Ian Vásquez: COVID Accelerated the Global Decline in Human Freedom

Overall human freedom peaked in 2007, according to the Cato Institute, and governments' COVID response merely exacerbated the trend toward a radically less-free planet.


The good news is that President Joe Biden has officially signed legislation declaring the end of "the national emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic." The bad news? Governmental responses to the pandemic were "a catastrophe for human freedom" all over the globe, says the Cato Institute's Ian Vásquez.

He's the lead author of Cato's annual Human Freedom Index, which tracks personal, civil, and economic freedom in 165 countries. The latest version uses data through 2020, and Vásquez says that year saw the single-greatest drop in freedom in the past two decades.

In this podcast version of our weekly The Reason Livestream, my colleague Zach Weissmueller and I get into the specifics with Vásquez about how Covid ran roughshod over freedom everywhere from Armenia to Zimbabwe—including the United States, which dropped down seven slots and out of the top 20 freest countries. Worse still, Vásquez says overall human freedom peaked in 2007, so COVID has merely exacerbated the trend toward a radically less-free planet.

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