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.