CYIL vol. 12 (2021)
martin šolc CYIL 12 (2021) do virtually anything they are capable of doing, while restrictions limit the freedom of others in a much narrower scope. The same applies, to a certain extent, to the prevention of long- term consequences of illness. While particular policies and decisions are definitely open to critical debate, it seems to be only logical that rules change in crises – precisely in order to save the original values and principles. This may even be true for wider political ideologies such as liberalism which has sometimes been seen as fading during the pandemic. 36 It remains outside of the scope of this paper to assess whether liberalism had to be diminished a bit to preserve some basic principles and values which permeate our legal and ethical normative systems, or whether it managed to include certain unorthodox approaches to save its fundamental values. In other words, we may understand the pandemic restrictions either as a compromise liberalism had to make, or simply as a temporary new balance between personal freedom and solidarity within the framework of liberalism. A more detailed political science analysis on the implications of the pandemic for liberalism, communitarianism, 37 and other ideologies would be very welcome. While liberalismmight (or might not) be threatened by the challenges posed by the pandemic, utilitarianism retains its position as a predominant theory of contemporary medical ethics and law. At the same time, deontological considerations keep limiting utilitarianism’s possible extreme outcomes, precisely as they have been doing for decades. Conclusion We have shown that the legal and ethical approach to the Covid-19 pandemic has been eclectic from an ethical perspective. It has been primarily based on a utilitarian theory with strong deontological limitations. The ethical-philosophical paradigm behind medical law has not significantly changed. The pandemic does not seem to be a dawn of a new era as much as an opportunity to further refine our understanding of values and principles we want to guide our policies and actions. It can also remind us of the fact that when a dramatic change of circumstances occurs, it may be necessary to change particular rules so that their aims and fundamental values are preserved. In this way, the strict containment measures might be understood simply as instruments to conserve the set of ethical principles we have been pursuing for a long time.
36 See for example KŘEPELKA, Filip. Právo pandemie covidu-19: náčrt celkového obrazu [Law of the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Sketch of the Whole Picture]. Časopis zdravotnického práva a bioetiky [Journal of Medical Law and Bioethics]. (2020, Vol. 10, No. 2), p. 61. 37 For a very brief outline of the role of communitarianism in the pandemic, see RAGHUVANSHI, Prakhar. Communitarianism: A Saviour in Times of nCOVID19. SSC Online. (30 April 2020.)
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