Sauron Returning to Mordor
“It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.” — [John Philpot Curran: Speech upon the Right of Election, 1790. (Speeches. Dublin, 1808.) as quoted in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, NY, 1953, p.167 and also in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, Boston, 1968, p. 479.]
The most insidious threats to liberty emerge when vigilance wanes. There are two basic causes of an erosion of vigilance. The first is that it becomes tiresome.
When folk take liberties for granted–as something belonging to the natural order, never to be changed–watching out for liberty’s erosions becomes ridiculous, wasteful, and needless. It becomes as tiresomely stupid as exercising vigilance to ensure gravity is not eroded.
The second threat comes when the actions being restricted are offensive, hurtful, or hated by others. Defending freedom rights of an opponent doing something objectionable is much harder to do. By far and away the biggest threats to freedom are high dudgeon over “worthy” moral causes. Fatty foods bring calls for restrictions over diet and what people are allowed to eat. “It’s for their own good,” we are told. The wowsers in the temperance movement call for more and more prohibitions on alcohol. We feel less inclined to stand up for liberty when the evils of alcoholism and drunkenness are evident everywhere. Vigilance wanes.
Hate speech is another example. Very serious breaches in freedom rights have occurred in the last ten years–with alarming rapidity–over free speech. Few are concerned because no-one wants to defend hateful speech. It’s not a good look.
What is a much worse “look” is the rise of the despotic bureaucratic managing state. He is just one random example:
David Jones, 67, was at London’s Gatwick airport placing his carry-on items into a tray, including a scarf, for scanning when a woman wearing a hijab passed by him through security without showing her face, London’s Daily Telegraph reports. Mr Jones reportedly said “If I was wearing this scarf over my face, I wonder what would happen?”
Shortly after, Mr Jones was confronted by security and accused of making a racist remark. The Telegraph reports he was then detained for an hour as officials attempted to force him to apologise.
Apart from the begged question of what race the woman actually was–she was masked after all–hate speech, divisive speech, racist speech can only be curtailed if we accept a substantial reduction in freedom and liberty in favour of the increasing despotism of the state. Orwell’s macabre 1984 becomes more condign each passing year to we who no longer vigilantly defend liberty. Being condemned to servitude will be our just punishment from God.
One Ring to rule them all
One Ring to find them
One Ring to bring them all
And in the darkness bind them.