Freedom – a gift from the government

Historically the idea in Western European societies has been that freedom exists between individuals. The state acts as a kind of guarantor of that freedom. And the state should only place limits on people’s freedom in as much as that is necessary to prevent them impinging on the freedom of others.

Now it seems that freedom is something which the state grants to people. This is a Guardian journalist explaining, in all innocence no doubt, that a new digital Covid pass system in Germany has been designed to make people freer:

The government also hopes once it is up and running, the scheme and the additional freedom it will give people, will encourage those still hesitant about getting vaccinated to finally do so.

The problem is the over-schooled and under-thinking modern corporate-safe work-ready graduate really does think that this is a case of a government giving people “additional freedom”. In reality of course this digital pass is a way of surveilling, controlling and dividing the population. It is about power. Not freedom.

Navalny – banned and Guardian reporting

Navalny’s anti-corruption foundation and political networks have been banned by court order.

Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation along with his political network, have been found by a court in Moscow, at the request of the prosecutor, to be violating Russia’s laws on extremism. The organisations have been banned. In a separate move a law has been passed in the State Duma which will prevent anyone who has been involved in an extremist organisation from participating in elections for a period of time. This move will prevent people who were involved in the now banned organisations from standing in the upcoming (Autumn) Parliamentary elections under a new banner. [1]

This is the Guardian’s report on the banning in Russia of Alexei Navalny’s organisations. Andrew Roth has certainly studied the argument of the defence. (Most likely he has been briefed by the defence). The argument is that the law on extremism requires that the offence be accompanied by violence or the threat of violence and in this case the prosecutor has not established that – or even, indeed, tried to.

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False choice between ‘freedom’ and lockdown

The debate on what the policy response to the Sars-Cov-2 epidemic should be continues to split people into two opposing camps. On the one hand the UK government seems now to be focussed on zero Covid. Overall deaths have been below the annual average for weeks now. Covid deaths per day are into single numbers (perhaps about what flu would normally be at this time of year?). As a result of the vaccines hospital admissions remain low and well, well, within capacity. But still there are significant restrictions – especially on International travel. On borders they are still pursuing the impossible goal of ‘keeping variants out’. Impossible, firstly, because variants can emerge internally and secondly because unless you 100% hermetically seal the border then variants will sneak in. So, right now, all that is happening is that hundreds of thousands of people are being inconvenienced for no rational purpose at all. (The select group of people in government, their contractors, the BBC and defence and major infrastructure workers who are exempt from quarantine are of course not inconvenienced).

The debate is sometimes framed as “lockdown” v. “let it rip”. “Let it rip” is usually expressed as “let it rip but protect the vulnerable”. The assumption underlying this way of framing the debate is that the solution, whatever it is, has to be something which is enforced from the top or doesn’t happen at all. Missing from this debate is the idea that individuals can regulate themselves.

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Lab leak – background reading

3 articles / interviews by credible mainstream scientists with relevant professional expertise and long track-records:

Nicholas Wade (former editor of Nature):

Dr. Richard H. Ebright, PhD, molecular biologist at Rutgers University:

Dr. Steven Carl Quay, MD, PhD – pharmaceutical entrepreneur:

All sorts of uncontested facts. Just one: the Chinese have sampled tens of thousands of animals to find Sars-Cov-2 and have drawn a blank. But with Sars-Cov-1 the zoonotic transmission animal was found within 4 months. [1] And then there were multiple confirmations. Nothing proves the lab leak – but the weight of evidence points very heavily in that direction.


  1. Wade gives 4 months. But the source may be contested. Let’s take a more conservative estimate: WHO was reporting the link to civets in January 2004. And Sars-Cov-1 started in February 2003 – so on this timeline about 11 months. So far for Sars-Cov-2 at least 15 months and no animal source identified. At least we can say that the longer this goes on with no intermediary species found the more unlikely is the zoonotic theory.