Supporting individual freedom only for those we agree with is missing the point entirely.
In response to the leaked draft of a US Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade, many Canadian politicians and media pundits have spoken out, acting as if Canada and the US were somehow the same country.
I wrote about that here, so I won’t go into more detail in this column about the cynical nature of much of the Canadian commentary on what’s happening in the US.
What does need to be mentioned is the hypocritical newfound defense of individual freedom we see from many Canadian media and political elites.
All of a sudden, their rhetoric has shifted to the importance of bodily autonomy, personal choice, getting the government out of people’s personal lives, and how medical decisions must be made by the individual directly impacted, not by politicians or the state.
We are seeing Liberal and NDP politicians using rhetoric that is very libertarian in nature, and correctly emphasize the fact that the rights of the individual should be placed above government dictates.
But where was that kind of thinking over the past two years?
Where was it when Canadians were forced to shut down their businesses?
Where was it when people were being fired for not getting a vaccine?
Where was it when draconian lockdowns were imposed?
Where is it now as millions of Canadians are still barred by the state from leaving the country?
In short, where is the consistency?
In fact, the Liberals are still opposing ‘more freedom’:
It’s all about politics
This is where we see that it’s all about politics.
A consistent defense of individual freedom and limited government would entail making some difficult decisions, because each side of the political spectrum often feels tempted to use state power to impose their vision of the world.
It is easy to support individual freedom for those who we agree with, especially when it seems popular to do so.
Standing up for individual freedom and autonomy for those we disagree with, and when it seems politically unpopular, is far tougher.
Yet, it is the only way we can truly sustain a nation like Canada.
Canada is already a collection of many different types of people, with many different worldviews and cultural histories.
A respect for individual choice, decentralization, and limited government is essential in a country like Canada.
Otherwise, if we all break down into narrow groups and compete for control of the government in order to impose our will on others, we will only see more and more anger and division.
That’s why identity politics is so dangerous, particularly in a nation like Canada.
The selective defense of individual freedom is another example of identity politics, because it’s all about reserving rights for ‘us’, but not for ‘them’.
Canadians need to speak out against that kind of divisiveness, and our country should embrace a consistent defense of individual freedom, even when it’s challenging.
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