Reconciling the needs of inviolable individual liberty with the maintenance of law and order, human rights and social equilibrium is the single most important political problem of any society to solve. The Canadian state and personal liberty are locked in a tango. It’s almost beautiful to behold. I’ve witnessed it my whole adult life in the gentle kingdom–the dysfunctional northern utopia. If I sound alarmist, it isn’t to be dramatic. Things are complicated. You think perhaps that the dance cheek to cheek with liberty and equality can continue forever. Like many, you believe that egalitarianism can step in time with liberty and that they make a nice couple; that they’re not estranged. The country’s biggest asset is this strut down a dangerous middle. It is the hope that it won’t end in a bloated inept bureaucracy where in the cold sluggish slush we’ll drown, choking on our northern conceit. We have the bravado of a young grey wolf, so brash that we don’t have a single sunset clause in any of our institutions, not for our health care system, EI, public education, daycare subsidy or the public pension plans. Nothing.
We Could Never Make a Mistake?
Every government program enacted is as essential as the last one. The abuse in EI is a fantasy. The overpayment for the exceedingly poor results in public education is fixable. The wait in emergency for simple after-hours care is forgivable. The fact that we have less than 215 doctors per 100,000 people – one of the lowest in the world – is coincidence. Public unions won’t ever surpass their working class decency and actually give us some attendance and production figures that resembles anything close to the private sectors. Accumulated debt will someday be eliminated, maybe on the backs of our great great great grandchildren? Shouldn’t we have public-financed dentistry for everyone? Daycare? Old age home visits by state employees? Shouldn’t everyone be guaranteed at least one pair of shoes and a bag of groceries once and a while?
The last large group to receive constitutional protection in Canada was the Gay community. I remember the fight. It accumulated in July 2005 when Canada became the fourth country in the world, after the Netherlands, Belgium, and Spain, to legalize same-sex marriages nationwide; (as of 2018 there are 26 countries where homosexuality is legal). It started in 1982, when The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into being under the Trudeau administration. But the question we’re asking here is, Did the gay community fight for welfare and management from cradle to grave or did they want to be free and left alone? More specifically, Did they want a bureaucratic welfare state or the rights that any minority desire?
Their liberty was what was mostly celebrated, and I want to give my impression of what happens to liberty as the state grows: societies and communities which have stumbled upon liberty are quick-flowing, dynamic and progressive of human rights and the erosion of anyone’s autonomy is slow . . . in the beginning, it’s a virtue. However, when the economy is rough, the state will abandon freedom without remorse. The people perhaps will react against the wealthy who it once protected along with all others. The just and righteous will rise up among us and preach for laws opposing them. The envious majority will follow suit, building up resentment and engaging in police action against some new scapegoat. This fight puts salt in people’s hearts and is the death of tolerance. Others are incited against surplus wealth, not knowing where it comes from nor what it does. When there are hungry and needy, the state produces higher laws, whereby the people who have are taxed heavily for others who don’t have. These they call their “most just laws.” The majority turn to the state as they once turned to God. Straight times call for straight scientific measurements. Others perhaps will be incited against sexual orientation that is fraught with a challenge to define true love: the difficulties with straight and normal.
When freedom coughs and chokes, the state kicks liberty in the belly. They’ll preach for new laws and near the time of the death of freedom, there will be laws uncaused, laws leashed and waiting, and laws about everything. By then, we’ll no longer be protected by the silent law of liberty. In the war against it, the real law is suppressed, the voice of the autocratic state will be born, where, above all else, power, order and authority reign supreme. At this time, if one does not have permission to do something, it will be against the law. False laws are invented to rid us of the wealthy and libertines, but the progressives become the image of those they profess to despise; the rule of law, slain at their feet. In this, the idealists among us, should choose their enemies well; it is those whom I fear they will most likely resemble.
In the dance between liberty and equality, one of the partners is being forced into the relationship; and she is dying. For every breath of life for equality, one less for her; for every dollar of tax one less to her freedom of choice; for every one of your restricted personal freedoms, one less option to her happiness; for every new bureaucracy added to your governance, one less self-responsibility she is required to learn; for every day your equality grows, her liberty shrinks. Soon it might be the soft-sponged gulag-state and she’ll swoon on the warm parlor room, waiting to be received in the decadent mansion as a beggar to her betrothed.
© 2019 - E. A. St. Amant