Anarchy, Tyranny, or Freedom?
Which would you choose? No meaningful government, or a government in complete control of your life — or neither? If your response is neither, keep reading. If your response is that a limited, responsible government that respects individual freedoms is what is best, let’s talk….
Canada has historically been a country that made some mistakes in both directions, but not to the extent of many other nations; for this, we can be thankful. Nevertheless, we must not lose sight of the danger that these two extremes pose, or think that Canada is immune.
Consider the analogy of driving down a road with a deep ditch on each side; both are dangerous, not just one. It is necessary to stay on the road between the ditches and be alert at all times. It does not help to jerk the steering wheel hard to avoid one ditch and crash into the other ditch as a result.
In the course of 2020, there were many instances of both anarchy and tyranny in Canada, and while neither mindset claimed a complete victory, gains were made and losses were suffered by those who believe in responsible, limited government and individual freedom.
Some will immediately point to government edicts on mask-wearing as a sure sign of totalitarian intrusion, but others will see this as being a “small thing” to do to (hopefully) help others. That might be an eye-catching issue, but let’s dig a little deeper. Canada’s levels of governments were designed to balance each other by having separate areas of responsibility and jurisdiction. These areas of jurisdiction have some overlap, but are supposed to remain separate — even in a state of emergency (though if a federal state of emergency were to be called, the “nuclear approach”, these lines would be blurred).
Looking back, it seems clearer than ever that it was the inaction of the federal government in its area of jurisdiction that allowed the virus to spread as much as it did from other countries; they were warned about it, but did nothing to curtail international travel in the critical first weeks. If they had made the difficult decision to stop flights from all affected regions (roughly) a month sooner, the spread would probably have been slowed. Instead, they waited and failed to act decisively within their area of jurisdiction.
Now we have governments at all levels reacting and trying to do all they can — or at least make it look like they are doing all they can — regardless of the cost. And the cost has been staggering. In dollar figures, this year alone has seen Canada double the debt it had previously incurred in 153 years combined! And that is just dollars. The loss of businesses, the loss of livelihoods, and the loss of lives due to suicide are truly heart-wrenching.
We’re not at the level of totalitarianism that China is, but this crisis has enabled power-hungry governments to take steps in that direction. The almost impossible task of paying back our massive debt will only increase this trend.
What about anarchy? If we are moving in the direction of tyranny, can we also have problems with anarchy? Well yes, as a matter a fact, Canada saw quite a bit of small-scale anarchy in 2020. The rail blockades were an obvious expression of this. The tearing down of statues was another headline-grabbing instance. And another ongoing issue is that of “homeless camps.” While there have been homeless camps in many large cities in Canada in the past, the camps that have sprung up this year show a level of anarchy that must not be ignored any longer. Entire parks have been taken over by people who don’t just need a place to live, but by those who are trying to achieve political ends by destructive, lawless means. Make no mistake, these camps are not simply places where people camp out while they are in search of job or home; they are places of drug abuse, rape, and other criminal activity. There are discarded needles and human feces lying about. Imagine this scene in your neighbourhood park! Too many law-abiding Canadians don’t have to imagine; they are kept up at night by the noise and disorder. Their children are endangered by the needles, filth, and violence and must stay away from their local parks and playgrounds.
It is no shock that some people will occasionally act out of frustration and cause the kind of anarchy just mentioned, but what is concerning is how long it was (and is) allowed to continue by various levels of government. They seemed reluctant to do their job and restore order quickly while the issues were being sorted out. There were (and are) issues that need to be negotiated, but anarchic actions should not become an effective means to achieve political objectives. This is the other dangerous direction in which Canada has been headed.
Staying on the road without driving into either ditch requires care and attention, but in Ottawa (and some provinces) we have governments that seem to be drunk on power and all too eager to get more. Perversely, it is possible that governments turn a blind eye to anarchy for some time so that they could acquire more powers in order to deal with the situation. Of course, governments rarely give up new powers once they’ve taken them, even if the powers are “temporary.”
Governing during these times is by no means easy, and so we ought to pray for the authorities. We must also remind them of their proper role and jurisdiction with phone calls, letters, and petitions. Furthermore, we must prepare ourselves to run in elections so that we and others will have the opportunity to vote for fellow-citizens who will respect and uphold freedom, and stand against government overreach, tyranny, and anarchy.
P.S. If you want to take action to defend freedom of speech — especially as it relates to the protection of the pre-born, please consider following this link and making a pledge to help CHP seek intervenor status in an important judicial review. Thank-you in advance!
Other Commentary by Peter Vogel:
- A Historic Resignation
- Winning the Battle Against Porn
- Anarchy, Tyranny, or Freedom?
- The Great (Opportunistic) Re-Set
- The “Liberalist” of Scandals
- Imagine There’s No Uncles…
- Borrowing Prosperity, Postponing Austerity
- CBC, Ethics, and Redeemer University
- So-Cons and Faux-Cons Part Two
- Defund the Police? Why Not?
- Time to Sell Your Stocks in Lego?
- Political Discussion or Racism?