Here’s an extraordinary article from a Guardian regular:
The problem was that we were intoxicated with an idea of individual freedom. With hindsight, that understanding of freedom was so impoverished that it amounted to little more than a greedy egotism of doing whatever you wanted whenever. We understood freedom largely in terms of shopping and mobility (we were restless, and liked travel of all kinds). The idea that the most precious freedom of all was freedom from fear gained force much later. I don’t blame the politicians as much as all of our collective madness. …
Fear in the end was the only mechanism that was able to cut through the complacency and force the cultural change, the political pressure and the global cooperation necessary. We are all haunted by the fact that human beings were unable to use the benefits of our own intelligence – we had the knowledge – to avert disaster; that fact has generated a terrible self-loathing. In the end it was catastrophes, the great floods and eventually the loss of London and the depression, that prompted change. But, as you would point out, by then it was too late for the millions who died in Africa’s drought years and in their terrible great exodus in the 2020s. No one can think back to those years of barricaded Mediterranean ports and boats sinking under their starving freight without an awful shudder of shame.
To sum up: liberty is dangerous, ingenuity is illusory, fear is the savior. I have never seen anything that so deserves the label Orwellian.