Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

The West’s Betrayal of Freedom

Posted by M. C. on February 20, 2023

Westerners once endlessly propagandized “freedom” as the ultimate democratic virtue. Now, in fear of revolt, the leaders of these countries are mounting an opposite campaign

freedom = danger

Matt Taibbi

Justin Trudeau might have a “too much freedom” problem, but that doesn’t mean anyone else does.

“Freedom cannot exist without order.” — Canadian Justice Paul Rouleau

The Honorable Justice Paul Rouleau’s “Report of the Public Inquiry into the 2022 Public Order Emergency,” an analysis of Justin Trudeau’s decision to institute Canada’s Emergencies Act and seize funds during last year’s trucker protests, blasted across Canadian media this weekend, reduced to a handful of headlines. As has become the norm in Western media, language was nearly identical:

  • Trudeau’s ‘Freedom Convoy’ shutdown was justified, inquiry rules – Politico
  • Canada’s use of emergency powers during ‘Freedom Convoy’ met threshold, commissioner says – Reuters
  • Federal government met the threshold to invoke Emergencies Act: Rouleau – CBC

Rouleau’s report is clearly written by a man with mixed feelings. On one hand, he agreed “the Government did not have a realistic prospect of productively engaging” with those who “believed COVID-19 vaccines were part of a vast global conspiracy to depopulate the planet.” At the same time, Rouleau refused to confine “misinformation and disinformation” to protesters:

Protest organizers’ mistrust of government officials was reinforced by unfair generalizations from some public officials that suggested all protesters were extremists… Where there was misinformation and disinformation about the protests, it was prone to amplification in news media… The fact that protesters could be at once both the victims and perpetrators of misinformation simply shows how pernicious misinformation is in modern society.

In the report you also find significant criticism of Canda’s Covid-19 policies and heavy-handed emergency measures like allowing Canada’s Border Services Agency (CBSA) to keep foreigners out. Rouleau even said he came to his main conclusion, that Trudeau’s invocation of the Emergencies Order was legal, “with reluctance.”

But such musings have no propaganda benefit, and Rouleau’s report was reduced to a single thought, that Trudeau’s Emergencies Order “Met the Threshhold.” This was almost exactly like the American press reaction to the 2019 report by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz, which tore into FBI malfeasance for hundreds of pages but gave the press the headline it wanted: “Justice Watchdog Finds Russia Probe Was Justified, Not Biased Against Trump.”

Déjà vu? No matter what a report says or how many pages it takes to say it, a single phrase — “justified,” or “met the threshold” — can override everything

Toronto Star columnist Susan Delacourt expounded on the theme, in a piece called, “‘Freedom’ has been a weaponized word. The Emergencies Act report finally tells us what it means.”

The article, which rails against the “warped idea of freedom… populism, and misinformation being sprayed all over social media,” reads like all the tsk-tsking editorials in the West you’ve read since Trump, which used every crisis to hype the idea that freedom = danger. It wasn’t long ago that a person couldn’t go outside without having the word “freedom” jammed in his or her ear, whether it was Mel Gibson yelling it over his hair extensions in Braveheart or Republican congressman Bob Ney engaging in a Pattonesque invasion of the House cafeteria so he could rename your potato-based side dish “Freedom Fries.”

See the rest here

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