How should I even start this?
I usually keep my distance with subjects that are controversial. Not because I don’t have opinions about them, but I just don’t like useless confrontation. I do enjoy a good conversation, but strongly opinionated people tend to quickly get aggressive. I don’t need that in my life, especially when I am just trying to understand another person’s point of view.
But… It doesn’t mean I am not interested in these delicate subjects. Sometimes, I can go for days, even weeks, gathering information here and there, and forming my opinion on some matter.
So. What is it, that has been keeping my hamster busy lately?
Well, you might have heard about a movement of people referring to themselves as Sovereign Citizens. I thought that was an American thing, but it seems like the same is happening here in Canada, although the Canadian branch preferes the term Freemen.
To make a long story short, these men and women refuse to obey the government’s authority. I am guessing that there are several levels of ”disobedience”, going from refusing to get a driving permit to refusing to pay income tax, claiming they are the only masters of their lives.
The feeling I get is that they see all forms of authority as a menace to their freedom. Ultimately, they would like to make their own rules for themselves. And live by them, and them only.
A statement that often comes up, in the videos I’ve watched and the articles I’ve read, is ”I should be allowed to do anything I want, as long as I don’t hurt others.” And if you dare to disagree, you are quickly judged as a weak, government slave, willing to give up your liberty without a fight.
When I think about it, a French saying always comes to mind:
La liberté des uns s’arrête, là où commence celle des autres.
”One’s freedom ends where others’ begin.” Which, I think, is very true. Because having total freedom means that everyone else would be granted the same right. And like most people, I sure would like to do whatever I please, whenever I please. But I doubt I could trust everybody else’s judgement. An American comedian once said (sorry, I don’t remember his name) Look at the average American… Now think about it, half of the people out there are dumber than that!
I wouldn’t use ”dumber”, but I do believe that there are enough people with poorer judgement than the average citizen, to compromize a peaceful life for me and my loved ones, if there were no rules to keep them walking straight.
Therefore, I am more than willing to give up a little liberty, to live by common rules. I think it is the very base of a society. The rules and laws may vary from one country to another, but they are the best way to keep things in order.
The financial side to this rebelious movement also leaves me wondering. I mean, for now, only a small percentage of the Canadian population is refusing to pay income taxes and different licences. In a way, they are just taking advantage of the majority.
But if everybody stopped paying altogether, what would happen to all the benefits we have? How would we get medical care? How would we educate children? Who would fix the infrastructures and the roads Freemen claim they have every right to travel around freely and at no charge?
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not ready to put our government on a pedestal. I wish the money it is getting from me was better spent. I also believe that some laws are ridiculous and obsolete… Our democracy isn’t perfect, far from it. But I much prefer it over chaos, in a world where I wouldn’t know what to expect from my neighbours.
I am not a government slave. But I don’t believe in total freedom, unless you live in a remote house in the middle of the forest.