Reagan’s vision relevant today

By John Carpay, The Interim

Must freedom perish in a quiet, deadening accommodation with totalitarian evil? This question was asked by U.S. President Ronald Reagan in a speech he gave to the Parliament of the United Kingdom on June 8, 1982. Four decades later, Reagan’s speech is just as relevant.

“Democracy’s enemies have refined their instruments of oppression,” noted Reagan. How true today, considering Communist China’s “social credit” system, by which the state monitors the movement, travel, website posts, and purchasing decisions of citizens. The government rewards good communist citizens with greater access to travel, lower rates of interest on loans, and better schools for their children. Chinese people who criticize the regime find themselves unable to board a plane or train. Canada took a step towards Chinese-style “social credit” with vaccine passports. Canadians were required to divulge personal, private medical information to total strangers in order to live their normal daily lives and enjoy basic freedoms. Even today, Canadians who have refused the Covid injections (for which there is no long-term safety data) are punished with two weeks of home quarantine upon their return to Canada, while “good” Canadians face no such restriction on their freedom.

The enormous power of the modern state threatens human freedom, Reagan declared in 1982. He singled out the Soviet Union as running “against the tide of history by denying human freedom and human dignity to its citizens.” During the past 28 months, Canada’s federal and provincial politicians have not cited “building socialism” or “creating the worker’s paradise” as their pretext for violating our Charter rights and freedoms. Instead, the politicians’ pretext has been a virus that is worse than the average annual flu, but less than one per cent as deadly as the Spanish Flu of 1918. All of the restrictions on our rights and freedoms in the past 28 months have been based on the false claim of Dr. Neil Ferguson, made in March 2020, that Covid would be like the Spanish Flu of 1918.

“We must be staunch in our conviction that freedom is not the sole prerogative of a lucky few but the inalienable universal right of all human beings,” said Reagan. Forty years later, freedoms were and are denied to Canadians who make the legitimate and reasonable decision to exercise autonomy over their own bodies by refusing a new vaccine. The vaccine manufacturers have stated publicly that Covid vaccines do not stop the spread of the virus. And the Delta and Omicron variants spread quickly throughout societies with high vaccination rates, so there is no medical or scientific basis for discriminating against those who do not get these shots.

In 1982, communists had already ruled Russia for 65 years. It appeared that they would stay in power for many decades to come. Pro-freedom revolts in East Germany (1953), Hungary (1956), and Czechoslovakia (1968) had been ruthlessly supressed. People feared, legitimately, that the Soviets might invade Poland to supress its Solidarity movement. In spite of this dark and dire situation, Reagan called for the “rejection of the arbitrary power of the state,” recognizing that “collectivism stifles all the best human impulses, since the exodus from Egypt.” In the face of this oppression, Reagan declared with confidence that “the march for freedom and democracy” will “leave Marxism Leninism on the ash heap of history, as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people.” He reminded his listeners that “the forces of good ultimately rally and triumph over evil,” and that this struggle would be waged by “a test of wills and ideas” not bombs and rockets.   

Alluding to the error of appeasing Hitler in the 1930s, and alluding to those who wanted to appease the Soviet Union in the 1980s, Reagan stated: “If history teaches anything, it teaches that self-delusion in the face of unpleasant facts is folly.”

The unpleasant facts that Canadians in 2022 should not delude themselves include the expansion of government surveillance over Canadians’ private lives through vaccine passports that can be re-introduced on a moment’s notice. Canadians have a choice. We can allow freedom to perish in a quiet, deadening accommodation with Charter-violating health orders and mandates. Or we can see to it that the march for freedom will leave the unscientific laws and policies of the past 28 months on the ash heap of history, with other forms of tyranny that stifle the human spirit and trample on human dignity.