Words, however strong or clear, can never amount to very much if the action required to back them up is never taken.
In 1938, one year before the outbreak of World War II, Winston Churchill gave his famous “the lights are going out” speech, in which he said, instructively: “Alexander the Great remarked that the people of Asia were slaves because they had not learned to pronounce the word ‘No.’ Let that not be the epitaph of the English-speaking peoples.”
In 2021, the world takes stock of its freedom and finds out just how little is left. In Australia, Melbourne has been locked down for 19 months and the police are shooting violators with rubber bullets. In New Zealand, citizens testing positive for COVID-19 were quarantined by force in government camps run by the military: “I cannot allow the gains we have all made to be squandered by processes that are not followed,” said New Zealand’s prime minister.
In Great Britain, the National Health Service built an app that “pings” people who have been near a person with a positive COVID test and requires those people to leave work. Last month the app was “pinging” more than half a million people every week. Boris Johnson’s spokesman says the app is doing “what it’s designed to do.”
In America, New Yorkers will not be allowed indoors anywhere—no bars, restaurants, museums, movie theaters, gyms—without their “Key to NYC” proof of vaccination. This despite the fact that the vaccine only inhibits one from developing symptoms, but does not at all affect the likelihood of having the virus in one’s system or passing it to others.
This year, much of the world discovered that its freedom was illusory: Nothing more than words and slogans to soothe the credulous, feeble public. But not in Florida, where I happen to be at the moment. When “Key to NYC” was announced by Bill de Blasio, I knew it was the right time to visit some friends in the south and see how the other half lives.
Unsurprisingly, Dan’s trip was exactly what you’d expect: an invigorating breath of the clean, clear air of freedom, summoning forth an inescapable conclusion:
The reality in Florida exposes the worldwide response to the novel coronavirus for what it is: An exercise in oppression. A precious opportunity for governments to see just how far their tentacles can intrude into peoples’ daily lives. An excuse to grant governments across the world extraordinary, emergency powers that, once granted, will become normal and then permanent. It’s an excuse—that’s all it is. A phony pretext for everything the government wanted to do anyway.
It is chilling and sobering to see how aggressively governments will subjugate populations of whom they are not afraid. In almost every country in the world, people are coming up against the unfortunate realization that, when push comes to shove, they are utterly helpless.
Only if they believe themselves to be, or—far, far worse, something we see way too much of all around us nowadays—if they actually LIKE it that way. Perhaps the most dismaying revelation over the past year and a half has been not of the true nature of our government, but that of so very many of our so-called countrymen.
Gelernter goes on to make the essential, if obvious, point about the motives of gun-grabbing tyrants, cites some examples, then closes out thusly:
A people disarmed is a people enslaved. Enslaved not only by their lacking effective means of resistance, but by their having shown their willingness to surrender those means to the authorities. When you look at American states with the freest gun laws, you know you’re looking at states with the freest people: Not simply because these people have guns, but because they had the strength of character to keep them. They were the ones who, when the government came around to lock them in their homes, said “No.”
If America is to enjoy a new birth of freedom, as I believe it will, it starts with those Americans who believe there are some things more important than safety, some things dearer even than life. To those in less-fortunate circumstances and places, it may fall to you to take the first step towards freedom regained: The government will ask you for your papers. You know what to say.
All fine and well, as I’ve repeatedly said, and he ain’t wrong about any of it. BUT…as I’ve also repeatedly said: not gonna get the job done. Wish it would, from the bottom of my heart. Won’t. Sorry, all. Now what?
Somewhat to his credit, Dan sidesteps the by now obligatory insistence that, vital as those guns are, any use of them for their Constitutionally-intended purpose absolutely MUST be preemptively foresworn by all Real Americans. As if tyrants who, as he correctly admits, no longer fear the faint-hearted Sheeple can ever be dissuaded from abusing them by words alone. As if the mere possession of guns can ever suffice to reinstill a proper and correct fear into our masters, absent a credible threat of resorting to them at dire need—exactly as the Founders had to do, and did. He simply doesn’t mention that aspect of the matter at all, one way or another.
But he didn’t flatly reject the idea out of hand either, a stance which has somehow become the default even amongst some of the firebrands of the historically literate, sincerely patriotic punditry. Kinda sad that that actually does represent progress, of a sort. But hey, I said “SOMEWHAT to his credit,” now didn’t I? Baby steps, people, baby steps.