Freedom, security, and the COVID-19 pandemic

Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy (forthcoming)
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Freedom and security are often portrayed as things that have to be traded off against one another, but this view does not capture the full complexity of the freedom-security relationship. Rather, there seem to be four different ways in which freedom and security connect to each other: freedom can come at the cost of security, security can come at the cost of freedom, freedom can work to the benefit of security, and security can work to the benefit of freedom. This paper analyses each of these connections in turn. It shows that particular understandings of freedom can help us to see particular connections between freedom and security. The practical examples used to illustrate these connections are drawn from the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be suggested that, in the face of challenges such as this one, taking into account all four connections between freedom and security can ultimately help decision-makers in upholding both.

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Josette Daemen
Leiden University


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