New Brunswick’s ‘Winter Action Plan’ Is Another Example Of People Letting Fear Turn Them Into Authoritarians

Every concession to fear and control leads us in a more dangerous direction.

New Brunswick is led by a ‘Progressive Conservative’ government.

However, as we’ve seen over the past year-and-a-half, just because a party has ‘conservative’ in their name doesn’t mean they will actually defend the principle of individual liberty.

Rather, governments of all partisan stripes across Canada have been willing to impose draconian restrictions on freedoms and expand the power of the state, right down to telling people how many people they can have in their homes, whether they can open their businesses or not, and what freedoms they are ‘allowed’ to have if they do what the government tells them.

When push comes to shove, all those governments have given in to the fear-based authoritarian impulse, rather than take a stand in defense of individual rights.

Now, the aforementioned ‘Progressive Conservative’ government has decided that unvaccinated individuals can be banned not only from restaurants and theatres, but also grocery stores, as reported by True North:

“Beginning Saturday, people in New Brunswick who do not show proof of full vaccination can be barred from entering grocery stores to buy food.

The measure was announced as part of the province’s “winter action plan,” which allows any business, including grocery stores, the option of barring unvaccinated individuals.

According to Health Minister Dorothy Shephard, it comes as the province sees a “very concerning” rise in COVID infections over the last two weeks, particularly among unvaccinated Canadians.

The province reported 97 cases and 2 deaths since Thursday.”

The government says this is part of their plan to keep things at ‘level one’:

“The measures are not difficult,” Shephard said, adding “the power to keep us in level one is in our hands.”

Now, before I get to how horrible it is that unvaccinated people could be banned from having the ability to purchase food at grocery stores, let’s consider how statist and authoritarian it is that rights and freedoms are dependent upon ‘levels’ set by politicians.

That kind of central planning and authoritarian control has no place in a country or province that is supposedly ‘free.’

As we can intuitively understand, if your ‘rights’ are dependent upon whether an arbitrary target set by a politician has been met, then you don’t have those rights at all.

Conspiracy theories become reality

When governments first began discussions about ‘encouraging’ people to become vaccinated, talk of ‘mandates’ or draconian restrictions on the freedoms of the unvaccinated were considered as ‘conspiracy theories.’

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said vaccine passports would violate the Alberta Health Act and would be illegal for the government to impose, and then later imposed them.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford opposed vaccine passports saying he didn’t want a ‘split society,’ and then later imposed a vaccine passport system.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada wasn’t a country that mandated vaccination, and then imposed national vaccine passports and pushed mandates on the public service.

So, it seems that nearly everything that is once dismissed as a conspiracy theory ends up becoming reality.

Ironically, this is how the entire crisis began. The same politicians now taking away our freedoms and splitting our society apart were the ones who dismissed the virus entirely at the beginning, refusing to shut down flights from China and claiming the virus was low-risk. They also demonized those who took it seriously as ‘racist’ for their concern about what was taking place in China.

When the virus could have potentially been contained, those in power did nothing. Now that it’s endemic (and not the world-ender that was initially feared), they are destroying our economies and taking away our freedoms.

Fear is the mind-killer

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
– Frank Herbert, Dune

The above quote is certainly applicable to the world today, with governments seeking to use and exploit fear in order to expand their power.

Governments love to divide and conquer, turning the populace against each other to ensure that anger isn’t directed towards those who in power.

Fear, which is used to generate distrust and hatred, is the favourite tool of power-hungry politicians.

Remember, at the start of the pandemic those in power did everything possible to ensure that Canadians weren’t angry at the Chinese Communist Party, yet they are now encouraging us to be angry towards each other.

In particular, they want Canadians to blame ‘the unvaccinated’ for ongoing lockdowns and restrictions, rather than pin blame where it belongs – on the politicians and governments who impose those restrictions.

Also, isn’t it amazing how attitudes towards pharmaceutical companies – who were largely loathed and distrusted by much of the public – have changed so dramatically?

What this demonstrates is that fear makes our minds incredibly malleable and susceptible to appeals from ‘authority’ figures, leading unscrupulous politicians and government officials to use fear in order to reshape our minds in such a way that we go against our own values and principles. This is something the Milgram experiments demonstrated to a disturbing degree:

“Too often, orders from people with positional power can overrule individual judgment. Psychologist Stanley Milgram’s landmark study showed how people mindlessly obeyed an authority figure. They followed his commands to administer potentially fatal shocks to a person in the next room whenever he gave a wrong answer to a test question. Despite the victim’s cries of pain, pleas to stop, and complaints about his heart condition, the vast majority (82.5%) of research participants obeyed the experimenter. While hearing the screams from the person next door, these participants kept pushing the button to deliver severe shocks increasing to the level of 450 volts. Milgram (1974) concluded that most people will follow an authority figure’s commands because our culture reinforces us for obedience.”

Critical thinking, the antidote to being manipulated by fear

Instead of allowing fear to lock our minds in place, make us hateful towards others and deferential to government authority, we must first allow ourselves to feel the initial pang of fear and then move beyond it, in order to preserve our ability to think critically and think for ourselves.

Critical thinking is our best antidote to fear, and we will only be able to regain our rights and freedoms if we remember the value of being independent minded in the face of societal pressure and manipulation.

Spencer Fernando

Photo – YouTube

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