I came across this story via Twitter. Found it an interesting take from the usual loss of civil rights. The idea that a country’s immigration policy would include mandatory quarantine on arrival as the de facto procedure, would be a violation of a person’s civil rights. Not just a legit citizen, but anyone from the planet would be suspect of infection.

Between the two articles, I got to thinking about ‘civil rights’, a concept that has always existed in some form, but humbly enunciated in the American Bill of Rights.

Individuals and nation-states have a slightly different understanding of what a civil right is. To the individual, it’s freedom to (fill in the blank) when they want. To a government, it’s a balance between what the individual wants and the needs to maintain a stable, productive state.

The article suggests mandatory measures to prevent the spread of a disease. Protect the majority, overriding the individual’s right of movement.

The problem arises when the state ‘nickels and dimes’ the written laws, allowing them the ability to override freedoms in selected, dispersed cases. It’s only when a large mass of cases are identified that the press take note. Sometimes changes are made, but more often, the lawyers delay and obfuscate until public interest wanes.

The logical ideal is to assume individual rights trump other states rights. Unless that state right protects more than one individual. 

What was that line from the Star Trek movie when Spock dies? 

The Needs of the Many Outweigh the Needs of the Few?

PS: This screen grab from Twitter – they’re having a go at the birds already…