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When the pandemic was first confirmed, self-preservation instincts kicked in. In a global communication environment defined by the real-time free flow of information, fear spreads faster than any virus ever could. Combined with the fact that scientific knowledge of the virus was limited, the fear of infection eclipsed every other argument in the public debate. Naturally, the call to protect ourselves and others from infection was prioritised. It may be argued that the combination of fear, lack of information, and shallow moralising did nothing to help our societies deliberate or develop adequate public health policies.

On the contrary, downgrading dissenting voices prima facie suppressed public discussion and encouraged a continuous sense of panic in society. In this context, the authors—economist Velimir Šonje and political scientist Kristijan Kotarski—examine the external and internal factors placing pressure on the decision-making process and the very fundamental values that underlie liberal democracy in Europe.

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