Policy Compliance and Commitment Strains During the COVID-19 Pandemic


Justifiable civility was concerned not only with the justifications offered in support of democratic laws and regulations, but also with their possible consequences. Public explanation liberalism is not consequentialist; it bases the validity of political laws on their justifications and motives rather than their consequences. 

The probable or foreseeable consequences of a scheme, on the other hand, are also important to public justification. 


A policy that imposes undue "strains of loyalty" on individual people is not publicly justifiable; those that would be overburdened by the policy cannot be persuaded to support the policy and its rationale. 


While laws should be unbiased in terms of their rationale, not necessarily in terms of their implications, as Jonathan Quong points out, it's necessary to be explicit about what justificatory impartiality entails. Justificatory impartiality requires, but does not need, nondiscriminatory purpose. 

Many laws may follow the criterion of being non-discriminatory in nature, but they are plainly unjustifiable due to the disproportionate burdens they place on some people. 


Justificatory neutrality necessitates not only the avoidance of arbitrary intent, but also the consideration of the effect of a program on all persons involved. 


If we don't understand how a policy's costs and benefits can be allocated, we won't be able to think objectively. In addition to the state of non-discriminatory intent, impartial reasoning necessitates a condition similar to Rawls' "strains of loyalty." 

If I accept a program whose costs and benefits are allocated in such a manner that I wouldn't agree to put myself in the shoes of someone who would suffer the most as a result of the policy, I am not reasoning impartially. In this part, we look at the issue of "strains of commitment" in relation to COVID-19. 

We pay special attention to the fact that every society has social inequality, which can lead to some groups being disproportionately burdened by policies that tend to be public-spirited on the surface. 


This is an issue for many of the policies adopted by liberal democratic governments in reaction to COVID-19.


They seem to be public-spirited at first sight, in the sense that they want to save lives, advance the greater good of public health (which, as we've learned, helps preserve human rights and freedoms in the long run), and promote economic prosperity. 

However, it is undeniable that, no matter how well-intentioned in theory, such measures have had uneven impacts on various groups of people and placed undue pressures on others but not others in some ways. In this segment, we concentrate on the unjust pressures that such policies have put on people of different races, genders, and ages. 

Beyond the immediate consequences of COVID-19, one of the key implications of our study is that justifying civility necessitates lawmakers' awareness of the social and political circumstances that define their culture, as well as how the strategies they plan to enact can interfere with certain factors and yield those results. 

There is no such thing as a policy that has no consequences. When states pass legislation, such as on taxation, it is unavoidable that some people would be negatively affected rather than others. 

Similarly, it is undeniable that certain governments' implementation of lockout and stay-at-home directives during COVID-19 harmed some people and companies rather than others. This consequences are inextricably linked to the collective legitimacy of policies that place undue pressures on certain individuals and communities. 

As a result, such policies' probable or foreseeable effects and societal effect should be factored into their public rationale. This is also significant because such policies can intensify socioeconomic disparities, making them excessively burdensome for certain people.


You may also want to read more analysis about the COVID-19 Pandemic here.



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