those darned anti-vaxxers.

      It’s a perfect way to keep all the authoritarianism in place AND create a wedge issue keeping the people nice and divided.

      1. They can’t make the vaccine mandatory. What they can do is make it a condition for going to public school or university, and whatever else they dream up.

        1. “They can’t”

          He says, completely ignoring evidence and relying entirely upon faith in government.

          1. Well then that will be an entirely new government power, because so far in the last two hundred and whatever years they’ve never been able to mandate a vaccine except as a condition of doing certain business with the government.

            1. It’s a good thing government never arrogates new powers to itself. Not with reasonable adults like Joe Biden in charge, that is.

              You know what breaks when sarcasmic gives it to his daughter? Her pelvis.

          2. sarcasmic the alcoholic kiddie fucker was just explaining a few days ago how he now has full faith in government institutions since Biden was elected. He really is a disgusting authoritarian bootlicker. Also he fucks his underage daughter.

  13. Hard lockdown in Germany for the holidays, no New Year’s Eve parties…. Germany was praised for “handling” the pandemic well back in March, but since they had fewer cases then they have more now. Even without Trump bungling their COVID-19 response. Their lockdowns didn’t work, so lockdown harder.

  14. You’re taking out of both sides of your mouth, as usual. On the one hand, you write about infringements on Liberty. On the other, you support the politicians and government that commits those infringements.

    In the end, you are cocktail party Libertarians, true LINOs.

  15. We are under marshall law warnings are a bit too little too late.

  16. Typical, Tucille, that you cite a report and totally mischaracterize it, at least in regard to what has occurred in the US.

    Nowhere in that report do they associate the new restrictive policies and subsequent worsening rating in the US to a COVID response. It’s not even mentioned in the US section. They say this:

    “It’s troubling to see U.S. authorities implement laws and practices to repress and punish people who protest…The deployment of federal law enforcement in the response to protests in cities like Portland and Chicago not only raised troubling constitutional questions, but also imposed increased legal penalties for protesters arrested by federal agents.”

    “This repressive response was preceded by a wave of legislation limiting people’s rights to peacefully protest. In recent years, several state legislatures enacted restrictive laws which, for example, criminalise protests near pipelines or set penalties for organising demonstrations on school and university campuses. Such laws have also been used to intimidate defenders and movements that stand up to corporate interests, such as CLIMATE activists.” (Caps mine).

    And as far as media:
    “We are also concerned about attacks on journalists, the violation MOST frequently documented by the CIVICUS Monitor in the USA over the past year….. Far from being isolated cases, these incidents have taken place in an environment where independent media has been consistently vilified and delegitimised by public authorities and President Trump.”

    So, they were primarily concerned with media suppression undertaken since Trump…and they specifically cite repression of protestors such as climate activists. Pandemic not even cited in the US section.

    None of that fits the illusion you chose to live by, eh?

    1. “Nowhere in that report do they associate the new restrictive policies and subsequent worsening rating in the US to a COVID response.”

      Wait…You think they have to?

      ???

      Normally people don’t need reality explicitly described to them but that appears to be what you think you need…

      1. They DO specifically mention in the US the restrictions placed on protestors in Portland, restrictions placed on climate protestors, and the restrictions placed on media since Trump. Specifically. At least we can all agree with them on that, eh Ben?

        1. I didn’t realize we had tabled “you think people need reality” but I recognize your desire to move on from that.

          1. Good! We both agree the Civicus take on why the US has a rating that is worsening. And, I’m sure we can agree that Tucille decided to ignore that. Eh, Ben?

            Best,
            Jack

    2. Calling the riots in Portland protests exposes them as left wing partisans and negates their entire premise.

      1. Tell it to Tucille! It’s his citation!

    3. LOL. Most of the physical attacks on journalists have been done by the “protesters” that they don’t want to be controlled.

      Do they want to have their cake, or do they want to eat it?

      1. Tell it to Tucille! It’s his citation!

        1. You repeated it, jackass.

    4. Just a brief reminder that JackandAce is another ancient shreek sock that he’s left dormant for a few years until he busted it out after the election along with Dajjal, AddictionMyth and MollyGodiva.

      1. The sooner the parent of one of his child rape victims puts him down the better.

  17. government use of force is always wrong and always creates more problems….. no matter how good the intentions are. when this all started, we were responding as a society, and it was under control. the second mandates and lock downs were even mentioned it all became predictably political and there was predictable resistance. the flowery BS coming from politicians as they did it undermined confidence in the response as well, as reality predictably did not match with their promises. if we had responded to this thing as a society instead of ever pretending the government even could fix it…. i believe we would have been far better off. we wouldn’t have people refusing to take responsibility just because someone in authority said they should….. we wouldn’t have BS conspiracies about it being faked if the government was not gaining anything from it…… all the nonsense started with the government power grabs. i might routinely insult and demean those who refuse to act like adults, but i do recognize that the other “side” are the ones who even made this about “sides” in the first place.

  18. Reason supports lock down Dems. Fuck you and die, Reason.

  19. Michigan published the forensic audit report of Dominion voting machines.

    They concluded, “The system is the most secure, safe and constitutional thing to ever exist. Trump’s electoral humiliation is complete.”

    JK. They concluded it was designed to manipulate votes and a bunch of logs from Nov 4 on are mysteriously (and illegally) missing.

    1. Democrats and Reason

      No vote fraud

      No widespread vote fraud

      No widespread detectable vote fraud

      IT WOULDN’T HAVE MATTERED ANYWAY HE LOST BY TOO MANY VOTES!!!

      1. I predict Reason will be fine with this and spend all of their effort criticizing whatever Trump’s response turns out to be when he enforces the EO. I no longer think they are just willfully ignorant of China’s goals. They actually think anything China does is fine as long as it helps trade…even trying to turn us into a communist dictatorship.

        1. Reason, like all leftists, deep down (and sometimes at the surface) desires the US be put down, because they are resentful narcissists.

    2. there is evidence….. we just can’t show it to you….. really, trust us.

      1. Just keep refreshing your email inbox, I’m sure the updated narrative will be along shortly. The “no evidence” thing doesn’t work after a damning forensic audit is made public. Try to keep up.

        1. yeah… a “forensic audit” that did not look at a single ballot or find a single case of fraud…. or even have direct access to the machines in question…… but just tried to force strained conclusions out of report outs based on literally nothing….

          you guys really are that stupid, aren’t you? some random guy can write something up and if it is what you want to believe, it must be true.

    3. I read that report.
      Here it is, in case anyone else wants to read it:

      https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/20423772/antrim-county-forensics-report.pdf

      What I got out of that report is that the poll workers didn’t really know what they were doing, configured the software wrong, and generally didn’t take election security as seriously as they should have.

      1. ….that resulted in numerous ‘human errors’ that favored Biden and harmed Trump.

