Universal conspiracy

In balancing fundamental rights with other no less fundamental goods, such as public health, the former can and must be sacrificed momentarily to the latter.

One of the many drawbacks of the (prolonged) pandemic is that it affects people's brains.

It comes to the point that, with regard to the application of basic health rules (masks, hygiene and removal), some citizens demand an end to these measures in the name of freedom, claiming that the State uses totalitarian methods. Those who argue in this way maintain that there is no scientific evidence that such measures stop the pandemic and that the State (Portuguese, French, German, Italian, etc.) intends to limit the freedom of citizens.

Hitchhiking these ideas there are groups that manifest themselves in the streets and in the media, but the majority express themselves in social networks. There is a more radical version of these points of view that goes through the path of conspiracy theory and fake news, but there is no possible discussion. It would be the same as giving change to those who believe that the Earth is flat.

In the scientific community, no one doubts that those three measures (and the vaccine, of course) are the only ones that can reduce contamination. Some may say that distance is essential and the rest are secondary measures. But nobody maintains that even these are negative or even totally ineffective.

On the other hand, because there would be practically all states and many of them old democracies, consolidated and functioning with respect for Human Rights, if they all collude, as if it were a universal conspiracy, to impose measures that limit freedom with the sole purpose of curbing the freedom of citizens and impose authoritarian situations?

The argument cannot resist the simple question raised above, which has no plausible answer. I grant that some democratic states have not always been cautious and demanding in the legal-constitutional framework of the measures they take. It seems reasonably evident that the circulation restrictions released last week among us should have been covered by the Declaration of State of Emergency, as happened in March / April.

But the measures aim at a clear and transparent end: to avoid contagions and to control the pandemic. And in the balance between fundamental rights and other no less fundamental goods, such as public health, the former can and must be sacrificed momentarily to the latter.

Portugal has, after all, been spared manifestations and movements of opinion contrary to masks and confinement. In fact, there has even prevailed a reasonable observance of the measures disclosed and in some cases the spontaneous adherence of citizens, despite the natural tiredness (already eight months ago) that the situation causes.

It is not, therefore, for lack of collaboration by Portuguese citizens in this endless struggle that we will fail to reach a good port.

The author writes according to the old spelling.


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