‘Leaving People Alone’ Is A Must For A Diverse Democracy To Thrive

Governments are increasingly overstepping their bounds and encroaching on individual choice.

If you look at Western democracies over the long-term, you’ll notice an inescapable trend:

The side arguing for leaving people alone tends to win the argument.

This has implications that both the left and the right dislike.

For example, the left dislikes the fact that leaving people alone led to a decline in government intervention in the economy and lower tax rates (this trend is beginning to reverse however).

Meanwhile, some on the right dislike the fact that leaving people alone means many people will reject traditional values.

Yet, it is always more difficult to be the one arguing for imposing government control over individuals, because the individuals who face the loss of their freedoms – or who are fighting to gain their freedoms – will always be more motivated over the long-term and are likely to organize more effectively.

We can see this in how both the far-right and far-left are repeatedly stymied. The far-left would love nothing more than to take away private property, concentrate all power in the state, and impose a communist-style government. The far-right would love nothing more than to severely restrict women’s rights, roll-back LGBT rights, and use state power to demonize anyone who is considered ‘different’.

Note, I’m talking here about the actual ‘far-right,’ not the general usage of the term to falsely describe anyone to the right of Mao.

The reason both the far-left and far-right lose repeatedly is that so many people have such a significant motivation to ensure that the extremes remain blocked from power. And so, it’s almost inevitable that in any relatively diverse democracy, politicians who argue for leaving people alone will be more successful than those who argue for aggressively imposing one specific ideological vision on the populace.

This is why those who argued against draconian Covid-19 vaccine mandates and travel restrictions were successful. Those who had their rights severely curtailed were far more motivated than the politicians who took those rights away.

This is why those who campaigned in the past for LGBT rights were successful. Consenting adult couples who wished to marry were far more motivated than the politicians who sought to deny that right.

This is why the majority of people in the Western world support Ukraine. People can recognize that Ukraine is asking to left alone by Russia in order to be free to chose their own path as a nation. Russia by contrast is determined to impose their authoritarian, anti-freedom vision of the world on Ukraine through the brutal application of violence.

The same goes for the growth in racial acceptance – contrary to the divisive racial narrative. People who want to be treated equally and want to be judged for their actions rather than their racial backgrounds are far more motivated than those determined to divide people by race.

And this brings us to the current debate about ‘leaving people alone,’ centered around things like drag queen story time and gender ideology in schools.

The left has framed this as an issue of LGBT rights, while the right has framed it around parental rights. While it is true that some campaigners against drag queen story time and gender ideology are motivated by anti-LGBT sentiment (sentiment which should be completely rejected), many are legitimately asking only that they be able to decide what their children are taught about sensitive issues.

In a truly free and democratic society, room must be made for parents to make those decisions. Putting the state in charge would be to presume that children belong to the government, rather than their parents. That would be completely unacceptable, and contrary to how our society is supposed to work.

A complex situation requires a nuanced response

This is a complex situation. Both the left and the right are being thrown for a bit of a loop. The left is struggling with the realization that many recent immigrants and descendants of immigrants hold quite conservative social views. Some on the right are struggling with the idea that they are aligned with people who they once saw as holding views incompatible with the Western idea of individual rights.

However, there is a way to find common ground, and that is by recognizing the importance of leaving people alone.

Parents who don’t want their kids to be exposed to gender ideology and who feel that drag queen story time is inappropriate must have their wishes respected. They should be in control, not the government. Similarly, parents who hold different views and wish for their children to learn about gender ideology should also be respected and they are absolutely free to have their children attend those classes and events.

Fundamentally, this is a decision that must be left to individual parents, not the government. And, given that Canada is a very diverse country full of many people with quite differing world-views, we can only thrive in the long-run if the government takes a step back, respects individual choice, and leaves people alone.

Spencer Fernando


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