        1. Actually that report has nothing to do with Biden and Trump. It was about school board elections and state referenda.

      2. So if the data can be manipulated by accident that means it can be manipulated on purpose right?

      3. Thank Christ! Here we were thinking it was something nefarious and it turns out it was just total incompetence. That’s way better!

  20. “…first global pandemic of the digital age has accelerated the international adoption of surveillance and public security technologies”

    For fuck sake, that horse is already out of the barn. Theft of Amazon packages for front porches has done more to erode privacy than COVID will have: between Alexa, Ring and cashless store.

    Reason spends too much time on “government” authoritarianism as compared to the un-impeachable private authoritarianism, accountable only to their shareholder and not the public.

    1. Private authoritarianism is less of an issue I think, because market ideas can defeat it. Such solutions aren’t allowed when the government gets involved.

      However, I would like to see more of a focus on the interface points between the two, where the involvement of governement is too gray to be easily discerned.

    2. Yeah, those corporate authoritarians using personal information to try to sell us stuff. That’s so much worse than government authoritarians who kill people.

      1. Government has more restrictions than corporations do. The government can’t put a box in your house that records everything you say. Amazon can, just click OK. Most people don’t think about it so it’s not a perfect free market choice. And if we’re already giving the private sector the benefit of the doubt because we believe markets make our lives better automatically…

        1. Government uses force. Corporations use persuasion. See the difference?

          1. Corporations aren’t being up front about what they’re collecting and what is being done with it. They either don’t say anything or they bury it in a ten page agreement that you have to sign off on to get access to the product.

            Most Americans don’t realize the degree to which they are “spying” on us and would be really pissed If they knew.

            1. The question that matters is “What do they do with this information?”

              I’m pretty sure the answer is “Try to sell us stuff.”

              My response is “So fucking what”

              1. Sarcasmic the answer to “what do they do with this information” is “whatever the fuck they want”.

                Nothing we can do to make them behave.

              2. yOu HaVE NoTHiNg tO FeAr iF YoU HAvE noThINg to HidE!!!!!!!

          2. I don’t think it’s as big a difference as you might assume, especially when talking about a monopoly like Amazon.

            There’s no reason a libertarian oriented to individual freedom should only pay attention to government threats, especially, as they tend to do, federal government threats. Most of us will go our whole lives without any interference in our lives by the federal government. So if we really care about freedom we must recognize the ways we should use government to protect our freedom from the private sector, when necessary.

            But perhaps defining freedom narrowly to be only freedom from government is precisely what distinguishes a libertarian from a liberal.

            1. I don’t think it’s as big a difference as you might assume, especially when talking about a monopoly like Amazon.

              Then please enlighten me. Because last time I checked Amazon had exactly zero men with guns forcing people to buy their stuff.

              1. You could also have pointed out that Amazon’s not actually a monopoly.

                1. ^ This.

                2. You just did.

              2. No but they do have the resources that afford them the ability to undercut competition until every small business is either destroyed or giving most of its income to Amazon.

                1. Ah yes, the undercutting myth. Sorry, not buying it.

                  1. Amazon targets a product it wants to own the market on, like paper towels. It prices its own paper towels at a loss (while advertising them on your start page) until the competition is simply destroyed and all that’s left is Amazon’s product. It’s how they do business. I have a small business that is totally dependent on them because the independent shops are all dead. So you might even be able to keep your business, but every aspect of it is on Amazon’s terms.

                    I’d think this was a pretty crystal clear example of the dangers of monopoly power in a market. And I love Amazon. It’s super efficient. But it is what it is.

                    1. If they want to sell at a loss, the customer benefits. When the competition is destroyed and they jack the prices (that’s the usual story) well that creates a market and waddayknow someone tries to compete. Either way the consumer wins. So I don’t mind one bit.

                    2. I just went to the store and there’s a whole aisle of paper towels. Undercutting only works if government prevents entry into the market by competitors. As soon as Amazon raises its prices its edge is gone.

                    3. I just went to the store and there’s a whole aisle of paper towels.

                      Lucky you. Around here that aisle is mostly bare in most stores, and the ones that are left are single-ply crap that turns into confetti when you try to use them.

                    4. Sarc, but treating competition as a trifle that can be dispensed with as long as the customer is happy misses the entire point of a free market, which is to evolve better products, services, and social outcomes via that competition, and importantly to give people choice. If something is so much more efficiently done as a monopoly, it should be done or at least sanctioned and regulated by government acting on behalf of the people, who otherwise have no economic power in the matter, since it’s a monopoly.

                    5. When the competition is destroyed and they jack the prices (that’s the usual story) well that creates a market and waddayknow someone tries to compete.

                      Because those barriers to entry just disappear overnight and gobs of capital start flowing into the coffers, right you retarded cunt?

              3. last time I checked Amazon had exactly zero men with guns forcing people to buy their stuff.

                You don’t have to have ever purchased anything from Amazon in order for them to have collected more data on you than a credit bureau completely against your will by doing things like purchasing data from your state DMV or your internet service provider.

                You’d think a guy who admits to being a hopeless unemployed alcoholic who fucks his own child would be at least minimally concerned about privacy.

            2. I’d call the income tax a pretty big interference.

            3. Most of us will go our whole lives without any interference in our lives by the federal government.

              You kidding? Whenever you go buy something that’s been turned into a piece of useless trash thanks to federal regulations (gas cans, toilets, shower heads…) the feds are interfering in your life.

              1. But when you go buy something that’s been turned into a piece of useless trash by offshoring thanks to unmitigated greed you should praise Saint Adam Smith for allowing you afford cheap contaminated shit from a communist country built with slave labor.

            4. Most of us will go our whole lives without any interference in our lives by the federal government.

              Don’t you work in the oil industry? Do you know anything about your industry at all?

              In my industry, construction, not a day goes by that my life is not impacted, often quite significantly, by multiple levels of government, including the Federal.

              1. Fair enough, I don’t work tangent to the oil industry anymore, but I do interact with one federal agency in my day job. I just don’t consider it an imposition on my god-given liberties as I might the fact that my smart TV knows more about me than my mother.

                1. I just don’t consider it an imposition on my god-given liberties as I might the fact that my smart TV knows more about me than my mother.

                  Then why did you buy a smart TV?

                  1. Well the question is why do I “choose” to participate in online commerce.

                    I would simply reply that we tolerate all sorts of abuses in online commerce that we don’t in brick and mortar commerce, and it pays to be educated about that.

                    1. I would simply reply that we tolerate all sorts of abuses in online commerce that we don’t in brick and mortar commerce, and it pays to be educated about that.

                      Remind me again what you’re complaining about?

                    2. Oh the usual, people being abused by the powerful. Or as you call it, “Shut up and eat this freedom, peasant.”

              2. Don’t you work in the oil industry?

                Tony is a welfare leech just like sarcasmic, which is why they can both afford to spend 16 hours a day shitposting on Reason.

