CIS in conjunction with the Melbourne-based Robert Menzies Institute hosted a lecture by Lord Jonathan Sumption, a former justice on Britain’s Supreme Court and medieval historian, discussing the rule of law in a time of crisis.
Throughout the 2020-21 Covid pandemic, Lord Sumption had been an outspoken critic of the “despotic and irrational” policies surrounding lockdowns and mask mandates that had “deprived everyone of what makes life worth living” and “thrown science out the window”. He said: “Sometimes the best thing you can do with despotic laws is to ignore them.” (Lord Sumption)
According to Lord Sumption “The British state exercised coercive powers over its citizens on a scale never previously attempted… The ease with which people could be terrorised into surrendering basic freedoms which are fundamental to our existence came as a shock to me in March 2020. I do not doubt the seriousness of the epidemic, but I believe that history will look back on the measures taken to contain it as a monument of collective hysteria.”