Humans form governments not to surrender their liberty but to secure it. The state exists for man, not man for the state, as many natural law philosophers have observed. According to this understanding of government, the proper response to a tyrannical law is disobedience. An unjust law, after all, isn’t a real law at all. It is an act of violence that cries out for resistance. But self-serving government officials cast such laudable resistance as a threat to the state. In truth, it is only a threat to their tyranny.
So it goes in Canada, where its prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is busy denouncing truckers for daring to defend their own freedom. “Blockages, illegal demonstrations are unacceptable, and are negatively impacting businesses and manufacturers,” he said this week. “We must do everything to bring them to an end.”
The “inherent violence” of the truckers? How lame. Trudeau’s resort to such smears just underscores the weakness of his position.
Who can take such rhetoric seriously, given all the damage outrageous COVID mandates have done to businesses? His outburst against the truckers — they are “trying to blockade our economy, our democracy and our fellow citizens’ daily lives” — is an apt description of the impact of his own decrees.
Even more pathetic is his attempt to hide his tyranny behind wokeness and wild mischaracterizations of the protests. “People of Ottawa don’t deserve to be harassed in their own neighborhoods, don’t deserve to be confronted with the inherent violence of a swastika flying on a street corner or a confederate flag or the insults and jeers just because they’re wearing a mask. That’s not who Canadians are,” he said.
The “inherent violence” of the truckers? How lame. Trudeau’s resort to such smears just underscores the weakness of his position. His stubborn flailing hasn’t gone unnoticed by members of his party. “Trudeau’s own party is starting to turn on him over Covid restrictions,” according to Politico. “A backbench lawmaker from Justin Trudeau’s own caucus is accusing the prime minister of dividing and stigmatizing Canadians by politicizing vaccine mandates and Covid-19 restrictions,” it reports. “Joël Lightbound delivered the stunning, scathing assessment Tuesday in Ottawa with the big rigs of the so-called Freedom Convoy just outside the door.”
Lightbound says that the truckers are simply responding to Trudeau’s self-indulgent and overreaching vaccine politics: “A decision was made to wedge, to divide and to stigmatize. I fear that this politicization of the pandemic risks undermining the public’s trust in our public health institutions.”
Meanwhile, the New York Times ran a piece reporting that some Canadian progressives would like to see Trudeau smite the truckers, in a manner similar to his father’s treatment of Quebec terrorists in the 1970s. The piece recalled Pierre Trudeau’s famous words — “Just watch me” — after he was asked if he would wipe out the Quebec terrorists:
It was October 1970 when Pierre Elliott Trudeau — Justin Trudeau’s father — took this stand. Asked outside Parliament how far he would go to stop The Front de Libération du Québec, an extremist group agitating for Quebec’s independence from Canada, he was defiant. The group had kidnapped a Quebec cabinet minister, Pierre Laporte, who was subsequently assassinated. There had been a reign of terror of hundreds of bombs and robberies in Montreal. A British trade commissioner had also been kidnapped.
Mr. Trudeau successfully quashed the extremists by invoking the War Measures Act — the only time in Canadian history it was applied in peacetime. He sent thousands of troops to Montreal and abrogated some civil liberties. Uniformed soldiers raided homes, hunting for terrorists. Some 400 people were arrested and detained without charges.
Now, some in Canada are calling for Justin Trudeau to have his “Just watch me” moment.
“ ‘Just watch me’ is burned into the memory of all of us who were alive to hear then prime minister Pierre Trudeau speak it, all those years ago,” read a letter published Monday in the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest circulation newspaper. “It is time for his son, Justin, to do the same with the protesters in Ottawa.”
In the warped and feverish imagination of the woke, the unvaccinated are akin to terrorists and domestic insurgents. But whether Justin Trudeau is unhinged enough to unleash the War Measures Act against the truckers remains to be seen.
One can only hope that the truckers keep up their protests, which are not a threat to democracy but an admirable expression of it. They are teaching the COVID tyrants an overdue lesson, the most fundamental one to democracy: that government exists to serve, not dominate, the people.
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