          3. I must have missed it when Amazon “persuaded” me to sell them data from my state’s department of motor vehicles.

        2. Uh Amazon doesn’t use force to get their boxes into your home. In fact you pay for it.

          1. As Tony himself acknowledges: “Amazon can, just click OK.”

            To Tony, the fact that a lot of people supposedly don’t realize that the thing they brought into their house to listen to them talk listens to them talk means the wise and virtuous bureaucrats in the Federal Government need to save us from our personal choices.

            1. And the fact that the Feds listen without your permission or knowledge, and in fact actively hide their listening from you – well, that’s not a problem.

            2. Name a personal choice that has absolutely no effect on the choices of other people. It’s not so simple is it?

              Government run correctly will manage all these competing liberties, but corporations will always be required to consider profit first.

              Which is not to say government skepticism is a waste of time. That vigilance is a given, for liberals as well. I’m talking about caring about your actual liberty and not just your liberty from government.

              1. Name a personal choice that has absolutely no effect on the choices of other people. It’s not so simple is it?

                My choice of exactly what time I got out of bed this morning?

                That wasn’t hard at all, actually.

                Government run correctly will manage all these competing liberties

                Look how once again you tripped over a fundamental tenet of libertarianism while thinking you’re winning the argument.

                How would a “government run correctly” manage “all these competing liberties?”

                Maybe through a robust court system that considers competing liberties on equal footing before the law?

                Naw – how about some un-elected bureaucrats unilaterally issuing rules written by lobbyists?

                1. I’m not sure what automatically makes judges less corruptible than bureaucrats in a libertarian frame. Are lifetime appointments an essential part of a libertarian conception of government? Credentialing? Judges get a taxpayer salary so there’s no use arguing they are somehow not government. They have to stick to those same laws written by lobbyists.

                  But what you’re actually referring to is eliminating the regulatory state in order to force every victim of pollution to either live with their poisoned water or somehow come up with enough money to compete with a global corporation in a lawsuit.

                  Then no doubt you’ll champion tort reform.

                  (Your philosophy was invented by and for the extraction industry.)

                  1. I’m not sure what automatically makes judges less corruptible than bureaucrats in a libertarian frame.

                    Because you’re still thinking like an authoritarian, and probably always will.

                    The distinctive thing about the judge is that the judge is a relatively neutral third party listening to two parties present their claims of liberty-violation on equal footing, rather than having a bureaucrat unilaterally decide what’s best for everybody without anybody else’s participation.

                    But what you’re actually referring to is eliminating the regulatory state in order to force every victim of pollution to either live with their poisoned water or somehow come up with enough money to compete with a global corporation in a lawsuit.

                    My favorite moment in any given debate is when the other guy has to tell me what I’m saying in order to refute it.

                    1. But judges aren’t grown in bean pods, they are people subject to political forces. You’re describing an ideal judge. I can describe an ideal regulator.

                      You may not be aware that your political positions exist for the specific purpose of providing philosophical cover for corporate malfeasance, but that’s why I’m here, to educate.

                      Anyone who seriously thinks it would be better for freedom to force every individual with polluted drinking water to go to court against multi-billion-dollar corporations and their lawyers, and only after they’ve already been poisoned, clearly has a few things mixed up.

                    2. But judges aren’t grown in bean pods, they are people subject to political forces. You’re describing an ideal judge. I can describe an ideal regulator.

                      Try again, and read more slowly this time:

                      The distinctive thing about the judge is that the judge is a relatively neutral third party listening to two parties present their claims of liberty-violation on equal footing, rather than having a bureaucrat unilaterally decide what’s best for everybody without anybody else’s participation.

                      I don’t care how ideal your bureaucrat is, he’s still regulating unilaterally and uniformly. The judge judges actual conflicts between actual people, and we’ve actually got a pretty good system for keeping those people as neutral as we can manage.

                      Or are all those Republicans on the Supreme Court handing Trump victories because they’re such partisans?

                      You may not be aware that your political positions exist for the specific purpose of providing philosophical cover for corporate malfeasance

                      Remind me which party has the backing of Corporate America at the moment? And how many KKKorporations are major contributors to the Libertarian Party?

                      Do you think Nike, Disney, Boeing, Facebook, Apple and Lockheed Martin are on the side of libertarians? If so, why do they lend so much support to Democrats?

                      Do you even think for two seconds before you say these things?

                    3. Why do you think poisoning people wouldn’t be a criminal offense in Libertopia? Poisoning, murder, rape, theft, robbery any form of initiatory force would be illegal and punishable.

                    4. Why do you think poisoning people wouldn’t be a criminal offense in Libertopia?

                      To be fair, when China poisoned tens of thousands of American children with lead you all rushed to their defense and they suffered no repercussions of any kind.

            3. No, but Amazon (in your example) should make it well known to the buyer that the box is going to listen to them talk. They don’t.

              1. It’s literally the purpose of the thing.

                1. “This device records input from the microphone even when you have not used the voice activation feature” is found nowhere on the packaging, user manual, or web page.

      2. Google, Facebook and Twitter use private information and endless cash to manipulate elections. There were Biden voters who had never even heard of Hunter Biden.

        1. There were Biden voters who had never even heard of Hunter Biden.

          Which means what exactly? That Biden voters weren’t getting their information from fevered conservative media outlets? That’s not a surprise.

          1. Or the DOJ.

            Hunter is influence peddling scum.

          2. It means Big Tech buried the lede. They literally manipulated the election by hiding Hunter’s ties to China, Russia and Ukraine and the laptop.

            1. I don’t do Facederp. Are you saying that when you posted stuff about Hunter that it was censored?

              1. I’m not on social media either. There was a big story about Twitter suspending the WAPO for the Hunter laptop story.

                1. NY Post, not WaPo. WaPo was on board with the silencing of a rival for potential clicks.

  21. Back in March/April/May when totalitarian Democrat PA Gov Wolf (in collusion with Democrat govs in NY, NJ, CT and RI) shut down most businesses, imposed a stay at home order, sharply reduced the number of people allowed in so-called “essential” businesses, and imposed a mask mandate in every indoor (and some outdoor) business, there were only 75 – 150 new cases of covid daily throughout Western Pennsylvania.

    During the several weeks, there have been 2,000 – 3,500 new cases of covid daily throughout Western Pennsylvania (about 25 times more new cases than in March/April/May).

    But after being locked down for no reason (other than Wolf’s desire to defeat Trump by destroying PA’s economy, especially businesses owned by Republicans, and by stealing the election via greatly expanding mail in balloting), most folks in PA (including lefties who voted for Biden) no longer support Wolf’s lockdown.

    But last week Wolf reimposed a ban on all indoor dining, casinos, gyms and fitness centers, and once again banned people from spectating at indoor and outdoor sports events.

