By: Jože Biščak
This year will mark 370 years since the first edition of Leviathan, an extensive book in which the English philosopher and political theorist Thomas Hobbes explained the need for a government with absolute power. According to him, human nature is so bad and weak that man needs the state to completely surrender to its arms. The work had a great impact in later centuries. One version, that the enlightened elite must also force the people into a socialist revolution and further into communism, has led to the greatest planned slaughter in human history. The 20th century was generally the century when freedom died.
As Christians, we believe that freedom was given to us by God. Throughout history, man has never feared “mediators” (secular or ecclesiastical authority), but hell, where s/he would go if s/he did not live according to given moral principles. This is also why Christian civilization has progressed rapidly. States to which man has handed over (in order to be able to work and live peacefully) concern for security (army), public peace (police) and dispute resolution (justice) have been limited and have acted in accordance with the premise that man is not without sin, but is essentially a good and rational being who knows how to make decisions and is personally responsible for them. Social experiments have turned the matter upside down. The basic premise has become that man is in fact bad, so s/he needs to be set limits and take each individual as a potential criminal. Under such conditions, human nature has also changed. Suddenly, s/he began to leave the fate to the state for his/her health, age, social security, and other things that were once in his/her hands, allowing himself to restrict his freedom only in the event of an emergency. Or to put it differently. Today, people do not lose their freedom by being pushed by a despot with a boot. No, they surrender it voluntarily.
The loudest ones saying that the state must take care of everything are on the left wing. Every step of the current center-right government back to the natural is marked as the sabotage of democracy (whatever that means). It was not long ago when the government tried to allow an individual to decide for himself which NGO to donate part of his/her income tax to, but the left wing started panicking, sort of in the sense that a citizen cannot decide who to donate his/her money to. It would be a step back from free decisions, but it was suppressed by the representatives of the ideological (and blood) heirs of the former totalitarian regime. It is the same with freedom of speech. In principle, there is nothing wrong if technology giants cancel someone’s profile on social networks: their property, their rules, those cancelled will find other ways of communication (although this raises the question of cartels and monopolies). It is only interesting how they began to refer to private property on the left. The property they despised until yesterday. Or restriction of movement during the Chinese virus. The left suddenly demands absolute freedom of movement, and every measure taken by the Janša’s government is marked as a new paving stone on the path to totalitarianism. This is said by people who have been forcing citizens into dependence on the state for decades, stealing their freedom. Now the Copernican Revolution. If necessary. And hypocrisy for textbooks.
During the Spanish flu, strict restrictive measures and wearing masks proved to be the most effective measure. Although people were much freer than they are today (and consequently more responsible), they adhered to the measures. “In 1918, a San Francisco health officer shot three people when one refused to wear a mandatory face mask. In Arizona, police handed out $10 fines for those caught without the protective gear. But eventually, the most drastic and sweeping measures paid off” reports National Geographic.
And today? It is precisely those who would oppress freedom under normal circumstances, who want absolute freedom in emergency circumstances. Without taking responsibility for their harmful actions, they have been overthrowing a legitimate government for months and want to put people at the top of the executive branch who did not run at all in the last election or came through the electoral sieve. Their new principles and rules are truly a global specialty.
Jože Biščak, editor-in-chief of Democracija magazine and president of the Slovenian Association of Patriotic Journalists. He is the author of three books: Stories from the Hayek Cafe, Notes from a Conservative Liberal and Journey with Orwell.