Freedom V Safety

BY JAMES BEMBRIDGE

Across the Western world, politicians heap disdain upon the democracy which saw them elected.

Though voters have become accustomed to being threatened, coerced and shamed by their government, a recent speech from the Scottish Labour Leader somehow managed to be so shocking as to surpass all three of these tragic expectations. Anas Sarwar warned Scotland’s unvaccinated citizens that ‘we know where you live’ and that they should expect door to door vaccinations.

Most disturbing is not that Mr Sarwar thought there was political capital in this threat, but that poll after poll suggests he wouldn’t be wrong in thinking so. Post-Covid, Freedom is increasingly talked of as if it were some strange, niche concept to which any sane and selfless person must object. Strange, then, that it’s only progressives who do…

It’s no coincidence that the freedom v safety debate slices the leave v remain one neatly in two. Almost salivating at the idea of more bureaucratic rules to submit themselves to, EU advocates have adopted Covid measures as their new kink; diligently wearing their masks while casting scorn on those who don’t, or don’t do so in a sufficiently conservative manner – a kind of Sharia patrol force for neurotic Waitrose shoppers.

The New Zealand Prime Minister ministers to this neurotic and tyrannic desire. When asked if there will be two different classes of people between the vaccinated and unvaccinated, Ardern replied, smiling with sinister glee, ‘Yes, that is what is’. As observed by Shakespeare’s Hamlet, ‘one may smile, and smile, and be a villain’ – but what a ghastly smile this gormless gorgon casts. Though she so often blows the liberal media’s minds, St Jacinda’s long, equine teeth seem unfit for blowing anything else.

‘To kill God and to build a Church’ are, as Albert Camus noted, ‘the constant and contradictory purpose of rebellion.’ The New Left hoped science would one day supersede God. Science did, but it demanded a similar sort of faith from its adherents. Those who tell us to follow the science only do so, so long as the science follows them. This pandemic has seen safety and science become euphemisms for socialism. We never hear conservatives calling for more restrictions. It’s always the halitotic exhortations of trade unionists, forlorn cat hoarders and members of the now erroneously named Labour Party (not that any of the other parties live up to their names either these days).

Some lockdown sceptics pair the claim that the fight for freedom isn’t between Left and Right with the contradictory one that it is about Liberalism v Authoritarianism. This notion, sweet and unifying as it is, glosses over the obvious tautology of ‘authoritarian’ and ‘left wing’. In today’s world, one cannot exist without the other.

James Bembridge is Deputy Editor of Country Squire Magazine.