Originally published on The BedermanBlog
“We are not content with negative obedience, nor even with the most abject submission. When finally you surrender to us, it must be of your own free will.~ George Orwell
God is weeping. He told us 365 times in the Hebrew Bible – do not fear. Three hundred and sixty five times. One warning per day, every day. And what have we done. We have given into fear. What does fear do? Sometimes it gives us courage to fight back. Too often, fear frightens us unto submission. We allow ourselves of our own free will, to become enslaved, again.
We, all of us, every race, colour, creed and sexual orientation, were to have learned from the Jewish people’s exile and slavery in Egypt that fear is contagious and holds us back. Instead of looking forward, as we are told to do, we look back, like Lot’s wife.
After 400 years of enslavement under Pharaoh, the Jews were freed at last. And what did they do? Within days they looked back fondly on the past. The food wasn’t so bad. At least there were beds; shelter. There appears to be within us a desire to go back to the womb, back to the Garden where all of our needs are met – even if they are met under slavery. So, God, in His infinite wisdom and kindness decided to wait until all of those forever enslaved to the past had died and the new generation, untouched by enslavement, would be ready to go forward without fear into the future.
It seems we need to be reminded over and over about freedom and its fragility. How easy it is to give it up: from fear of freedom, itself. I remember the 1994 movie The Shawshank Redemption. We meet Andy Dufresne, who has been wrongly convicted of two murders and is sentenced to two consecutive life terms. In jail he befriends Brooks, who has been in jail for decades. Brooks is paroled after serving fifty years. He leaves jail, his home of fifty years. A place where he was told what to do, when and how, and was given everything he needed. We watch him as he exits the gates and see right away that he is uncomfortable. He is taken into town, given a place to stay—and is lost. Frightened, he doesn’t know what to do. He can’t manage the freedom that was suddenly bestowed upon him, so he hangs himself.
That is what we are doing, today, out of fear, promoted by our medical and political leaders; we are hanging ourselves – slowly, into submission, willing to give up our right to free speech, free assembly, free will; to freedom! And we have sat back as we watched as others, standing up for freedom and free speech, have been taken down – for having the audacity to share a different perspective than the one promoted by reigning governments.
We have traveled this road before. We watched as Germans gave into Hitler’s demands, too scared to disobey Nazi laws. Looking back, today, where cancel culture has frightened people into silence, I think we have a better understanding of the German people under Hitler. Fear leads to submission!
And, sadly, we watched and have forgotten how Jews, out of fear, allowed themselves to believe the lies of the Nazis. They allowed themselves to believe that all would be well if they just followed orders. In Hungary, Adolph Eichmann convinced the Jewish Council of Budapest to trust him and keep the Jewish community calm, not to worry. So the Jewish leadership told the people not to worry and cooperate. Soon Jews were wearing the Jewish star on their clothes. Then telephones were taken away and the shops were closed, appliances were taken away. And yet the final letter sent out by the Budapest Jewish Council exhorted the Jews to comply with all regulations to avoid a disaster. Despite everything that was taking place, fear kept the leadership from speaking truth. And in the end, as Katie Marton wrote in her book, Wallenberg, soon the gendarmes ran out of things to take away so they took people to Auschwitz.
So what has happened since then that we are so quickly enslaved by fear?
We have had it too good. Too many generations of people have been handed freedom, without a fight, and they have taken that freedom for granted. They have no idea what it means to fight for one’s freedom and just as importantly, the freedom of others. So, with a dose or two of fear they submit – to tyranny, drip by drip.
And what is happening, today, regarding Covid and the vaccine is nothing less than tyranny even when wrapped up in good intentions. Democracy demands that we follow the majority rule, but always respect and protect the minority. Not anymore.
We are being manipulated by a moral panic. In the fourth century CE, John Chrysostom (which means “golden mouth”) preached the importance of persuasion. One “cannot be dragged back by force, nor restrained by fear, but must be led by persuasion.” Instead of persuading people to take the vaccine, we are being coerced. It’s for our protection; the collective good and just as we put on masks for the collective, we can take this vaccine, as well. So what if it has not been tested on animals or that Austria is reviewing the AstraZeneca vaccine. So what if I do not want to take the vaccine.
Take the vaccine, or else.
Submit, or lose your right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I am not against vaccines. They have saved millions of people. I was one of the first cohorts to take the polio oral vaccine. But this isn’t polio. Nor is it small pox.
In 2020 the total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 was 0.028 per cent of the world’s population. That is smaller than the 0.031 per cent of the global population estimated as excess deaths due to the H2N2 flu virus in 1957-58. In 1918-19, 1.1 to 2.75 per cent of the world’s population died from the “Spanish flu”, which targeted the young.Worldwide 2.2 million persons had deaths attributed to Covid in 2020 compared to the 57 million who died from all causes in 2019.
But now we are witnessing countries promoting a Green Covid Passport. We will be forced to prove we have received the vaccine with a Passport. If you do not take the vaccine you lose freedom – to socialize, to travel, to board a plane or enter a store. Show me your papers! Such a little thing to do to be able to get out of a lockdown, right? And when will those Passports no longer be needed? Or will we need to have a booster each year and get our Green Covid Passports stamped? Keep in mind, we are still under the 2001 security protocols at airports. It has been 20 years of taking off shoes, removing glasses and sweaters and coats. Going through scanners and X-Ray machines. We have learned from 9/11 that once freedom is taken – for our own good – it is never retuned without a fight; if there is even a fight.
These Passports are dividing us into two groups – all over the world; those who have accepted the vaccine and those will not take the vaccine, for whatever reason. I have severe drug allergies. Taking the vaccine is not in my best interest. To what group will I belong? The non-vaccine where I will wear the Mark of Cain, or will I be allowed to mingle with those who have been vaccinated?
I listen to people justify some loss of freedom. As long as it is not their freedom. In Canada, citizens returning home by plane must be quarantined in a hotel for three days, at their own expense. Why? If you have the address why does the person need to quarantine when you can track them at home – because you must give them your phone number? Well, so some say, don’t travel, now. Oh, don’t travel, now. So you aren’t traveling so who cares if others lose their freedom?
Echoes of Niemöller.
That’s how submission works.
What does it take for us to learn that being quiet never works out well?
When will we learn that fighting for one’s own freedom is selfish, it is fighting for the freedom of others that is the better part of valour.
Do not fear, sayeth the Lord. For I am with you.
Do not fear.
Silence is collusion
From the Ethics of the Fathers: “Rabbi Tarfon used to say, it is not incumbent upon you to complete the task, but you are not exempt from undertaking it.”