    Looks like a classic case of Wolf crying Wolf.

    Although I still oppose shutting down any businesses in response to covid, the argument for a lockdown now is 25 times greater than it was back in the spring.

    1. We’ve been open since May and my county has 350 deaths out of 750,000. The average age is 71. Of course that 350 died WITH CV not necessarily FROM CV.

      1. Yeah, I recently noticed they were saying “with” not “from” when they read the numbers. Talk about meaningless statistics.

  22. We did an experiment in responding to a pandemic with individual freedom, and we performed badly. Everyone displayed the maximum in selfish assholery. Every last one of you crusaders for poor hygiene, conspiracy theorists, and hysterical overreacters made a crystal clear case for why nobody is under any obligation to place your freedom ahead of anything on a list of priorities.

    If you use your freedom to kill people, you shouldn’t be surprised if you end up in a cage. Next time try defining personal responsibility not as “I don’t have to do even the bare minimum to protect the health and safety of anyone else” but as actually being responsible.

    1. A lot of the people that refuse to wear masks when appropriate act like they’re the equivalent of Patrick Henry. In reality they’re mostly just selfish.

      1. Masks are useless. California has had a mandate for months and cases are spiking.

      2. They’re virtue signaling to fellow Trumpistas.

        1. Failing to wear your face diaper is virtue signaling. Hiding in your section 8 apartment fucking your daughter between alcoholic blackouts and spending 16 hours a day online telling people they are selfish for failing to wear their face diaper is true libertarianism.

      3. It felt more pathetic than selfishness. It was as if we all started wearing masks and feeling a little awkward about it, but some were so thrown by this change to normality that they had to puff up and act macho to compensate for what was clearly a life-defining insecurity. School bullies picking on nerds all over again. Everything comes down to a deep, dark fear that other boys will think of them as weak and effeminate and cast them out. High school or chimpanzee dynamics, pick one.

        1. And it’s not the same in reverse? A mean girl clique of bossy busybodies who cannot live and let live? Who claim that they have the best interests of all in mind, and are following ‘the science?’ They don’t seem to be a group interested in civil liberties, but an irrational mob of scared people.

          1. well said!

          2. No Hank, you’re talking about the nerds who invented the world the assholes are shitting all over because they’re stupid and emotional.

            If we say listen to science, it’s because it’s fucking science. Jesus.

            1. Yeah the people ranting and raving and assaulting people on the street for not wearing masks despite the risk of death from Covid 19 being 1/10 of 1% are not the ones being stupid and emotional.

              FOLLOW THE SCIENCE OR WE WILL KILL YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! – a very rational and well adjusted person.

              1. Follow the science because you are killing people.

      4. Lick those boots you pathetic worthless pussy.

      5. they’re mostly just selfish.

        What a trenchant criticism. Libertarians against selfishness!

    2. Yeah if you intentionally infect people with a disease like HIV you should be held responsible. Life is full of risk from others. We drive towards each other at 120 mph closing speed in 1 ton vehicles but no one thinks twice about it. 50,000 Americans die of the flu every year. If you’re scared crawl into bed pull the covers over your head and leave to rest of us to carry on with life.

      1. So should you be held responsible for not taking safety precautions and advocating risky behavior?

        1. Life is risk. I assume you drive a car which is the most dangerous thing people do on a daily basis. Are you advocating no one be allowed to drive because it’s risky?

          1. No but I also understand that traffic laws mitigate a lot of the harm. All you were being asked to do was stick to the speed limit, metaphorically speaking.

            1. All you were being asked to do was stick to the speed limit, metaphorically speaking.

              Which you absolutely always do, right?

              1. I’m not sure what argument you think you’re making. Sometimes my facemask slips below my nose too. These things are measured by outcomes, meaning body count. Speed limits, regardless of whether I am perfectly compliant at all times, save a certain number of lives, same as masks.

                1. I’m not sure what argument you think you’re making.

                  That you’re a hypocrite who thinks laws only apply to other people, and who thinks that laws magically make things happen even though individuals are actually choosing all the time whether to follow them or not?

                  1. Choosing based on consequences. Are you saying we could eliminate speed limits and there would be no increase in vehicle deaths?

                    1. Are you saying we could eliminate speed limits and there would be no increase in vehicle deaths?

                      Germany says “yes.”

                2. ‘Sometimes my facemask slips below my nose too.’ Monster. Clearly the only solution is execution. /sarc

      2. I’m not scared. I’m being as normal as possible under the circumstances. Had a 9 person get together for thanksgiving, only two of which are in our household.

        But things aren’t black and white the way you appear to see them. You don’t know if masks help any at all. How much worse would California be without the mandate? Neither of us know. I choose to be thoughtful of the people around me just in case. You choose to think of yourself for political reasons. We’re all free to make the choices we make.

        1. You don’t know if masks help any at all. How much worse would California be without the mandate?

          I agree with your general sentiment – I wear a mask when I go out because I just don’t think it’s that big of a deal.

          But I honestly don’t think the situation in California would be different in any way without the mandate. In fact, I would bet that there would be more voluntary mask-wearing without a mandate. And I bet our numbers would be just the same either way.

          People don’t do well with “you can’t actually control this.” It’s not in our wiring. The typical human response is to do things even when you know the things you’re doing don’t mean anything, because it’s very hard for us to admit that some things are beyond our control.

          1. it’s very hard for us to admit that some things are beyond our control

            Witness Tony above, or the reactions that cultural and policy factors might not be the only things driving notably less severe outbreaks among East Asians.

          2. Square, I don’t know either on California but generally agree. I wear them when I’m at a store or walking thru a restaurant out of courtesy to other people. Don’t find the mask any hassle either, in fact, my wife laughs at me because I regularly forget to take it off in the parking lot and wear it all the way into the car before she reminds me to take it off.

            So I don’t get the vitriol. It’s harmless and maybe it does a little good on the margin. Who knows?

            1. Masks cause bacterial respiratory infections and contribute to the spread of the virus by encouraging people to touch their face more often. They do less than no good. They are not harmless. And being an obsequious bootlicking pussy is pathetic. I hope your wife’s boyfriend wears his mask while you’re sucking his cum out of her pussy.

            2. Or maybe it actually makes things worse?

              What does the data show?

        2. How much worse would California be without the mandate?

          IOW you’re a bootlicking authoritarian piece of shit using the exact same argument from counterfactual that is used to justify literally every government action.

          “How many terror attacks would have happened since 9/11 without the PATRIOT Act? Neither of us know.”

          Fuck yourself you state worshiping pathetic piece of shit.

      3. Yeah if you intentionally infect people with a disease like HIV you should be held responsible

        Ironically enough, California and several other Marxist states just recently repealed their statutes that make knowingly infecting someone with HIV a crime.

