Can We See the Tyranny That’s Already Here?
Perhaps, for Americans, the most shocking thing about the autocratic power-grab in Canada is the failure of our own government to speak out — forcefully — against it. Instead, the current administration is engaged in a similar process of trampling dissent, right here in the good old U.S.A.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau didn’t simply adopt temporary “emergency powers” to clear the streets of big rigs, as much of an overreach as that was. What he did appears to be even more serious, as he’s shown no intention of relinquishing those powers now that the protest has been broken up.
The despotism we so easily recognize around the world is becoming entrenched right here, right now. We can’t permit it.
In an update to the above story, the leftists in the Canadian parliament have shown themselves to be accomplices of this tyrant, voting to allow him to extend his “emergency” powers after the emergency is over. Read this and be shocked.
And Robert Spencer at PJ Media has a must-read commentary on what has just happened there. Note especially the new regulations for crowdfunding and payment platforms. He’s right: this is how democracies die, by starving dissenters financially.
Unforgivable Abuse of Power
On Monday, Tucker Carlson interviewed a man who’d been repeatedly kneed by police in Ottawa after cooperatively climbing down from his rig, kneeling before police, and putting his hands behind his head. Ironically, this man, named Csaba Vizi, had come to Canada after fleeing Communist Romania.
Video of him inside his truck shows him calmly describing to police how he’s going to surrender peacefully and get on his knees. Then he does so, and waits for them to take him away. But as he tells it, he heard someone yell, “Arrest him! Arrest him!” and he was pushed down onto his stomach. They piled on top of him. We see from other video taken from farther away that one cop very forcefully kneed him, over and over, as he lay on the ground. “I feel like I was beaten, but I took it like a man,” he said.
Yes, they had injured him, he said. “They break my body a little bit, but not my spirit.”
He said that when he came to Canada from Romania, he loved it there, especially the friendly people. He was “so happy.” It was like that for 20 years, but the last couple of years have been different. “It’s impossible to live here anymore,” he said.
A quote from George Orwell featured Monday on Instapundit seems apt:
I have no particular love for the idealized ‘worker’ as he appears in the bourgeois, but when I see an actual flesh-and-blood worker in conflict with his natural enemy, the policeman, I do not have to ask myself which side I am on.
It’s a shame to see a policeman treat a compliant “worker” such as Csaba Vizi as a natural enemy. Those chilling video images depict an unforgivable abuse of power.
By coincidence, that Orwell quote led into discussion of an article by Glenn Greenwald that I was already planning to highlight in today’s commentary. Greenwald has a new piece on Substack called “The Neoliberal War on Dissent in the West.”
Greenwald comes from what used to be the political left; he would call himself a classical liberal, someone who believes in freedom and free thought, religious freedom, civil rights, equality under the law (as opposed to “equity”), and a government limited by the Constitution. But in the 21st century, classical liberalism has given way to “progressive” authoritarian neoliberalism, with its rigid beliefs, two-tier “justice” system, and strict censorship. He knows these people well. And he has a big reality check for us.
We in America have no problem recognizing tyranny across the globe: A Chinese tank sitting ready to crush a lone protester in Tiananmen Square. An East German wiretapper spying on the lives of others behind the Berlin Wall before it fell. The censorship and even criminalization of all dissent. “Re-education” camps. Journalists silenced. We know it when we see it if it’s someplace far away.
But This is America
But when it’s right here in front of us, in a democracy, we might have a little more trouble recognizing it for what it is: the same kind of tyranny. And if we do see it, there’s still something faintly heretical to some of us about admitting it out loud. It’s as if the idea of this happening in a Western democracy were so absurd it can’t be real. I’d liken this situation to one in which a horrendous crime has happened in your own neighborhood. “This just doesn’t happen here,” you likely think. Your neighborhood has always seemed…different. When it happens somewhere else, you take notice, but when it’s two houses down, you’re in shock.
When we were children and pledged allegiance to the Flag, and said “one nation under God,” we took for granted that the freedom given to us by God would always remain, that America was special, shielded by Divine power. It had existed for about 200 years, which to a child is an eternity. As we grew older, we knew there were wars and that freedom can be taken away by other human beings, but, other than the vague atomic threat from faraway Soviet Russia, we still had that feeling of comfort and safety inside our own borders. This was America.
We assumed that the Bill of Rights protected us as individuals, even if we disagreed with the majority. Our country was set up as a democratic republic, not a pure, majority-rule democracy that might be prone to “popular” uprisings that squelched the rights of the minority. And it has lasted that way for a long time.
Despotism — Even in America
But now, even in America, we’re seeing despotism. It’s easy to point to situations in which “due process” doesn’t even apply. In civil asset forfeiture, for example, the government will seize your assets before you’ve even been charged with a crime, let alone convicted. It’s blatantly unconstitutional. Justin Trudeau has done something similar in Canada, freezing assets not only of the protesters but even of people who donated a few dollars to buy them meals. When we witness such tyranny in, say, Russia, we see it for what it is. It’s the same thing here.
Greenwald cites the decade-long repression of Julian Assange as another example. Then-Attorney General Eric Holder, after investigating for years, failed to find evidence of criminality, but financial institutions such as MasterCard, VISA, PayPal and Bank of America were pressured by the Senate Homeland Security Committee into terminating WikiLeaks’ accounts, crippling it.
Financial pressure is a standard weapon these days, with the government joining forces with corporations. GoFundMe tried to steal — I mean, divert, millions in donations intended for the truckers. When GiveSendGo raised millions more, Canadian courts blocked their distribution. The financial system is being used to crush dissent.
Greenwald notes recent protests against the Spanish government by people in Barcelona who wanted more autonomy. The government came down hard on the protesters, treating them like terrorists, seditionists, and insurrectionists. (Sound familiar?) Protesters were treated violently, arrested en masse, charged with terrorism and sedition and given long prison sentences.
And when Julian Assange spoke up about how wrong this was, Ecuador rescinded his asylum at their London embassy. They cut off his internet access. Then they allowed London police to come and arrest him.
Anyway, Greenwald makes a critical point: The despotism we so easily recognize around the world is becoming entrenched right here, right now. We can’t permit it.
Mike Huckabee is the former governor of Arkansas and longtime conservative commentator on issues in culture and current events. A New York Times best-selling author, he hosts the weekly talk show Huckabee on TBN.
Originally published at MikeHuckabee.com. Reprinted with permission.