04/04/09 A Short Piece on Liberty

With the loss of our civil liberties, it appears that a large percentage of our so-called society remain apathetic or ignorant.  Some of these people have the utmost faith in their elected officials and take the opinion that whatever they decide must be for the right reasons – so, accordingly, a smoking ban is because smoking is dangerous, and the government are doing the right thing.

Others, it would seem, just do not care.  So long as they personally are not affected then it does not matter – the world does not extend beyond their front door. These, the apathetic, are in some ways our worst enemy – those responsible for removing our liberties are easily overcome with the right opposition. But when people refuse to put up such an opposition then they are responsible for the loss of their country. It is a shame such short-sighted people exist, because without them we would not be in this mess now – for once, we can learn something from the French: take no shit and stand your ground.

Sadly, the British still think “stiff upper lip” is the way to go. We hold our tradition in a stead much beyond what it deserves, and this is where it has gotten us. What is worse is those who think that marching for a morning is them being patriotic and doing “their bit” for their country – no, dear people, it is merely step one in doing “your bit” for your country. Step two would be to not give up when the world has not changed to your ideology the next morning.

I think it unsurprising that some people do not mind their liberty going – disappointing, but unsurprising. There is a simple reason for this: liberty requires thought, and accepting responsibility. In a society where we are free to enjoy what it is to be human we are required to think, think about our actions, what we eat, drink and what our hobbies and vices will be. It means that, having thought about them, we must take responsibility for said actions. You want to drink 10 pints a day for your life? That is fine, but accept the responsibility of the risk that it may cost you your life. Many people cannot handle this duty, and removing the necessity to think and accept the responsibility is a god-send to such people. They are the mindless drones that the government has wet dreams over, this is porno for Number 10.

Then there are those directly opposed to liberty. Again, for a simple reason: tolerance.  The smoking ban is a prime example of those lacking in tolerance – having chosen not to smoke, they abhore the sight and smell of those who decided otherwise. Having decided to jog every morning they feel it is their duty to rid the town of those unsightful fat people. Tolerance makes the world go round, and without it we find ourselves in constant conflict. History has shown us time and time (and time) again that if we, the future of yesterday and the seed of tomorrow, need to take just one lesson from the past then it is to be tolerant, and fight when we need to.

Instead, though, we are apathetic – probably the single worst trait any person can have, and a devastating quality for a nation.  Apathy, as we can see, leads to bans, tax hikes, economic damage, boarded-up pubs and ultimate loss of freedom.

So work out what side you’re on, because when Gordon Brown knocks on your door and asks you to bend over further than you already have, you’ll know damn quick which side you wish you’d been on.

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