Thursday, May 23, 2024


“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.”

— William Wilberforce


ACLU on Preserving Personal Liberties During Disease Epidemics

green leaves

American history contains vivid reminders that grafting the values of law enforcement and national security onto public health is both ineffective and dangerous.

Too often, fears aroused by disease and epidemics have justified abuses of state power. Highly discriminatory and forcible vaccination and quarantine measures adopted in response to outbreaks of the plague and smallpox over the past century have consistently accelerated rather than slowed the spread of disease, while fomenting public distrust and, in some cases, riots.

The lessons of history should be kept in mind whenever we are told by government officials that “tough,” liberty-limiting actions are needed to protect us from dangerous diseases.

— George J. Annas, Wendy K. Mariner and Wendy E. Parmet, ACLU



Annas GJ, Mariner WK, Parmet WE. Pandemic Preparedness: The Need for a Public Health—Not a Law Enforcement/National Security—Approach. American Civil Liberties Union January 2008.

7 Responses

  1. thank you for reminding us all that looking at history can bring valuable lessons. As outlined here it is uncertain that the rules such as stay at home orders put in place now (hopefully temporary) will be effective against any further spread (it is at the base even difficult to truly understand the extent of the spread of this virus as I feel on a daily basis that we are not given full and truthful information), but what is certain is that it will change our society, how? I am not sure and I hope it will be for the better, although I have some doubts. On my way to a doctor’s appointment today, it was rather unsettling to see the number of police cars in the otherwise rather empty streets, despite the fact that the county and town where I live had already put in place recommendations about social distancing and so on and for the most part many people have been following those recommendations, so why add law enforcement at every corner?

  2. What will happen when all those that have no income end up ousted from their home ? Not everyone has someone or something to fall back on.

  3. How have these measures actually accelerated the spread? (besides vaccine misfires) That assertion begs for a citation.

  4. Unfortunately the ACLU believes Mandatory Vaccination today is just fine. They are in complete agreement with the leftist Democratic agenda. They are not what they were before. Basically useless now.

    1. The state legislature and Governors mansion in the state I’m in are Republican held and have been for some time. They have mandatory vaccination laws on the books. Not sure what you’re saying about it being a conspiracy but both parties yern for total party control of the government and the masses.

  5. Yes, I am greatly concerned about the flagrant abuse of the Bill of Rights and our right to life, liberty and happiness as a result of the proclamations to supposedly protect us. They are actually harming many. How can this be allowed?

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