But of course, that’s not how it works.
A fundamental aspect of life is that each of us can only truly see the world through our own eyes.
While we can empathize with others, and gain an understanding of how others think and feel, our perspective remains our own.
This is notable because it means that even those who claim to be acting ‘for the good of others’ are still acting within their perception of what is good for others.
We see this in how movements that pertain to be all about ‘saving everyone’ or ‘making everything equal’, tend to be the most destructive, since people feel so confident that they are avoiding ‘selfishness’ that they will go to any lengths imaginable to impose their will on others for the ‘greater good.’
This insight is a key reason why decentralization of power is so important.
Letting each individual decide what is in their own good, and ensuring that a few people don’t gain the power to make those decisions for the rest of us ends up leading to a freer, more innovative, and more prosperous society.
Decentralization also leads to a safer society (ironically, given how it is demonized as ‘dangerous’ by statists) since the most horrific genocides, wars, and other crimes against humanity have been perpetrated by centralized governments, particularly the highly-centralized Communist and Fascist states of the 20th century.
For example, if China was a highly decentralized place, the ongoing genocide and oppression of the Uyghurs simply wouldn’t be possible.
Those kinds of horrific actions are only able to occur in places where the central government exercises an immense amount of power backed up by threats of violence, social ostracism, financial ruin, or in the case of China, all three.
The corruption of journalism
This brings us to a consideration of what has happened with journalism in Canada.
While many journalists consider themselves ‘other focused’ rather than self-interested, the reality is that – like everyone else – journalists look out for their own interests much of the time.
Chiefly, their financial interests.
This is a key reason why the Trudeau Liberals have been so effective at turning large portions of the establishment press into an extension of government propagandists:
They have lined up the financial interests of many media organizations with the political interests of the Liberal government.
If the Liberals keep getting re-elected, the establishment press gets more money.
More government ad revenue.
More direct funding through ‘media bailouts’.
And of course, CBC continues to get more and more bloated, with more of our taxpayer dollars taken away and given to the network no matter how bad their ratings get.
The Liberals are shrewdly taking advantage of the fact that the more they make the media dependent on government funding, the more the media will support the current government and seek to keep it in power.
Thus, it’s no wonder that much of the media now spends more time attacking the opposition, rather than focusing on the government.
By lining up the self-interest of the media with their own interests, the Trudeau Liberals have co-opted, and corrupted much of the press.
Freedom & self-interest
Now, we consider the issue of freedom & self-interest.
Over the past year-and-a-half, we’ve watched governments severely restrict freedom, even – in some cases – imposing restrictions they had previously claimed were illegal.
As this took place, many people cheered on those restrictions.
We have even seen the ugliness of people gleefully enjoying watching others lose their jobs and be punished by the government.
This is quite disturbing, in part because it mimics the kind of behaviour that helps authoritarian regimes flourish.
We read of how – in authoritarian states – people would report on others, or cheer the imprisonment/punishment of others, in the vain hope that they could secure their own relative freedom by doing so.
Some even closely identified with the government, gaining a sense of power that masked the submissiveness and powerlessness of their situation. For some, it is easier to identify with a ruthless force, than it is to admit that you are at the whim of that force.
With all of that in mind, let’s consider the following Tweet:
— Laura Stone (@l_stone) October 21, 2021
And then, this great response by @punditclass:
“Narrator: In that moment she realised her ability to travel and participate in society rested entirely upon government IT support #cdnpoli”
— Pundit Class (@punditclass) October 21, 2021
Yes, this is indeed what happens when the government severely restricts our freedom:
Soon, your freedom will no longer be secure.
Unfortunately, the inability of many to empathize with those they disagree with has led to widespread ignorance.
Many seem to think that everyone else will lose their freedoms, but they will get to keep theirs.
Or, that ‘only bad people’ will lose their freedom.
Or, that the freedoms that are lost aren’t ‘really important’ anyway.
But, as we saw in the Tweet above, sooner or later the realization dawns that a government powerful enough to take the freedom of ‘others’ will also take away your freedom.
And, given that so many people have gone along with this, the power of the government is indeed immense.
Thus, a government-run website being down can have the effect of rendering one unable to travel.
For those who ‘did everything the government asked,’ and find themselves still locked out of the freedom they thought they had, it must be quite the wake up call.
But, will people really wake up?
Rather than realize that the best thing to secure our own freedom is for our government to be highly decentralized, the identification with the government and ‘doing our part’ is still strong in many people. Thus, they appeal to the current system to help, without realizing the current system is the problem.
That’s why, to really pushback against the rise of centralization and authoritarianism, it is essential to promote decentralization as the alternative, not merely hope for a different face to be put on the same corrupt and broken system.
Putting our faith in any one politician or party will only continue to perpetuate the cycle of hope & betrayal that comes with expecting people to be anything other than focused on using powerful centralized systems to further their own interests at our expense.