There is no such thing as freedom in its universality, only freedoms in their particulars. It may be that some freedoms are more basic to human existence than others, and that some, when realised, conflict with and undermine others. But which freedoms are more basic or important? Well, we will never agree on which is which. Most likely people would rather fight and go to war over the freedoms they themselves privilege against others. These they like to call “universal”. They say, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” Perhaps, but which freedoms? People say the introduction of a national security law will be the end of freedom in Hong Kong and therefore Hong Kong itself. That sounds deep at a rhetorical level but what does it even mean? Dozens arrested during Hong Kong national security law protest I agree the law will likely diminish, to an extent, freedoms of speech, assembly and the press, though not absolutely. But this is nothing exceptional. All such state security laws that have ever existed – and the United States has had more than two centuries of such laws – in democratic countries have diminished all those freedoms to a degree. The point is that those laws need to be applied judiciously, not whether Hong Kong should have such a law or not. Of course, we do, now more than ever! My hope for the new security law is that while it may affect those aforementioned freedoms, it will enhance others. One is freedom from anarchy and fear. ‘Beijing will not be deterred by opposition to Hong Kong security law’ Last year, because of all the mayhem and violent protests, people avoided going out. A people who are afraid to step out or get beaten are not free, even if they can shout from the rooftop “down with the government” and their news media can publish whatever subversive content they please. Another is freedom to make a decent living. Because of the deliberate “self-destruct together” campaign by the protest movement, many businesses are not just down but out. Effectively, our tourism and hospitality industries have been put on hold, if not left for dead, since last year. People have the right to work and open shops without having to worry about being firebombed. Lastly, freedom from foreign interference: I hope Hong Kong activists will now learn to negotiate and deal with mainlanders and mainland authorities, now that they can no longer consort with Western powers, especially the US, in a futile attempt to punish their own country.