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Freedom and Rights in Relation to COVID-19

From a legal point of view, freedom is the possibility of a certain human behavior enshrined in law, from the point of view of politics – the absence of interference or hindrances. In philosophy, it is considered that freedom is the possibility of an individual expressing his will. True freedom is always limited by external factors (laws, circumstances, other people) and internal (moral principles, duty, conscience) (Campbell 86). Without the protection and restriction of laws, freedom often leads to the oppression of the strong over the weak and slavery. However, having complete economic and social freedom, USA citizens have taken their freedoms for granted, which now becomes evident as the government limits the natural rights amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The new coronavirus infection began to spread very quickly around the world. In the first half of January 2020, it became known that it had gone beyond China; cases of the disease were recorded in other countries of the world (Farina and Lavazza). The crucial role of the governmental authorities became evident in this scenario, as these officials were tasked with preserving the nation’s health and governing the people’s safety (Giones et al.). In this regard, the US government decided to issue a decree on a two-week quarantine, where people were not allowed to leave the house without an important need. On the one hand, this is the intersection of fundamental human rights, but on the other hand, the government tried to protect citizens from disease.

During the coronavirus pandemic, a mask regime and mandatory vaccination were introduced almost all over the world, limiting the freedoms of numerous people. It is possible that our founders had not expected our natural rights to be assailed in this way, hoping that even in times of crisis, these fundamental notions would be preserved (Campbell 86). Rather than relying on governmental support, society should understand its responsibility during such challenging times (Farina and Lavazza). From this perspective, the communities fulfilling their social duties and properly following the medical requirements could have diminished the impact of the COVID-19 virus.

Nevertheless, there is a significant controversy to be addressed when discussing this topic. While freedom of association and movement allow individuals to freely travel and socialize, they also impede the resolution of the pandemic by transmitting the virus (Farina and Lavazza). In this regard, when these freedoms are not used properly, they can adversely affect the welfare of other citizens due to the contagious nature of COVID-19. Although infected individuals still possess the natural rights to move and socialize, such practices result in higher rates of infection and disease spread, reducing the well-being of numerous populations.

Given the present controversy, it is critical to establish mitigation pathways. As such, the Federal Government is responsible for influencing the economic situation through monetary and fiscal policy, which refers to decisions regarding the overall level of public procurement or taxes (Giones et al.). Since monetary and fiscal policies can impact the amount of aggregate demand, the government sometimes uses its tools in an attempt to stabilize the economy. Despite the introduction of credit holidays, many entrepreneurs were still forced to pay on loans and could not fulfill their credit obligations (Giones et al.). In addition, rarely did any companies own premises, most of them were forced to rent space used in commercial activities (Farina and Lavazza). Subsequently emerged the inability to fulfill obligations to pay utility bills, salaries to employees, and insurance premiums, which put a tremendous financial toll on the entrepreneurs.

However, as small and medium-sized businesses largely support the country’s economy, they should receive at least partial compensation for income lost due to government isolation measures. Only a few such firms can survive without earnings until the end of restrictive measures (Giones et al.). Besides, it is unknown how much time the organizations will need to recover from the negative consequences of the prohibitions. Therefore, the businesses should be offered compensation, for example, similar to the insurance paid after a natural disaster. Otherwise, the business will be under the burden of additional debts, significantly slowing down the economic recovery.

Despite the relatively high degree of adaptability inherent in small business entities, in crises, entire groups of economic entities, especially in certain industries and the field of small business, become very vulnerable. In these cases, only systemically focused assistance of governmental structures and correct tools can contribute to the preservation of business and provide a basis for its further development. When the Federal Government forcefully restricts a business from functioning, even during a public emergency, the situation becomes similar to eminent domain. Although the government attempts to preserve public safety, it also impedes the affected companies’ growth, leading to bankruptcy and economic failure (Giones et al.). It could be proposed that the Founders did not intend for the government entities to yield such powers, as they directly negate the freedoms possessed by the country’s citizens.

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In conclusion, it is important to note that the coronavirus pandemic is inextricably linked with forced human restrictions. Restrictions apply to individuals and legal entities: for example, small and medium-sized businesses. The state supports and helps by issuing decrees and orders on proper behavior during a crisis. On the one hand, capitalism defends the rights and freedoms of the individual before the interests of national states and supranational communities. On the other hand, the state also seeks to protect the individual as a citizen, not a consumer, from the power of the market.

Works Cited

Campbell, Jud. “Republicanism and Natural Rights at the Founding.” Constitutional Commentary, vol. 32, no. 1, 2017, p. 85–112.

Farina, Mirko, and Andrea Lavazza. “The Meaning of Freedom after Covid-19.” History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, vol. 43, no. 1, 2021. Web.

Giones, Ferran, et al. “Revising Entrepreneurial Action in Response to Exogenous Shocks: Considering the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Journal of Business Venturing Insights, vol. 14, 2020. Web.

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