Bad Trades

Everyone has an ideology, a set of philosophies and beliefs that are practically and theoretically used to guide decision-making. A personal ideology is a ‘heuristic’ of sorts, used to come to conclusions in an expedited way.

The key to possessing a practical ideology is understanding if it is based on a fundamental truth. ‘Truth,’ of course, is not as straightforward or objective as we’d like to believe. Still, the attempt to seek truth- instead of fabricated reality used to accommodate your dogma- is what I am referring to in this post.

It was introspection into my political ideology that led to this train of thought. My first attempt at solidifying my creed from a high level is below.

Every individual has the right to live life as s/he sees fit without a barrier. This assumes the actions taken to live such a life do not:

A-cause direct harm to others in your community or
B- cause indirect damage that fellow citizens can’t relieve without undue effort.

At the individual level, people deserve autonomy to make the right decision without coercion, restriction, or rule. I believe this is critical for a free society.

The job of the Government is to provide citizens with tools & resources while removing barriers, thus allowing inhabitants to live a ‘good’ life. Unfortunately, most governments use force or propaganda to direct the decision-making of the populace. Canada (and the world more broadly) highlighted the ‘by force’ strategy for pandemic management.

Some may view the pandemic strategy as a success. If pushing up vaccination rates or ensuring widespread compliance is your mark of triumph, then the approach was effective by all measures. But what was gained in compliance was lost in trust. Trust in public health, provincial and federal Governments, and confidence in global health institutes eroded severely. Some of the tactics used resulted in a great divide between members of our population, resulting in disdain. In my opinion, that’s a bad trade. You can justify it in the short term, but we will pay for it in the long run.

The role of the Government should never be to coerce, manipulate, or punish its citizens into action. The job of higher powers is to educate and support citizens while exercising the people’s will, NOT to force the will of the people. It is clear that the former approach was the method of choice in Ontario and Canada.

We have become short-term thinkers who support measures that benefit us now while unable to seriously consider how such actions hurt us in the long run. The coercion of widespread vaccination at the cost of trust is one example. Another is the support for shutting down the non-violent protests in Ottawa with unauthorized emergency powers. An action that set a precedent for tyrannical authoritarianism next time a segment of the population rises against its Government. We have bills on the table like C-11 that our Government is selling as ‘anti-racist’ protections on the surface. However, C-11 opens the door for criminal convictions without committing a crime. The recipe for our leaders is to cite an irrefutable issue as the motivation for enacting a law or passing legislation while leaving the parameters loose. That way, these laws or precedents can be used against citizens under a plethora of scenarios. They point to the enemy or issue to get you emotionally on board with their actions, but they omit the details that can affect us in the future.

Climate change is an issue. It would be best if you were concerned about it. Therefore, we must create carbon taxes to punish giant, wealthy corporations for polluting the earth. The catch: our poorest citizens and the middle-class will ultimately foot that bill.

Digital ID is a non-invasive way to store information, so you don’t have to carry a wallet or ten different cards with you everywhere you go. The catch: the infrastructure created for digital ID can also serve as a population-wide surveillance system or the basis for a social credit scheme.

Misinformation/Racism is bad. We want to protect people online from hate speech and incorrect information. The catch: anyone who shares information that is inconvenient for our goals can now be censored or punished in a court of law.

It’s hard not to feel like they’re playing us.

These claims may sound insane to the average person. Still, citizens need to understand that what is possible with these measures must be considered over what is probable. Governments worldwide have a terrible track record regarding the multiple waves of abuse of power that they first enacted for seemingly reasonable means.

What is possible is why I am so vocal about fundamental rights. Be it free speech, right to protest, right to bodily autonomy, right to religion or creed, you name it. Either you’re for rights for all, or you’re ok with whoever is in power revoking your rights. The time will come when the person in charge sees your political leanings as a threat. If you allow crossing these lines when it comes to people you dislike or disagree with, you will be next. It’s only a matter of time.

That is why my political ideology begins and ends with rights, freedoms, and the individual’s autonomy. If we continue to outsource rules, regulations, and ultimate authority to our Government, we will lose the right to live a good life as we each see fit. Perhaps we will be ignorantly blissful with a universal basic income, low-cost ride and home-sharing, or daily rations delivered to our door each week. Still, I fear the reality of the dream our leaders are selling us is much more dystopian. What we give up now, we will not get back. It’s time to buckle down and consider the worst-case scenario of the allowances we continue to make.

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