Many moons ago, I wrote of two different ideas of freedom: “freedom from” and “freedom to”.

“Freedom from” is the over-arching principle of that great document of liberty, the US Constitution. “Freedom from” is the principle that freedom means to be free from restriction. “Freedom to” is the competing principle that we are only free to do what the state allows us.

“Freedom to” is the default position of most of the contemporary left and authoritarians: we are only free insofar as we are allowed to do certain things. For all their talk of “rights”, the “freedom to” mentality shows that freedom is treated as a privilege to be granted or taken away by the state, not an inherent right we possess as human beings.

Most obviously, in the Chinese pandemic, it is clear that too many governments have come to regard freedom as something the state gives or takes on a whim. When politicians openly talk of “granting limited freedoms”, it is as clear an admission as any that we are not free.

How kind of the NSW Premier. Gladys Berejiklian has lifted Sydney’s curfew “as a token of our appreciation” for people getting vaccinated.

Berejiklian is actually Australia’s most freedom-friendly Premier. So we’re in strife when even she treats our freedoms like good-doggie biscuits.

This is the authoritarian mindset of today’s elites. They are not the servants of the free citizens who elect them; they are virtual gods, who giveth or taketh away our freedom as they see fit.

All the palaver about “saving lives” and “following the science” is a lie. The evidence is clear that most of the restrictions imposed on our freedom, from lockdowns to mass masking, are at best useless, at worst more threatening than the virus they pretend to combat. The very fact that the most oppressive politicians are maintaining secret polling on how well their restrictions are received shows that it is politics, first and foremost, not “science”. The contempt of so many celebrity scientists for their own restrictions shows what they really believe.

How can so many useless bans be imposed?

Simple: because of a dangerous contempt for freedom.

So I no longer trust our politicians to hand back the freedoms they took “for our own good”.

Wednesday gave us more reason to think it will take a war to become free again.

Politicians talked as if even getting 80 per cent of adults vaccinated would not be when we’re set free, but when we’re just tossed a few more good-doggie biscuits – a few of the freedoms we once considered our right, not reward.

This is the essential point some of us have tried to get across ever since everyone meekly submitted en masse to draconian restrictions: once politicians seize absolute power, they will not give it up willingly.

Remember when it started with “two weeks to flatten the curve”? Nearly two years later, we’re nowhere nearer being free. Victoria’s “state of emergency” has been extended to at least the end of this year – when it will almost certainly be renewed, thanks to a closed-down parliament and backroom deals with a handful of micro-party MPs. New Zealand’s current “short, sharp” lockdown is its longest yet, and still counting.

Politicians talked as if even getting 80 per cent of adults vaccinated would not be when we’re set free, but when we’re just tossed a few more good-doggie biscuits – a few of the freedoms we once considered our right, not reward.


Anyone who argues, “Just comply, we’ll get our freedoms back” is a fool. Even when the majority of us submit to vaccination (which should only ever be a choice made rationally and freely for the sake of a person’s own health, not a government mandate), politicians are already wriggling past the 70%, 80%, even the 90% threshold.

The message is clear: we will never get back the full freedoms that are ours by right without a struggle. At best, we will be thrown a few token crumbs to keep us quiet and compliant.

This is what the rolling protests in Melbourne are about. A few fringe loonies might be trying to capitalise on the protest. The initial protest at CFMEU headquarters was rowdy and anarchic. A handful of protesters indulged in deplorable violence – although subsequent protests were smarter and more peaceful. But, above all, these are the protests of ordinary people pushed and shoved until they lash out.

Sneer at them as politicians, media and cowards might, the fact remains that they are standing up for what should be everyone’s by right: freedom.

As the old union song goes: Which side are you on?

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Freedom Is Ours by Right, Not Theirs to Dole Out as a Reward

Lushington D. Brady

Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In last decade or...