Why Speak Up?

I had an interesting experience after my last post. I mentioned how liberty was at stake when men and women who, seeing injustice, abuse of power and neglect of law by those in positions of authority, instead of writing confidently to expose such things to the light of public opinion for the benefit of all, find themselves questioning whether or not it would be prudent to do so as they might very well get into trouble for making the effort.

Well the interesting thing was that someone I know told me that I should be careful writing about these conspiracies and don’t be surprised if the government shows up at the door. They said, “Do you think you can change anything? Why don’t you just enjoy life and stop worrying about this stuff?” My first reaction was fear. Maybe they were right. I have never been terribly courageous. Speaking up could be dangerous. Maybe they’re right. How can one person without a lot of readers (so far!) hope to change the momentous events of our time?

Then after some moments thought I realized – they had just proved my point.  Why speak up? I guess an a couple of examples would help illustrate my point.

The first and most obvious is the Holocaust. The gassing of millions of Jews and others didn’t happen overnight. There was a progression. They were demonized, castigated, assaulted and segregated. Once they had been sufficiently dehumanized then the disappearances started. People noted neighbours taken in the night. Fellow workers who never showed up for work but not from being fired. Oh there had always been rumours but who wanted to step out of line and get in trouble for a bunch of Jews?

Most historians would say that had the German people rose up and said no to the events transpiring in their country the Holocaust never would have happened. But they waited to long. Once it got past the point where people could no longer speak out without danger of arrest for being a radical or an enemy of the state – a Jew lover – then the only means of resisting would be violence. How many people would be willing to die for a group of people that they would not even say a few words to defend?

And to add an historic note. The effects of the Holocaust on the German psyche cannot be overrated. The young Germans of today still bear the weight of shame from the actions of their grandparents. If events occur to cause that shame to turn into anger what future horrors could result?

My other example would be the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. While this internment did not result in the physical deaths of those Japanese, it did result in the destruction of lives and families. It resulted in the destruction of honour and the undermining of the rule of law in the United States.

To think that in America, of all places on earth, innocent citizens could be rounded up as suspected criminals purely because of their ethnicity is mind boggling. If the American people had spoken up they could have prevented that injustice. It is a blight on the history of a great country that can never be removed and if things at present are not stopped and reversed it could happen again.

So why bother speaking up? For our children. All the above examples have one thing in common with the events that are unfolding now. Fear. Fear has paralyzed the citizenry and allowed governments and corporations to trample our liberties and stifle opposition to their policies and actions. Fear has caused us to throw up our hands and shout, “We don’t care what you do just make us safe!” 

That’s what the Germans said, and that’s why they allowed their fellow Germans to be rounded up and murdered. That’s what the Americans said during WWII, and that’s why they stood by while thousands of their countrymen were rounded up and imprisoned. That’s why, today, governments in the ‘free’ world are changing from servants of the people to separate entities that set themselves up as lords over the people. Setting up police states that militarize their police and teach them that the public is the enemy and that even grandma is a threat. Police no longer patrol neighbourhoods but ‘sectors’. They drive around in reinforced personnel carriers, Humvees and tanks. They show up at peaceful protests armed to the teeth with plastic cuffs for just about everybody and then use agent provocateurs to start a riot in order to break up the protest.

Another thing that begins to happen in a state of fear is that the people turn against each other to remain in the good graces of the State. Neighbours inform on their neighbours. Family inform on each other. Friends stab their friends in the back. Find someone who escaped from any communist country and ask them what it was like living in a country where you couldn’t trust anybody.

The problem is you can’t be free and safe in our world. Freedom brings an element of risk to the equation. But as Benjamin Franklin once said, “He who would trade a little freedom for a little security deserves neither freedom or security.”

So if we do not want our children to grow up in a society paralyzed and enslaved by fear. If we want our children to grow up in a country whose government serves them and does not subjugate them. Where they can trust the police and not fear them and they can live in communities that don’t rat on each other. Then we need to speak up now.

People are under the naive belief that governments are naturally benevolent. They are not. They attract ambitious people who usually crave power and we all know the maxim, “Absolute power corrupt absolutely.” Therefore we must speak up and demand that the governments respect and honour the Constitutions that protect us, the people, from tyranny.

Constitutions are under attack. Why? Because they restrict government. A Canadian Supreme Court Justice once commented in an opinion from the bench that, “All that is needed for the freedom of the people is the shackling of government.” So when you hear leaders referring to the Constitution as “just a piece of paper” or “a document written for a different time” warning bells should be going off. Monster warning bells.

Why speak up? Because we see. Because we can.