Democracy Will Survive Pandemic: Atlantic

With the Covid-19 pandemic democratic and authoritarian governments alike shut down economies and cracked down on public activities. To protect public health, large majorities in democracies acquiesce on surveillance and other controls that were once unthinkable. “Immunity certificates, mass testing, government surveillance, and a volunteer army of contract-tracing officials are no longer the policies of a police state, but ones to restore basic freedoms,” writes Tom McTague for the Atlantic. His essay focuses on Great Britain, which lacks a single constitution detailing powers and checks on that power. Enforcement of new powers varies widely, but McTague warns that erosion of freedoms is often gradual, in response to such crises. Worries emerge that such governments will retain such powers long after the pandemic subsides. While McTague suggests democracies are stronger than many assume, citizens embrace and develop norms over time and there is danger that some parts of society – based on age, race, religion or other factors – may be granted more freedoms than others. Still leaders cannot risk defying pubic expectations for reasonable protection against the disease and economic welfare. Extreme measures lacking decency and concern for the common good invite discontent and unrest, and as McTague puts it, consent for authority melts away. – YaleGlobal

Democracy Will Survive Pandemic: Atlantic

To combat the coronavirus, governments have grown more powerful, balancing health versus jobs; worries emerge about liberty and democratic norms
Tom McTague
Thursday, May 14, 2020

Read the article from The Atlantic about government power and democracy during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tom McTague is a London-based staff writer at The Atlantic, and co-author of Betting the House: The Inside Story of the 2017 Election.

Health vs Economy in Two Democracies  US  Confirmed cases: 1.3 million+   Case fatality rate: 6.4% Unemployment rate: 14%. UK Confirmed cases: 234,000+   Case fatality rate: 14%  Unemployment rate: 9%
Priorities: Citizens in democracies can tilt the scales on economic well-being verus health during the Covid-19 pandemic; testing availability varies, and analysts suggest the confirmed cases are higher and the fatality rate much lower (Source: Data, Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering; US and UK websites; image, FreePik)

TheAtlantic.com Copyright (c) 2020 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All Rights Reserved.

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