  23. I hate to state the obvious, but maybe we sometimes trade freedom for life? Are we assuming the pandemic is real and that people actually are dying, or is this article based on the notion that Covid is a hoax?

    That being said, at what point can we trade freedom for life? Not too long ago the GOP in the US thought death panels were the epitome of evil, but now it seems perfectly ok to let some people go to bars even though this leads to dead old people. Or does Reason think this isn’t happening?

    So where do we draw the line? If Covid death rates were 2%, 4%? If Covid killed kids as much as old people? Until you can actually acknowledge the trade-offs all this anti-government crying is just plain juvenile.

    1. I think that’s the entire point. Are the lockdowns and mask mandates worth the negative consequences? Millions of lives being financially destroyed, increasing mental health and substance abuse problems from people basically being under house arrest, thousands of businesses closing their doors forever, children being deprived of social contact… I don’t think so.

      1. It goes against the grain here to suddenly care about diffuse social outcomes and unintended consequences, though it’s certainly welcome. Clearly a pandemic, if it’s being managed by sane people, will result in some knock-on consequences as people are quarantined to contain the death and illness. There quite likely isn’t an option to get a pandemic under control while disrupting nobody’s life, but that’s adulthood for you. We could have agreed that aggressive action now means less long-term disruption, but too many people weren’t willing to face the hard choices and instead chose to simply deny that the core problem existed, some still denying it while they died choking.

        Anyway, so after this particular crisis is over, we can sit down and talk about the unintended social consequences of other policies, like lax pollution regulation and kleptocratic tax law. I look forward to a new era in which libertarians consider all the variables of a holistic public policy approach.

        Because curiously none of you seemed to give the slightest crap about how many people died by suicide when the subject was gun policy.

        1. Anyway, so after this particular crisis is over, we can sit down and talk about the unintended social consequences of other policies, like lax pollution regulation and kleptocratic tax law.

          Probably not, being that you consider CO2 to be pollution, and you consider not-taking to be giving and not-giving to be taking.

          Because curiously none of you seemed to give the slightest crap about how many people died by suicide when the subject was gun policy.

          Guns don’t cause suicide.

          And none if these policies you mention involve the government actively destroying lives and freedom for.. what exactly?

          1. How is CO2 not pollution? How do you define pollution? It’s certainly not inert. I don’t follow. You can’t seriously mean that some amount of CO2 is desirable, therefore all amounts are desirable.

            Lockdowns don’t cause suicides any more than the availability of guns does. They are correlated however, and I look forward to examining the unintended consequences of gun rights now that you’ve started concerning yourself with such things.

            1. How is CO2 not pollution? How do you define pollution?

              I’m not a member of the Climate Change religion, so we’re never going to agree on that.

              I look forward to examining the unintended consequences of gun rights

              Well the major difference is that nobody is forced to buy a gun, while people are being forced into pseudo house arrest.

              1. So you actually believe that there is no such thing as too much of a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere? Or do you believe they burning coal and oil doesn’t produce CO2? You can say “religion” all you want, but you appear to be the one believing in magic.

                Even if we assume a lockdown regime as strict as you are exaggerating it as, you’re not talking about it as an imposition on freedom alone, you’re talking about it as having bad unintended consequences like suicide.

                Clearly you can’t actually care about suicide rates and not address the tens of thousands of suicides per year that directly result from the availability of guns.

                I’m having a real hard time following any kind of coherent ethical framework here. Seems like a bunch of individual policy preference with whatever excuses you can find at hand to tack on.

                1. Clearly you can’t actually care about suicide rates and not address the tens of thousands of suicides per year that directly result from the availability of guns.

                  Clearly you don’t understand the difference between freedom and government imposition.

                2. Tony, the biggest issue is that we’re about to wreck our energy grid over something that isn’t a crisis. It’s a problem, but not a crisis.

                  And you along with the green dealers are ignoring the fact that voluntary action has reduced our (USA) carbon emissions by knocking on 20% over the last 15 years, not even counting the pandemic influence in 2020. Not good enough – the government needs to step in and fuck it up.

                  1. And you along with the green dealers are ignoring the fact that voluntary action has reduced our (USA) carbon emissions by knocking on 20% over the last 15 years

                    ^ This.

                    Despite the US “doing nothing” compared with the activist governments of Europe, the US has left Europe in the dust as far as reducing carbon emissions.

                    Prince William cares, though, which is the important thing.

                  2. You say that like I would be anything but overjoyed if the private sector were capable of solving global warming by market mechanisms alone.

                    Fix global warming and the hysterical anti-intellectual fraud that accompanies its politics? Sign me up.

                    Unfortunately what the private sector mostly did was strangle out every last drop of oil it could while funding campaigns of lies the whole time that the Republican Party and most libertarians bought whole hog like the victimized dupes they are.

                    There are estimates of what counts as enough progress to save the human species from extinction. Not only would it be utterly negligent to assume the market can handle the biggest pollution crisis in history alone, despite pollution being the quintessential externality problem, it’s just plain false. Sorry. I’m not the one making stupid promises.

                    1. What is the hysterical anti-intellectual fraud that you’re talking about?

                      The New Green Deal should be included because it’s a poorly thought out failure waiting to happen. That and the left’s irrational antipathy to nuclear have to be included along with whatever you’re bringing in from the right. Balance and all, you know?

                    2. the private sector mostly did was strangle out every last drop of oil it could while funding campaigns of lies

                      What lies, specifically?

                      the hysterical anti-intellectual fraud that accompanies its politics

                      I’m sorry to have to break this to you, but the anti-intellectualism is coming from you. You’ve been displaying your ignorance and incuriosity on this subject on this board for many years. Many people have pointed you to sources where you could educate yourself on the basic science, but you refuse.

                      As I’ve pointed out to you many times before, I was going door-to-door telling people about global warming when you were in elementary school. I’ve been following this for 30 years.

                      I appreciate that you get excited when you think you can use global warming to bludgeon your political enemies, but as someone who has been following this a lot longer than you have, please let me inform you (again) that all you do here is demonstrate your profound ignorance of climate science whenever you come here to talk about this.

                    3. “Unfortunately what the private sector mostly did was strangle out every last drop of oil it could while funding campaigns of lies the whole time”

                      Man, it’s like everything is politics with you while politics to me is just a distraction. What the private sector mostly did was displace coal with natural gas which is a low carbon emitting hydrocarbon. And power stayed cheap because supply of natural gas increased dramatically due to (gasp! faint!) what is commonly known as fracking. Oil has nothing to do with it and the fact that you brought it up demonstrates that you have no actual knowledge about carbon emissions or climate change.

                      “Not only would it be utterly negligent to assume the market can handle the biggest pollution crisis in history alone,”

                      We need to hope that they can, because the incoming regime is proposing stuff that’s gonna make it worse. They might drop emissions but at the cost of a serious diminishment of quality of life.

