While we panic about a virus that is not as serious as it was made out to be, alarming levels of governmental interference have seeped into our lives
Imagine if the government told us to ‘avoid sleepovers’ and not to ‘hug Granny’ last christmas. They would have been ridiculed and laughed out of town. I can imagine the ridiculous memes on left-wing and anti-Tory forums. Roll on a year and there seems to be very little resistance to almost orwellian levels of authoritarian government intervention. Why?
The Trojan Horse Analogy
1250 BC. The remaining fireplace embers sleepily sizzle as they grow weary of the day. Men and women settle down to sleep, a warm feeling of content spreading through their bodies. The last remaining watchmen pull their cloaks closer as a breath of icy wind from beyond the city walls reminds them of the safety of the metropolis they protect.
Everything is as still as the surface of a lake after a storm. Every so often, a gentle snort from the stables can be made out, and a curled up cat’s ears twitch momentarily.
Troy’s walls are one of the wonders of the modern world and have not been breached for the 10 years it has been under siege from the Greeks. They have no reason to suspect a large wooden edifice modelled in the shape of a horse is anything other than an offering to the goddess Athena. But as the night wears on, the underbelly opens and out pours a cohort of elite greek soldiers, led by Odysseus. They move silently through the city, almost like a virus, snuffing out the lives of every Trojan as had been done to the embers just hours before.
Hundreds of years of work building a was undone in what appeared to be one night where they let their guard down. However, it was likely an event like this had been brewing for much longer, because the people of Troy had become accustomed to their safe lives, their standards had dropped and they allowed themselves to forget the sacrifices their ancestors made to build a civilisation as magnificent as Troy.
It seems the same is happening in the UK. We have forgotten the blood spilled by our predecessors to fight for a democratic society. A fair society where the will of the people is best reflected by authorities and one where governments cannot exert too much power too easily. Too many times in our history have governments proclaimed they are doing ‘what is best for the people’ without actually consulting those they pretend to protect. And too many times the idea of ‘we know better’ has snowballed into a damaging wrecking ball of ruling elites oppressing the citizens of a nation.
A possible reason
I believe a big reason for the lack of opposition to authoritarian government intervention, especially among youngsters who should be the most rebellious, is the erosion of free speech in our institutions. There has been a ‘Cromwellian’ atmosphere sweeping UK Universities and Media for a while now, which reeks of a puritanical oppression of creativity and joy. But most importantly it suppresses opinions which do not fit the ‘orthodoxy’.
It has made many youngsters scared and afraid to express themselves unless it fits into an ever narrowing set of views. It has also made some believe that only one set of views is right or ‘caring’. If the government are acting in a way which is in line with the orthodoxy, then it is considered ‘acceptable’. This is despite them being ‘The Tories’ who were so hated by the left before Covid-19.
The Government has provided income for millions of people, shut down vast swathes of private entities and business, and is policing our every move, in an unprecedented display of socialist policy. We might as well have Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell in power.
As a society we also pay a lot of attention to the ‘crickets in the field’ on social media. They make a lot of noise but in fact make up a very small minority of people. This makes many young people think there is this huge groundswell of people all ready to attack them if they speak against this imaginary ‘orthodoxy’. There isn’t. The majority of people are moderate, free thinkers who do not lead such pitifull lives that they have to spend all their time on Instagram.
The scary part is that authoritarian dictatorships always start this way. They infiltrate society under the guise of being benign, in stressful situations where they exploit the most vulnerable people’s genuine concerns and feelings. As I always say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The rate at which we are allowing our liberties and free speech to be eroded suggests we have forgotten the hundreds of years of work on free speech and democracy. It is often too late by the time people realise the importance of these.
What do you think? Read the next installment in the Covid-19 Review here!