With COVID lockdowns and mandates rearing their ugly heads thanks to Omicron — just think, we still have the letters p-z to go — we are once again reminded that living in liberty requires the rejection of the politics of fear and tyranny.
Fear paralyzes. Fear neutralizes. Fear is perhaps the most powerful weapon that government has to silence and control the masses.
Montesquieu, a famous theorist in the 1600-1700s, wrote a book called The Spirit of the Laws. In this, he details the spirit that must be present for different forms of government to exist and thrive.
A despot or dictator must fear the people for if he doesn’t, the people will sense his weakness and pounce on the opportunity to overthrow him. Likewise, the people must fear the power and force of the dictator if his power over them is to last.
You don’t find this in a democracy or a monarchy. Montesquieu says that honor must be present in a monarchy and virtue in a democracy. The nobility must act honorably, as must the people, for a monarchy to last.
In a democracy — which I extrapolate to mean a republic in the US — virtue, or love and respect of the law, must be present. In other words, those in power must respect and honor the law (The Constitution), and so must the people.
Fear is nowhere present in either of these scenarios, only in a despotism.
“I have never thought, for my part, that man’s freedom consists in his being able to do whatever he wills, but that he should not, by any human power, be forced to do what is against his will.”
— Jean-Jacques Rousseau
The United States of America is NOT a despotism. Why are we acting like we are? We are a liberty-loving, individual responsibility-taking, courageous “give me liberty or give me death” fighting, group of people.
Fear is a real and legitimate emotion, one that is given for a legitimate purpose and use. But when governments and corporations or others in power utilize fear to their own advantage to grow their own power, society has slipped into what Montesquieu described as despotism.
No rational decisions should be made from a position of fear, nor should our own personal decisions be made for us out of fear. We are free will individuals born with the God-given right to choose if we want to stay in or go out. This is not a decision for government to make for us. Never has been and never should be.
“People have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want and the courage to take.”
— Emma Goldman
Never in the history of the world have we ever stopped life for sickness; it is a part of life.
“It is indeed difficult to imagine how men who have entirely renounced the habit of managing their own affairs could be successful in choosing those who ought to lead them. It is impossible to believe that a liberal, energetic, and wise government can ever emerge from the ballots of a nation of servants.”
— Alexis de Tocqueville
Liberty is a gift from God. Liberty motivates. Liberty requires work, passion and diligence. Fear provides an excuse to avoid work, passion, and diligence. Liberty expects and requires more of humanity. Fear immobilizes humanity.
Fear and liberty don’t have to be mutually exclusive; neither can they co-exist equally. We either give up all personal responsibility for ourselves and let fear rule our lives, or we accept responsibility for ourselves, embrace liberty, and accept the consequences.
The politics of COVID tyranny and fear, or God-given liberty? The choice is ours, America.
This article has been edited for publication and is used by permission.
Christin McMasters is a South Carolinian now residing in North Carolina and has a Ph.D. in political science. She is a budding blogger and political science instructor, and her passion is politics.
Using her keyboard as her weapon of choice, Christin imparts some of her excitement, passion and knowledge about American government on her website, TheLibertyBelleNC.com.