                      Besides which, if China and India don’t come along all we’re doing is pissing in the wind.

                    4. So we don’t have to save the human species from extinction because China and India aren’t taking the lead first.

                      We could take the lead. Justify our miserable existence for the first time in a long time. We could even leverage our power to incentivize other countries to join the effort.

                      Because if we don’t we’re not a living species anymore, and you may be a bunch of malicious narcissists, but even you know you don’t have the right to make that call.

                    5. There are estimates of what counts as enough progress to save the human species from extinction. Not only would it be utterly negligent to assume the market can handle the biggest pollution crisis in history alone, despite pollution being the quintessential externality problem, it’s just plain false. Sorry. I’m not the one making stupid promises.

                      In what timeframe is the human species facing extinction?

            2. How is CO2 not pollution?

              Because if you removed CO2 from the atmosphere all life on the planet would die.

              There is no science that has ever shown that the planet has ever in its existence had too much CO2 in the atmosphere.

              The only observable effect so far of increased CO2 in the atmosphere?

              Reforestation.

              1. Wow. But just imagine the other claims wrapped up in the claim that there is no such thing as too much CO2 (making it unique among chemicals). What also must be true is that the world’s scientific community either hasn’t figured this out or is in lockstep lying about it for… whatever reason.

                Sometimes I’m truly baffled by the intellectual absurdities presented here with a straight face.

                1. But just imagine the other claims wrapped up in the claim that there is no such thing as too much CO2

                  Good thing no one made that claim.

                  What I said was:

                  “There is no science that has ever shown that the planet has ever in its existence had too much CO2 in the atmosphere.”

                  What also must be true is that the world’s scientific community either hasn’t figured this out or is in lockstep lying about it

                  You keep saying this about the “world’s scientific community,” but whenever you’re asked to demonstrate what the “”world’s scientific community” believes, you disappear.

                  1. So what, your point is semantic? We had more CO2, but hey the dinosaurs didn’t complain!

                    There’s more CO2 in the atmosphere now than at any time in the history of the existence of Homo sapiens. If you think that’s intuitively no big deal, you need to go back to kindergarten and learn how to count your boogers again.

                    I don’t know how you consume science but whatever you do when you’re reading about astronomy or animal husbandry or whatever you’re into, do that with climate science. Just assess what’s going on in the field, it’s really not a challenge unless you make it one.

                    1. There’s more CO2 in the atmosphere now than at any time in the history of the existence of Homo sapiens.

                      It’s a good thing our Neanderthal forebears had the presence of mind to document the PPM of CO2 in the atmosphere 10,000 years ago or else we wouldn’t know this!

                      Mind you, this isn’t even true for our recorded scientific history over the last couple centuries.

                    2. Did the Neanderthals have fossil fuels? Because otherwise I don’t see how it’s relevant, even if you were right, which you’re not. There is no principle for slowing down the warming except to stop doing what’s causing it.

        2. Clearly a pandemic, if it’s being managed by sane people, will result in some knock-on consequences as people are quarantined to contain the death and illness.

          What country successfully did this?

          Because curiously none of you seemed to give the slightest crap about how many people died by suicide when the subject was gun policy.

          Huh?

          1. I’ll ignore island nations that succeeded impressively since they are islands, but there were better outcomes and worse outcomes. There is no reason not to learn anything from this, unless you’re a Republican bootlicker whose only motivation is to let them off the hook for their crimes against humanity.

            Anyway, any libertarian now talking about the increase in suicide due to lockdowns now must address the increase in suicides that are a result of gun proliferation. Assuming the concern about suicide is sincere and not just a cherry picked statistic to support the otherwise terrible policies of a political team.

            1. Anyway, any libertarian now talking about the increase in suicide due to lockdowns now must address the increase in suicides that are a result of gun proliferation.

              Guns don’t cause suicide, and nobody is force to own them. I’ve got several guns in the house and a daughter who will soon be a teenager. I suppose that puts her at a higher risk according to you, except for the part where guns and ammo are stored in separate, locked containers, and I don’t keep the keys on me or anywhere they can be easily found.

              1. I’ve got several guns in the house and a daughter who will soon be a teenager.

                The former helps when he’s fucking the latter between alcoholic blackouts.

                What he forgot to tell you is that he only gets his daughter every other weekend because the judge in his divorce case wouldn’t give custody to a hopeless unemployed drunk living in section 8 housing on SSI.

            2. Tony you’re conflating two totally unrelated things. One of these things is aggravated by government action, the other is not. It’s apples and mailboxes.

            3. I’ll ignore island nations that succeeded impressively since they are islands

              A rare moment of intellectual honesty – credit where it’s due.

              there were better outcomes and worse outcomes

              Yup. So which government did really great because of their draconian lockdowns? The UK? Belgium? New York? California?

              I’m sure you have a long list of examples right on the tip of your tongue.

                1. So far your list has exactly 0 countries on it. Maybe you’ll be able to add to it later.

            4. Anyway, any libertarian now talking about the increase in suicide due to lockdowns now must address the increase in suicides that are a result of gun proliferation.

              And sorry, but this is just retarded.

              1. Then you don’t actually care about suicides and you’re whoring out dead people for an unrelated political position.

                1. Then you don’t actually care about suicides and you’re whoring out dead people for an unrelated political position.

                  Says the guy who’s literally saying that a suicide doesn’t matter unless it was committed with a gun, because he wants to ban guns.

                  1. Of course I think suicide matters. You don’t. It’s not a normal libertarian thing to care about, as they are extremely clear about every time the subject of gun deaths comes up.

                    Like an adult I have to weigh any increase in suicides as a result of pandemic measures against those measures, exactly the same as with gun policy.

                    1. So what’s the appropriate ratio of suicides to Covid deaths? 1:1? 10:1?

                      Also I’m sure the people who wish to die because you turned them into prisoners of the state really appreciate you taking away their means to escape your dystopia. At least your Marxist forebears had the decency to kill their victims or allow them to die.

            5. Would it make it clearer if we discussed the root problem here as the misery that leads people to want to take their own lives?

              Maybe to you putting putting people in padded cells so they lack the means to end their own misery is problem solved.

              No. Guns don’t cause people to want to take their own lives.

              So if Sarcasmic is more specific about the problem he’s talking about will you then address THAT problem? The problem he’s talking about isn’t how many people who view death to be preferable to life ultimately succeed in attaining that preference. The problem is why so many more people are suddenly preferring death to life.

              You do care about that issue, don’t you?

    2. Are we assuming the pandemic is real and that people actually are dying, or is this article based on the notion that Covid is a hoax?

      There are, in fact, more than just those two options.

      Not too long ago the GOP in the US thought death panels were the epitome of evil, but now it seems perfectly ok to let some people go to bars even though this leads to dead old people.

      One can simultaneously believe that there shouldn’t be government panels empowered to forbid you from receiving medical care and also that government shouldn’t forbid you from leaving your house even if they have convinced themselves it’s for your own good.

