FREEDUMB”,an intentional, disdainful miss-spelling employed with growing frequency. It drips contempt. Indicative of a cultural shift. What are freedoms good for anyway? Why would any decent and moral person place these frivolous luxuries above the “greater good” of all? The insistence on such things in a time of crisis is selfish and irresponsible. Where is your community spirit? Why shouldn’t a man earn his so called freedom by good behaviour and “doing the right thing”? Everything would be so much better, just shut up and go get jabbed already! Utopia awaits.
It can be a persuasive argument, we all want to be responsible citizens after all and do right by others. A claim to some inalienable right to do as we wish is easy to frame as petulant, indulgent and childish when we are told lives are at stake. I would, however, argue exactly the reverse is the case. I think many of us realise this instinctively, but often struggle to find the words to convince and persuade, as our opponents claim the apparent moral high ground. It appears to be a daunting climb from the bottom.
But if we take the time to examine the positions properly, we will find this moral high ground a hollow illusion. In this series of brief articles I intend to take us back to first principles. We must articulate clearly the case for freedom and the all too real dangers of discarding it. Freedom is not a dead weight to be thrown overboard at the first sign of danger. It is an essential component of any democracy worthy of the name, the foundation that has allowed us to unlock the abundance of the earth and create unprecedented widespread prosperity. A set of principles that allowed the individual to live a life of value and meaning on their own terms.
We are in the midst of a struggle for these ideals. A philosophy of centralist, authoritarian technocracy is being asserted throughoutour governing and social institutions. It is the philosophy of the tyrants described by C.S Lewis – “those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
If we are to compel them to end this suffering, and I believe we must, then we need to arm ourselves with sound understanding. First of the principles we seek to restore and uphold, second of our well intentioned technocrats so we may effectively dismantle their arguments. And thirdly we must understand the principles of persuasion itself so we may argue our case, carefully and persuasively to those around us who may yet be persuaded of the vital importance of “freedumb”.
And so in the next article I will begin by examining and articulating the nature and value of the principles that onceunderpinned our free society.