Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

After the corona restrictions, we need many more limits to protect democracy

Long ago, democracy already found that never saying no leads to unfreedom

Hopefully, the temporary life-saving corona restrictions will only mark the beginning of a further permanent limiting of freedoms that are abused in threatening democracy. We’ve seen a hint of this progress when US President Trump was removed from social media.

I define democracy (loosely) as a political system based on the assumption that all people are of equal and enormous value, without some inherently superior to others.

The system had become sick. It made freedom its idol. It’s so bad that even freedoms that threaten the very essence of democracy have been upheld.

This must stop. Any freedom in democracies stops where it unfairly and systematically threatens or endangers the lives of certain citizens.

Freedom of speech, the press, and assembly cannot be abused to demean sections of the population — or even: other people on earth. As soon as someone preaches hatred, disseminates hurtful stereotypes, or promotes fundamental superiority or elitism of one group over another, this person has placed himself outside of democracy and its rights to promote this.

So, Neo-Nazi groups cannot claim the freedom of speech, freedom to hold a demonstration, freedom to bear arms, equality in any debate.

There is freedom of speech, but no freedom to spread lies or deceive. For too long, most winners of elections were the best liars and pretenders.

Even spokespeople for majorities cannot trample the fundamental rights and equality of minorities. This must be ruled obsolete, illegal, and taboo.

This should include any words that make the street less safe for women, non-Caucasians, Jews, LGBTQIAU+, people physically exceptional, etc.

Also not in Parliament or behind closed doors. Maybe only in therapy.

I’d even limit permission to hurt oneself. There’s no rationale for allowing widespread drug use. Not because it’s immoral or is provided by crime syndicates, but rather, because each individual is too dear and precious.

You already must buckle up and sometimes wear helmets (motorbike, building sites) because otherwise, society cannot bear the costs of the injuries. But, the same should be true for smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol. But there is more.

If daily, people need anti-depressants or coffee to be productive, there is something wrong in society and it must be changed. The same with daily hanging in front of the TV or using drugs as escapism. Together with improving working and financial conditions, behavior that hurts our health must be outlawed because a democracy cares about us.

Is this scary? I betcha. It smacks totalitarian regimes. It can deteriorate into a dictatorship. But when a constitution speaks of the indomitable equality and value of every person, we should have little to fear. We can tell the difference (immediately or eventually) if a parent, spouse, or state saying no because it’s not good for us or because they are tyrants.

Liberation and freedom sound so good. But when they are elevated as an absolute good, to be our guiding idols, they’ll destroy human equality and its foundation, the democratic society. Human rights and freedom are no stand-alone rights; they only function well in tandem with a democratic society. Those without respect for everyone forgo the privilege to use the rights and freedoms of democracy don’t want for everyone equally.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500th blog post with the ToI. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To find his earlier blog posts on a certain subject XXX, among his over 1200 ones, go to the right-top corner of the Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". His second daily active less tame blog, to which one may subscribe, one may find here: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/ or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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