      So where do we draw the line? If Covid death rates were 2%, 4%? If Covid killed kids as much as old people?

      It’s exactly the same as with the propaganda around the Iraq invasion of 2003.

      Never in human history has a country being invaded needed its government to run around and persuade people that it’s being invaded. No country in history has ever fallen because it’s people refused to believe its government telling them it was being invaded.

      If Covid death rates were 2-4%, the media would need to be actively inducing hysteria.

      1. * wouldn’t need

    3. “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”

      1. “Now put all the Mexicans in cages!”

        1. Do you actually know what IceTrey thinks of Trump’s immigration policies?

          Because I do.

        2. The red herring tends to be more effective if the reference isn’t separated by 200 years of history.

          Even as retarded as that is, it would also be more effective if your preferred candidate hadn’t spent 8 years as VP overseeing the exact same policy.

    4. ‘Let some people go to bars even though this leads to dead old people.’ May, might, could, there is a chance, very slight that it ‘leads’ to. Your argument is faulty; the ad hominem, apply it to youerself.

  24. Wow – I had started to give up on Reason. Many articles have supported authoritarian responses to the virus, and libertarians should be the most skeptical about new government power over our everyday lives. My favorite is the way they will say that the government is doing all the right things, it’s just that these should be done voluntarily. And what if people don’t do them voluntarily?

    Listening to the Reason Roundtable used to be a highlight of my week. I still listen most of the time, but I’ve wanted to yell at the panelists so many times over the past nine months. I’ve fallen just a little in love with Nick Gillespie, and no one is more surprised than I am, but too often he is the only one who pushes back on the accepted orthodoxy of “COVID above all!”

    The government was never going to give back power, not without a fight. Rules only apply to the hoi polloi. We’ll be wearing masks forever now because there will always be some virus we want to avoid catching. I mean, people do die of the flu, so why wouldn’t we just social distance and mask up and close down for every flu season? Maybe it doesn’t matter, because there is no longer much out there worth doing. You can go shopping and you can drink. No concerts, no plays, no festivals, no farmers’ markets. No dance class. You have to wear a mask at the dang gym. The lipstick industry is going to crumble.

    Why do I think this is permanent? Because Richard Reid tried to blow up his shoe on an airplane in 2001, and we still place our shoes in a separate bin when going through security. We still put our toothpaste in a little plastic baggy.

    In our defense, this was a bait-and-switch, and a BIG one. I remember that one time we were going to isolate for two weeks to avoid overwhelming hospitals. Now we are waiting for universal vaccinations. Governments are putting restrictions on things that are not dangerous (e.g. outdoor dining), so this is not about science.

    Now we can’t really resist. So welcome to this new normal. I don’t care about however they rate us vs. Germany. But I am very interested in the fact that we let this happen, that the writers at Reason seemed largely okay with it, and now we are stuck.

    I would rather have COVID, but I don’t get to make that choice. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to try to focus on work in my small apartment next to my needy puppy, which is how I have been “living” since March and will be “living” at least through the end of next summer.

    We needed to be angrier earlier. We’ve allowed ourselves to be doormats and now we have a solid precedent for shutting life down in the face of a comparatively VERY mild virus. Maybe that’s the most infuriating part: this isn’t Ebola. A vanishingly small percentage of people will die of it, but being alive is dangerous. You risk getting hurt, killed, or sick every time you leave the house. This is the pinnacle of the nanny state – it’s the government telling us we cannot go outside with wet hair or we will catch our death of cold.

    1. We’ve had indoor dining since May. Everything is pretty normal except for mask wearing. I don’t wear one and nobody has said a word to me about it. Red states rule!

      1. Red states are those places now seeing alarming increases in the sickness and death of children from covid, yes? Sounds charming.

        1. I live in the biggest red state of them all and there’s no increase in sickness among children. You’re either making shit up in your hatred of red states, or you’re getting really bad info from somewhere.

          If anybody doing extraordinary harm to children it’s schools that won’t do school in person. A generation is losing at least a year of instruction because the government and teachers won’t honor the stats related to Covid and schools.

          1. To be fair, 10 additional dead 0-17 year olds in the past week would be an increase near 10%, which sounds pretty severe if you don’t think too hard about it.

            COVID has to this point been nearly a complete non-issue on the pediatric side. And that’s probably the end-state of the illness: just another cold bug that the day care set has to deal with but our grandchildren shrug off for 80 years because they first got it between ages 4 and 8.

          2. I’m fine with there being no team-based political differences shoehorned in to this so we could have meaningful debate over policy approaches for this temporary catastrophe, but I’m not the one who insists on it at every opportunity. All of a sudden libertarians love them some public school, and generally their team engages in science denial because they just can’t sit back and cope with basic mainstream facts being real just this once. “I don’t care if Democrats are right, I can’t side with them! You can’t make me wear pants!”

            Because with your slapdash approach to everything we can’t discuss whether to make the painful trade-off of opening schools knowing it will kill a certain number of children and teachers. We have to pretend these tensions don’t exist because you can’t handle them or else you’d be normal people instead of libertarians.

            1. I’m not the one who insists on it at every opportunity

              You exactly are, actually.

              “I don’t care if Democrats are right, I can’t side with them! You can’t make me wear pants!”

              Do you ever monetize that by renting yourself out to local school districts for film viewings and such?

              we can’t discuss whether to make the painful trade-off of opening schools

              Who’s this “we?” Why do you need to be involved in a discussion of whether or not my daughter does to school?

              And why is the trade-off painful? There is absolutely no science whatsoever that supports shutting down schools, and we are the only country to have done so.

              Where is your vaunted concern for what the rest of the world is doing all of a sudden?

            2. Tony, I really wish you would go away. You are clearly not a libertarian, so the only reason you come here is to be a troll. You pick fights and insult people and never have anything meaningful to add to a conversation.

          3. Of course he’s making it up, he cannot get past his bias and bigotry.

        2. Alarming increases in numbers of sick, like what’s happening in California?

          1. Yes, because despite all the work the virus did to defeat Trump, viruses don’t actually have a political party.

            1. Red states are those places now seeing alarming increases in the sickness and death of children from covid, yes? Sounds charming.

              Yes, because despite all the work the virus did to defeat Trump, viruses don’t actually have a political party.

              I’m not putting any words in your mouth, man.

          2. A Thinking Mind
            December.14.2020 at 3:45 pm
            Alarming increases in numbers of sick, like what’s happening in California?

            Tony
            December.14.2020 at 3:51 pm
            Yes

            And yet we have some of the most restrictive lockdown orders in the country, and perhaps the most widespread general compliance with those lockdowns.

            By your thinking, shouldn’t our numbers be the best in the world?

            Why aren’t they?

