The COVID-19 Pandemic Was a Catastrophe for Human Freedom


The libertarian Cato Institute has published the latest Human Freedom Index. It shows how individual liberty is affected when the government has the power to take it away.

It is not a conspiracy theory for me to declare unambiguously that some of my personal freedom has been lost as a result of government actions during the pandemic. All evidence points to this.

This is because many left-leaning people celebrate the loss of personal liberty. People are more easily controlled if they have less personal freedom.

“In 2020, 94% of the world’s population experienced a decrease in freedom compared with the previous year,” Cato’s Ian Vasquez wrote last week. The Cato Institute and Fraser Institute released the annual Human Freedom Index today. It documents how the Covid-19 epidemic was a disaster for human freedom.

The downward spiral of freedom was only made worse by the pandemic. Vasquez noted that the “vast majority” of the world’s population (83%), has experienced a decline in freedom “since 2008”, and that this was “a troubling trend that began even before the COVID-19 pandemic, its social and political consequences.”


Human Freedom Index scholars compiled a world rating in 2007. It reached a peak of 7.33 in 2007. Since then, it has fallen in fits and starts. It plunged after the emergence of COVID-19, and most importantly, the political responses to this virus.

The United States was in the bottom 10 of the list long before 2020. It slipped seven more places to 23rd place in the most recent edition. Canada dropped six places to 13, and this was before the Trudeau government used the financial system against Freedom Convoy protesters. North America’s prospects are not good with Mexico dropping three places to 98.

According to the index, “The average human freedom rating of the 165 jurisdictions was 7.03 in 2019, and 6.81 in 2020.” According to the index, “Most areas were affected by freedom falling, including significant declines of rule of law, freedom of movement, expression, and association, as well as freedom of trade.” According to this coverage, 94.3 percent of the world’s population resides in countries that experienced a decline in freedom between 2019 and 2020. There were 148 areas that had their ratings decrease while 16 improved.

The United States had fallen out of the top ten most free nations and the 2020 index showed America falling seven places to #23.

According to the index, Switzerland, New Zealand, and Estonia are the top ten most free nations.

Cato scholars use “83 indicators” to measure personal, civic, and economic freedom. These are not the politicians telling us what they are giving.

The authors explain that freedom in our usage is a social concept that recognizes dignity and is free from coercive constraint. “Freedom” means that individuals can live their lives however they want, provided they respect the rights of others.

The difference between right and left in the U.S. is the “absence of coercive restriction”. Lockdowns being “for our own benefit” doesn’t make them right. This is especially true when we consider that even after learning that lockdowns, coercive mandates for masks, and forced business closings had little effect on COVID spread, we were still forced to use them.

I hope that the Republican Congress will take note of the report and pass laws to limit the government’s ability to influence our lives.