Blogging · Canada · Me myself and I · Uncategorized

The cost of freedom…

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.

Do you?

38 thoughts on “The cost of freedom…

    1. Of course, my point of view is based on my own life, here in Canada. And there are laws and rules, new and old, that I disagree with… But when I look at the big picture, I wouldn’t want total freedom to be granted to every Joe Blow out there 😉 The cabin in the woods sure is appealing in a lot of ways, but I doubt I could live all of my life as an ermit 😛 hehehehe

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe there could be a nice ”in between”… A couple of months in the woods, and then a couple of months back into society to contribute, and then back to the forest 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d rather not even imagine 😉 The first rule my dad taught me, when he showed me how to drive, was ”always be careful, not because you are not driving well, but because you never know who you are sharing the road with!”

      Can you imagine sharing the highway with people who consider they can speed, or people who don’t believe they should be told they don’t drive well enough to be on the road? Woa!! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  1. People crack me up. Total freedom? To do as you please? That’s called anarchy. And it’s fine if you’re not hurting anyone? Great. Don’t pay taxes, don’t register your car, don’t do this, don’t do that. Fine. Don’t pay taxes. But, like you said, you don’t pay taxes, you shouldn’t get the benefit of using any of the things others’ taxes cover. It’s real easy to say you’re living free and not a “slave” to government, when in reality, they’re only tax evaders who use the rest of us who do pay. I wouldn’t call them Freemen. I’d call them assholes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOL your reaction doesn’t surprise me, Sonofa 🙂 I think that as a minority, these people just take advantage of the systeme they consider a threat. But they don’t stop to think that if every Joe Blow did what they do, they would actually loose a lot more than they would gain, freedom-wise…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yep. They’d likely be dead as some other freak would come take their shit to survive. Society is not capable of managing itself. It just isn’t. Especially now that 99% of the humans in the world couldn’t even grow enough food to live. These live free or die people are just like any other cult: nuts. And likely would die in short order.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It would be total chaos…

        It is funny, because in many cases I’ve seen, people tend to say, ”yeah, but I just disobey a couple of laws, I am not an anarchist”! It is just my opinion, but if we all could ignore the laws that we don’t see fit, I think we would open the door to this chaos. And these people don’t seem to see that…

        Oh and yes… if we had to each provide for our own family, most of us would starve in no time, no doubt about that!! 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Just for the record, I don’t know how to grow anything edible, I suck at breeding cows and chickens, and even if someone else provided me with food, I couldn’t cook!! LOL

        Liked by 1 person

    1. 😉 I think that some of them are in just to fight authority like children tend to fight against their parents’ home rules… And others are blinded by an utopia where everybody would live as they wish to. The movement seems worst in the U.S. than it is up here in Freezingland. I feel for the average citizen, that is caught between a meh-government, and these totally anti government men and women…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a good and thought-provoking post.

    The English philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote a fine essay in 1859 entitled “On Liberty”. In it he argued that one should distinguish between “self-regarding” and “other-regarding” acts. In essence, according to Mill, those acts that purely impact on the individual making the choice/taking the action, are “self-regarding” (I.E. they have no impact on others and therefore the person concerned should be left free, even if his actions are harmful to his own welfare). In contrast, it is, according to Mill, acceptable to intervene when a person’s actions impact harmfully on others.

    In general this perspective is, I think now accepted by liberals (with a small l), of all political parties (and none). For example, if someone gets raving drunk then that is stupid but the state has better things to do with it’s resources than stop people from getting raving drunk. Also (provided they are doing no harm to others), it is (arguablly) a “self-regarding” act and should not be prohibited. However, if a drunk gets into a car and drives it, then that becomes an “other-regarding” act, as he (or she) could kill or injure someone and it is, therefore right that those who drive while drunk are punished.

    I have a lot of sympathy for this perspective. However Mill was not an extreme libertarian and the people you are describing sound to me like anarcho-capitalists or similar, who reject all state authority and believe that goods and services can be provided either by the free market and/or charity. This is not a workable system and would, in my view, lead to the breakdown of social order. We do need taxation and some form of welfare state. One can, however have a debate as to what extent the welfare state should cover everyone. For instance few would disagree that those with severe disabilities should be treated with generosity. However, if people refuse to work and expect the taxpayer to subsidise their lifestyle, most people would, I think agree that such people should not be supported. Of course, in the latter case things are more complex if those refusing to work have children (as one can not punish the children for the bad decisions of their parents).

    For anyone interested in anarcho-capitalism, Rothbard’s “For A New Liberty” is a good place to start.

    Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Kevin, thank you so much for the amazing comment! This is very interesting and I’ll have to do a little research to read more about Mr Mills and Mr Rothbard’s work! Thank you for sharing about it.

      I did have a reflection about ”sef-regarding” and ”other-regarding” acts, when I tried to figure if a rule-free world could actually work out. And it seems to me, that there are so few true ”self-regarding” acts, in our lives, that it seems like an utopia to believe anyone could live with absolute free will without impacting on other people’s paths, in the process…

      Again, thank you for your thoughts, I really appreciate it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome. I’m pleased my comments where helpful. Whilst the (extreme) libertarians are dangerous, their perspectives can act as a healthy corrective to those who worship the state (whether those worshippers are Fascists or Communists). History teaches us that where the state stamps on the rights of individuals we end up with Stalin’s gulags or Hitler’s concentration camps. So extreme advocates of anarcho/capitalism (or, indeed left-wing anarchists) are dangerous, but so are those who love state power. We need a state/government, but we would be wise to watch that it does not trampel on the individual.