            1. I did a little math, and California has 12% of the country’s population but 7% of the covid deaths. Shrugs.

              1. anecdotal:
                Anecdotal information is not based on facts or careful study:
                https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/anecdotal

        3. Florida and Georgia are STILL under the hospitalization rate of most of the lockdown states.

          NM just passed Florida in deaths/million yesterday. Fat lot of good all the lockdowns have gotten them.

      2. I suppose it does matter what state you live in. I live in Texas. We’ve had a mask mandate since May, I think. Statewide.

  25. freakout keyword master.

  26. “Authoritarian-minded officials have found opportunity in public health fears.”

    Well that was the plan, it worked, and they will try it again with the next set of crises. I wonder what the powers that be have in mind for the so called climate crisis, health care crisis, housing crisis, employment crisis, gun control crisis, mental health crisis… and it goes on from there. Each crisis will bring with it an idiotic set of demands—which those in power will ignore.

  27. The pandemic nonsense has gone overboard because few people think for themselves and rely on the fake media, government and idiot medical experts to make ALL their life decisions for them. Putrid!

    No matter where you go on earth you are breathing the same air, indoors or outdoors. Therefore, you MUST where your silly mask 24/365/for the rest of your miserable life because you are always breathing air that circulates around the globe. It is always contaminated with germs, viruses and bacteria and harmful substances…watch out you don’t get sick and join the dead. Wear you mask forever and be saved. Or, let your immune system work for you if you are reasonably healthy. Mask or no, it is the ONLY thing that stands between you and death by sickness and disease.

    1. Technically masks aren’t to protect you from others but to protect others from you. It’s altruism
      “Since nature does not provide man with an automatic form of survival, since he has to support his life by his own effort, the doctrine that concern with one’s own interests is evil means that man’s desire to live is evil—that man’s life, as such, is evil. No doctrine could be more evil than that. Yet that is the meaning of altruism.” – Ayn Rand

      1. What is an “automatic form of survival”? Do you even know?

        That’s not what altruism means.

        I think one reason Rand appeals to 13 year-olds is because she has an intellect stunted at around that level of emotional development. She’s incapable of being anything but an extremist.

        Where is the place for people who advocate a productive mixture of selfishness and altruism in her philosophy? It would be helpful to engage the voices of all the actual people who actually live in the real world, in addition to her cartoon characters.

        Or to engage the biological realities of being human, which also impose a productive mixture of selfishness and altruism on our behavior.

        Except perhaps those of us inclined to be just enough of a dick to everyone to need a philosophical justification for it.

        1. It’s hilarious how you think Rand’s villains are too cartoonish and one dimensional, and then deliver monologues ripped from the pages of her villains and worship public figures who are even worse.

          1. I didn’t say it wasn’t convincing bullshit to a 13 year-old.

            Lots of psychotic fascist nonsense is convincing to people.

            1. Was there an intent to provide a intelligible thought there, or did you just randomly poke at the keyboard?

  28. It is well-documented that U.S. cities in the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic that shut down for longer were better able to recover economically in the long-term, though their short-term suffering was somewhat harsher. Not sure why this would be outright ignored in a publication that calls itself “Reason.”

    1. This isn’t 1918. You can be anywhere in the world in 24 hours. People weren’t as mobile back then. It’s a different world.

    2. No US cities had mandated lockdowns in 1918 you lying fucking minge.

      1. I think there were a couple, and they only closed down for a few weeks. Not the same at all.

  29. Just checked out their website; they claim 87% of the world population lives under a repressive regime that make no bones about freedom, liberty, or democracy. Sadly that is all too believable.

  30. Endangering others is no civil or basic human right, as it infringes on their own inalienable rights to life, liberty and pursuits of happiness. Contrary to frustrated egocentrics, impairing the actual rights of others is not an infringement of any verifiable right, and failure to eat a cheeseburger in public, the health and safety of workers be damned, is not an impairment of liberty. Calm down and stay alive.

    1. It’s not ‘others’ responsibility to protect YOU. You have the right to protect yourself; you’re not *entitled* to the enslavement of others.

      1. I love it when one of you people’s random brain farts obliterates entire categories of laws and legal theory, such as the concept of negligence.

        1. Under which legal theory of negligence does failing to wear a cloth mask to prevent the spread of a respiratory virus impart liability? Take your time.

          1. I was specifically objecting to the claim that people are under no obligation to care about the health and safety of other people. It’s just not true. You don’t get to choose whether to feed your children, and you don’t get to infect other people with disease. Willful negligence is a heinous crime.

            But nobody’s going to prison for not wearing a mask so you guys can stop calling it slavery.

            1. USC $123542356145223.12`45316512
              Anyone caught NOT “caring about the health and safety of other people” will be fined $40K and get a life-sentence in jail because PEOPLE CAN’T TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES! lol…

              The POWER to ENSLAVE = HEALTH? Never-mind the 40-acre field of straw-men you just pitched (off-topic) the premise of criminal negligence would require intent in any sense of justice.

    2. Failing to wear a functionally useless cloth mask with pores 2 orders of magnitude larger than a respiratory virus when you have no symptoms of illness is not endangering others. By your retarded theory of liability 70% of the country has been violating the rights of others every year for the better part of a century by failing t get the flu jab. Your neuroses are not anyone else’s problem. Go fuck yourself.

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  32. Vote extremists out of office …only if you can account for viable alternatives =)

    We had tornado and fire drills for this sort of stuff in school, but the masses aren’t used to being the cattle at the end of the prod. I wonder why?

    If restaurants want to serve people indoors, they can partition booths and serve trays through windows like at motels or movie theaters. Whichever restaurant figures this one first out could be packed. I presume that if your restaurant were set up like a drive-in theater, that you’d be already fixed! Vendors could be selling car comfort interior dining sets next, reinstallable back seats, and push the front seats back a few feet — voilà!

    People don’t have to become authoritarians simply to oppose the loose reins of democracy. Representative diplomacy can hope to do better. I fancy if free marketeers had their way, they would sell amazing products that would nullify the regulations and let people mingle without a squirt.

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  34. The Civicus report is nonsense. “Civicus rating emphasizes militarized tactics and mass arrests in response to the Black Lives Matter protests that erupted this year.” What mass arrests? The spineless police let them burn and loot at will. I wish there had been mass arrests which is the proper response to mass criminality. All because you are mad about something does mean you get to steal and destroy other people’s property. And as for the conditions for journalists, you’d better find some first. The only journalists I saw being assaulted and threatened were those reporting from right leaning news outlets at the hands of leftist ‘protesters.’ This was yet another thing the leftist media chose to ignore completely along with Hunter Biden’s laptop, Joe’s senility and Rep. Swalwell bedding the Chinese agent who helped him get elected.

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  36. What is amazing is that so many meekly submitted; the “erosion of freedom” has to have been going on for years to culminate in so much unquestioning compliance.

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