Saturday, July 29, 2023

Gary Judd KC: Freedom is a precious commodity

Suppressing opinion is just the start of attempts to take it away

Having been involved with the political left in my youth and early adulthood, I had the same thoughts as Thomas More [“It continues to amaze me that ideals we used to think of as espoused by the political left have been abandoned by so-called "progressive" activists, freedom being just one of them”] as I read the Halfling's first-rate observations about the devaluation of the concept of freedom (link).

I came to realize that lurking beneath the veneer of freedom-articulation was an authoritarian substratum of believed infallibility. The evil of believed infallibility was captured by John Stuart Mill when he said, "[T]he opinion which it is attempted to suppress by authority may possibly be true. Those who desire to suppress it, of course deny its truth; but they are not infallible. They have no authority to decide the question for all mankind, and exclude every other person from the means of judging. To refuse a hearing to an opinion, because they are sure that it is false, is to assume that their certainty is the same thing as absolute certainty. All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility." He added, a few lines later, that "[persons] who are accustomed to unlimited deference, usually feel this complete confidence in their own opinions on nearly all subjects."

The frequent portrayal by the commentariat of freedom as "somehow weird or subversive" that the Halfling writes about is an attempt to use the power of the voice they have to suppress opposing views by ridicule or worse, instead of engaging in rational debate.

Suppressing opposing views by “demonizing dissent,” to use the Halfling’s phrase, is a precursor to the use of violence to shut down voices not agreed with. We saw this graphically in the Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull (aka Posie Parker) disgrace, where some politicians and the media demonized Keen-Minshull, and the Albert Park violence perpetrated against her and woman there to hear her was the sequela.

World War II posed a tangible threat to physical freedom. Wondering why the concept of freedom is being more and more devalued, it has occurred to me that the further removed in time people are from the last time there was an existential threat to freedom from domination by a foreign power, the more they fail to realize that freedom is a precious commodity, the denial of which may start in small ways but imperceptibly extend into all facets of life in the absence of conscious efforts to sustain it.

Gary Judd KC is a King's Counsel, former Chairman of ASB and Ports of Auckland and former member APEC Business Advisory Council. Gary blogs at Gary Judd KC Substack where this article was sourced.


Anonymous said...

“...Cities may be rebuilt, and a People reduced to Poverty, may acquire fresh Property: But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever. When the People once surrendered their share in the Legislature, and their Right of defending the Limitations upon the Government, and of resisting every Encroachment upon them, they can never regain it.”
― John Adams

Rob Beechey said...

We share so many parallels with the Marxist movement in the States. Whoever pulls the strings for the empty vessel Biden, is promoting the same message. “Freedom of speech online are weapons of war” shrilled Ardern to a tiny UN audience on the second day.
How easy it is to dumb down a gullible population with propaganda by forbidding debate.
Joseph Goebbels was an expert. Our MSM comes in a close second. Breaking Views must be a vexing problem to them.

Barend Vlaardingerbroek said...

We don't need any foreign power threat to lose our freedoms. A public declaration of allegiance to the re-re-revised ToW is a prerequisite to getting a job in any of a number of fields, certainly education. Sing from the prescribed songsheet or sling your hook. The horse has already bolted!