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Freedom Day

Our liberty is worth fighting for

Hollie Adams/Getty Images

Boris Johnson may have confirmed 19 July as Freedom Day, but, depressingly, “many people don’t seem to want restrictions to end”, says Sherelle Jacobs in The Daily Telegraph. The philosopher Isaiah Berlin wrestled with this problem in the 1950s, concluding that certain people “adapt to unfree situations by no longer desiring their own autonomy”. The result for us will be a nasty culture war between “freedom lovers”, who hope we will learn to live with the virus, and those who want a “zero-Covid utopia”. And it’s going to be fought over face masks, which will become “a tribal signal”.

Some of us seem to feel a “psychological craving” to carry on the coronavirus emergency. Hard-left zero-Covid campaigners are teaming up with the unions and accusing Health Secretary Sajid Javid of creating “coronavirus variant factories”. True, the future “is as frightening as it is exhilarating”. As furlough ends, some of the young who’ll soon be “queuing for nightclubs will also end up queuing for the dole”. But Boris Johnson must counter his critics’ “righteous dismay” by making a moral case for individual liberty – not to mention ending his out-of-control “hypersocialist” spending. Why? Because Freedom Day is just the beginning of the battle for personal freedom. Many will shudder at the thought of another culture war, but “some things are worth fighting for”.

Read the full article here (paywall).