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  3. I like the idea of total freedom, but then again I like the idea of living in a bouncy castle house, so probably not the best person to judge.

    One of the things you said made me think these people are very much like antivaxxers. While I know it is a massive emotive subject, antivaxxers are playing with their children’s lives, whatever the reason why they are doing it, they are relying on the fact that other people vaccinate their children and their child is fine within the herd immunity. As they found out in certain parts of the world, where once measles had gone, is now coming back.

    This same theory works for taxes people are paying in, to help the vulnerable, they might never use the system (I am thinking benefit system here) however it is there when we need it.

    Anyway my thinking is, its all well and good saying you want the freedom but as soon as too many people take advantage it goes tits up and you start crying in a corner for something that you have chosen to do

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Spurs all those people who are a little remiss into action, hey? Parents here were jumping up and down because a government health app, which reminded them about their childs’ vaccinations falling due, crashed and lost their data. Before the app, it was a parents job to remember! Not too difficult if you have a diary.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I like the comparison, Trina… and I agree. I think some people see conspiracies everywhere. I don’t have children (and most likely won’t have any LOL) but I never would have risked anything happening to them, or putting other children at risk.

      As for the tax paying, even if these people don’t get money through the benefit system, they still ride on the roads, and send their children to school, and here, in Canada, go to the hospital when they are sick… All of this is ”free” when you need it, but if we all stopped paying our taxes, how could we keep it running… I guess, that’s not an issue to them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is true, but I think most people don’t think they are getting something from the system unless its in terms of money.

        It might not be an issue for them now, but when it crashes round them, they would probably be the first to be yelling

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  4. It appears to me that these are anarchists under the guise of freedom fighters. I can understand on the discussion about the amount of taxation and regulation, but we need some form of government, or the country falls apart.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree, Rob! And I think it is not so much the amount of taxation as the way the money is getting spent. I think that for most people, paying a little more is not a problem, if you get a lot in return… But, of course, I just said ”most people”. And these so called Freemen don’t seem to care about losing government-provided services 😉

      I try to imagine a world with no established rules, and all I can’t think of, is that we would take a huge (HUGE) step back as a society. I’m not much for the ”everyone for themselves” strategy 😛

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    1. I think so… Total freedom, in today’s world would lead to chaos, in my opinion. I am wondering if the people hoping for such ”liberty” would like to deal with the fact that everybody else would get the same right.

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  5. Often, throughout my life, and a LOT recently, I’ve pondered how hard it would be to go “off grid’. To disconnect myself from societal ties, which in America, are really fudged up right now. The short answer of course is I could NOT do it. Not alone anyway. I have relatives who are just nutty enough that they might try the ‘off the radar and off grid” option and I suppose I could wheedle my way into their isolated compound. But these obstacles remain (in my mind any how): How to get around. Unless one owns a horse or horses, and a carriage, how would one get where they needed to go for supplies? Because even those off grid have to eat, right? I bet you have to get a permit to drive a horse and carriage in most city limits these days. Or even ride a horse on the highway. So there’s one tie that will be damned hard to break. Now if one is wily enough, one can get (i.e. steal) plates from someone else’s car, and fiddle with all those damned stickers the ‘law’ insists one put ON the plate, and the vehicle would pass for a while as ‘legal’. Obviously our current method of currency, i.e. that stupid plastic card, would be off limits, too easy to track. But paying cash for everything? Could be a problem. Some places are dangerous if one is known to carry around a big wad of cash. I like the thought of the cabin in the woods, but I also appreciate greatly electricity and modern conveniences like indoor plumbing. It’s a great thought though!

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  6. I think these people will not believe in so much freedom when the find out what medical care will cost if they have to pay for it And then there is the lawsuit when they are at fault in an accident that results in death or a person disabled for life. That is when the proverbial will hit. They want total freedom give it to them and then remove all services from them. No roads, no schools, no telephone, no internet, no medical care, no bank, no loans, no electricity, no water, nothing. Be entirely self sustaining. Then if they are costing us nothing then great …..give them freedom. Seriously I am too darned old to put up with this sort of thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think that now in the US there are more dissenters than ever, and they’re getting more violent. Particular closed minds in government now are trying to control many freedoms we’ve achieved in the past few decades. Rules and laws that are broken or changed every few years cause havoc, but it seems our fate at the moment. Individual freedoms are being taken from us. These freemen may think they have a good reason to declare this or that, but it’s the hard working ordinary man, paying taxes, supporting his family and “doing the right thing” that get squashed, not the businesses, banks, or the upper class. What happens if this movement backs itself into a corner? I obey rules and laws, but I don’t care for the way our government is run now. Maybe these freemen are fighting back in their own way, however frightening that is. And driving? Being in a car is probably the most dangerous lawless place ever, where frustration taken out on each other for whatever reason endangers everyone. And don’t forget about the guns. The Wild West is resurging, all over the US.

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  8. The definition of society is “a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same geographical or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations.” Unless one is a hermit, we are all part of society, and while there are things about the society in which we each live that we may not like, not having rules and laws is anarchy, which is “a state of disorder due to absence or nonrecognition of authority.” In other words, chaos. I’ll take society — even a flawed society — over anarchy and chaos every time.

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  9. a very balanced approach to controversial subject matter. Well done.
    Such groups exist everywhere and there is a big big gap between total freedom advocates and slaves to government. The phrase I always resort to is that “we live in a society”. While not interested in surrendering liberties, I do recognize that in order to “control” people to a manageable extent we need to recognize the need for rules and the respect of others.

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