Are We Free By Right or Not?

The COVID-19 response has raised questions regarding freedom in Western societies that we thought a few years ago were settled. Is freedom something we are allowed, or granted? Or is it something we are born with, which can therefore only be removed? What is the status, now or in the future, of a child born into slavery, or a child born into a camp in Xinjiang or North Korea, or a child born into a digitized, centrally managed society of some future Western dystopia?


The temptation through COVID-19 has been to use science or evidence to oppose the removal of our rights. Why should a college student be subject to a vaccine mandate if they already have post-infection immunity, or an unvaccinated person have travel restricted when the vaccinated have higher infection rates? Such approaches are tempting to embrace, as they’re based on logic and thus hard to refute. But they serve those who would remove freedom by reinforcing the fundamental requirements they need to justify their tyranny.

They reinforce the tyrant’s requirement that freedom is granted based on actions or status, not the simple reality of one’s birth.

We are free, or we are not. Science and logic cannot be the arbiters of that freedom.

The COVID-19 Crisis Should Awaken, Not Enslave Us

COVID-19 vaccine mandates have highlighted society’s creeping acceptance of anchoring basic human rights to medical status. Like many public health physicians, I accepted, even supported, mandating measles vaccination for school entry. Measles does, after all, kill many globally. I was also fine with hepatitis B vaccination for my workplace. Both vaccines are generally considered safe, and very effective in blocking the target disease. My medical training emphasized that those who were anti-vaccination were equivalent to flat-earthers.

The COVID-19 public health response stepped this up, requiring injections as a prerequisite for both adults and children to participate in normal community activities. “Vaccination status” governed “access” to rights considered fundamental under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—including the right to work, travel, socialize, and access education. It has even determined the right to access health care. Medical coercion has emerged from the shadows into the mainstream of public health.