Many have strayed far away from the ideals of individual rights and personal freedom upon which our society is based.
Politicians love power, and love to grab more of it.
While there are exceptions to this, it’s usually wise to assume that any given politician won’t hesitate to gain more power at the expense of those they ‘serve.’
None of that is a real surprise, and it’s why the most successful Western nations built systems where power is diffused, whether through the division between executive, legislative, and judicial power, and/or decentralization, with various jurisdictions possessing power to prevent power from being overly concentrated in just a few people.
Most importantly, the recognition of individual rights and personal freedoms in Western nations ensured that the power of government was limited in a way that would prevent the horrendous abuses that occurred in communist & fascist states.
While the Western democracies have not always lived up to the values of individual rights and personal freedoms, the mere impact of trying to adhere somewhat to that framework led to the flourishing of both freedom and creativity that has helped make countries like Canada, the US, the UK, and more among the wealthiest and most successful nations on Earth.
And, when politicians sought to abuse their power, they usually faced a stern backlash and resistance which dissuaded power-hungry individuals from going as far as they would have otherwise.
That tension, between a freedom-loving citizenry and power-hungry politicians is about as good as it gets in terms of governance.
But now, even that low bar seems out of reach.
Demanding less freedom?
As some provinces – notably Alberta – and other jurisdictions around the world emerge from lockdowns and restrictions and begin going back to normal, there is a stunning and disturbing response from many people:
A demand for less freedom.
Yes, rather than be happy that politicians are reducing restrictions and seeking to bring things back to normal, we are seeing people complain, and even protest against the end of draconian restrictions.
Many are going even further, not only criticizing the end of restrictions but also calling for state-controlled vaccine-passports.
“Almost always, the word ‘untouchables’ is associated with the system of institutionalized discrimination along caste lines in the Indian subcontinent that was practiced primarily (but not exclusively) in the Hindu society. What is less commonly recalled, however, is that the same kind of physical avoidance and banishment of individuals from society for medical issues is also a recurring phenomenon in human history. As medical science progressed, though, it became possible for people to shed the fear of becoming afflicted with an incurable / debilitating / serious disease via transmission by those having the disease. In a nutshell, this change was the result of confidence.
Fear is the opposite of confidence. Therefore, when an epidemic causes widespread fear, it doesn’t take much time for many people to start advocating for the introduction of ‘medical untouchability’. For politicians who seek to remain in power on the basis of fear, it is quite natural to leverage any fear-inducing event to their advantage. One added bonus here is that any such exercise results in dividing people into different camps, which makes the citizenry more amenable to manipulation, and thence control. A vaccine passport is, thus, a stone that kills two birds at once.”
What makes all of this so deeply disturbing however is that it’s not only politicians who are seeking to create this divide – though they certainly are.
Many citizens as well are casting about for a place to offload their fear and anger, and have decided to make unvaccinated individuals the source of their negative feelings.
As history shows, when a society is divided, and citizens simultaneously demand less freedom while directing increasing anger towards a specific group, bad things happen.
The irony is that many of those who have fallen into these dangerous historical patterns are those who see themselves as the most immune (pun intended) to any kind of hateful attitude.
It’s like the response to advertising: The more you think you it doesn’t impact you the more easily influenced you become.
Thus, those who see themselves as ‘pure’ and ‘progressive’ and ‘woke’ feel psychologically liberated to direct anger at those who are the ‘opposite’ of all the things they feel are ‘good.’
Forgetting why freedom matters
It may simply be that we are so far removed from world war and open ideological conflict that people have forgotten that while freedom certainly has a price – that price is far less than the alternative.
Valuing personal freedom over state power was the triumph of the 20th century, a century in which hundreds of millions of people died in a battle between capitalist democracies, fascism, and communism, through World War 2 and the Cold War.
Unfortunately, while this is a new century, human nature remains the same, and the desire to be ‘liberated’ from responsibility and place control in an all-powerful state that will punish the ‘bad people’ remains a powerful psychological motivator.
Further, many Communists have simply rebranded and present their ideas in new, politically-correct guises like Critical Race Theory, and the ‘woke’ effort to demoralize those who support the values of Western capitalist democracies.
As a result, many have forgotten why freedom matters, and history sadly shows that the process of remembering the importance of freedom is often far longer and far more brutal than any of us could imagine.
But nothing is inevitable.
Many people still retain a sense of justice, and a love of freedom, even as it is temporarily submerged beneath an ocean of fear.
The more people caught in the fear mindset see people like us speaking up in favour of freedom, and reminding our country of the values upon which we are based, the more they will hopefully wake up from a fear-induced nightmare and regain their bearings and their understanding of why freedom is so essential.
Photo – YouTube