Mighty tech and legal minds unite
In an unlikely alliance, tech billionaire Elon Musk has thrown his support behind former Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption’s critique of the UK government’s lockdown rules.
The outspoken ex-judge penned an article in which he argues the lockdown is “with without doubt the greatest interference with personal liberty in our history” and the decision to end it is “purely political” — not scientific.
The article, published over the weekend in the Daily Mail, received an unlikely supporter in the form of Tesla boss Musk, who retweeted the piece to his 33 million followers along with the line, “Well said, Lord Sumption, well said!”
Well said, Lord Sumption, well said! https://t.co/cfCVEaZ5cM
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 3, 2020
Seventy-one-year-old Sumption, who stepped down from the top bench in 2018, addresses the “real issues” facing the government and its loosening of the restrictions, including the adverse health consequences of the lockdown itself, the number of people who would have died anyway from underlying clinical conditions, even without COVID-19, as well as the number of deaths we are prepared to accept in order to “preserve other things that we value”.
Once dubbed the ‘Brain of Britain’, Sumption goes on to claim that the “talk of compulsorily ‘shielding’ (locking up)” of the old and vulnerable is a “cruel mockery of basic human values”.
“A society in which the government can confine most of the population without controversy is not one in which civilised people would want to live, regardless of their answers to these questions. Is it worth it?”
“My own answer is no,” Sumption says. “Guidance is fine. Voluntary self-isolation is fine, and strongly advisable for the more vulnerable. Most of them will do it by choice. But coercion is not fine. There is no moral or principled justification for it.”