Coronavirus And Leviathan

Edgardo Zablotsky

Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Chicago. Rector of the University of CEMA. Member of the National Academy of Education. Academic Counselor for Libertad y Progreso.

PERFIL – Last Monday the former Republican representative, Ron Paul, published an interesting note motivated by the massive march in Berlin on Saturday, in reaction to the restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus. In his words: “The fact is that Europeans are realizing that the quarantines did little or nothing to protect them from the virus, while causing economic catastrophe and incalculable human suffering,” to which he added that: “they probably looked around them and they realized that Sweden, which never closed its economy, did not fare worse than countries that have become open-air prisons. No wonder people start to get angry. But worst of all, they are watching the Leviathan government snatch every last bit of freedom.

Although Hobbes promoted the idea of ​​this absolute ruler (the Leviathan) in the 17th century, his theory today finds fertile ground in the pandemic. It is clear that there is value in authority because it offers us protection; But there is nothing free, to receive protection it is necessary to accept a certain degree of submission, of loss of our freedom.

To receive protection it is necessary to accept a certain degree of submission, of loss of our freedom

Uruguay and Sweden have chosen an alternative path, opting for the exercise of freedom with responsibility, to the detriment of States that day by day increasingly adopt characteristics of a modern Leviathan. What better example of this than Argentina.

On Monday we have learned of the Decree of Necessity and Urgency 641/2020, which in its art. 9, inc. 2 states that: “Social or family events in closed spaces and in people’s homes are prohibited, in all cases and whatever the number of participants, except for the cohabiting group. The violation of this rule must be reported by the intervening authority in order for the competent authority to determine if the crimes provided for in articles 205 were committed (it will be punished with imprisonment from six months to two years, whoever violates the measures adopted by the competent authorities, to prevent the introduction or spread of an epidemic) and 239 of the Penal Code. ” Imagine a better illustration of a Leviathan, difficult, but let’s examine another, unfortunately we have many to choose from.

On Friday, April 17, it was made public that the almost 500 thousand people over 70 years of age who lived in the CABA should obtain a permit to leave their homes, which would only be valid for the same day. When leaving, the person would have to carry their ID, which could be required by the police to check if it was really authorized. If you left without permission, you would be asked to return home. Fortunately, after various incidents, a judge declared the ban unconstitutional and the issue came to nothing.

The Leviathan once more. What country do we want? An Argentina governed by a modern Leviathan, whatever ideology it may be, or an Argentina where the exercise of freedom reigns, within a framework of individual responsibility? It is time for society to decide.