Of Trudeaus and Truckers
A lot of Canadian truckers from across the country, though it seems primarily from Western Canada — historically hated and belittled by those at the heart of downtown Trudeaupia — have “descended upon,” or rather rolled horizontally into, the nation’s capital, and subsequently fanned out to various other conspicuous locations, to announce their objection to certain Trudeau policies related to the Covid-19 pandemic, most particularly the policy of completely abandoning any notion of upholding the principle of individual freedom.
First reaction: Who cares?
Second take: What do these people expect to accomplish?
Upon reconsideration: It has proven relatively easy, historically, to get a Trudeau to declare himself dictator-for-the-time-being. It is always manifestly obvious that such declarations are on the tip of a Trudeau’s golden tongue from the moment he is old enough to say “F*** you.” Self-appointed tyrannical powers are, shall we say, a sort of Trudeau birthright. Hence, it is no surprise that Justin, the Baby-Faced Asinine, has chosen to activate the same powers his dad invoked in 1970 during the FLQ crisis. At least back then the context was a targeted effort to stop a terrorist organization in mid-terrorism, rather than merely, as in the current case, a general desire for the authority to punish one’s unworthy and uncowed citizen critics by freezing their bank accounts — you know, the way they do in China. In short, whereas Pierre Trudeau was a smug pseudo-intellectual with fantasies of being a Mao or Castro, Justin is more like a freshman in the women’s studies department caught in her first real-life argument with a woman who thinks feminism is for losers and abortion is murder: out of her depth, incapable of brooking, let alone answering, rational disagreement, her instinct is to run to the dean demanding that people with such views be expelled from the university. This tactic tends to work remarkably well at today’s university. Imagine how well it would work if the women’s studies freshman herself were also the dean.
Frankly, however, I still don’t have satisfactory answers for my first two questions, above. This whole truckers protest, however reasonably it may have begun, when the issue was vaccine mandates for border crossings, plain and simple, just feels like a lot of generalized chest-beating populist carelessness to me at this point — collective anger from the sticks running up against the more hierarchical “top-down” style of authoritarianism from Ottawa. We saw this same drama played out in the U.S. over the past six years, to utterly catastrophic effect from the point of view of liberty, the rule of law, and sober citizenship. The fact that these protesters hold up signs demanding “Freedom” certainly does not make them kooks or racists, as their totalitarianism-friendly critics in Parliament or the media would like to claim. But neither does it make them serious advocates of freedom in a sense that could be defined and embodied within political institutions and legal frameworks. They feel tyrannized right now, which is understandable because it is true. But what do they want? What kind of world do they prefer? Whence do they imagine they derive any sort of authority to force their demands on anyone? What vision of Canada’s future are they operating under? How many of them could even answer these questions coherently, let alone promisingly? Their American counterparts in 2016 were shouting for freedom a lot too — a primal scream, as defenders argued, somewhat accurately; but in the end they identified freedom with Trumpism, i.e., moron populism of the most destructively stupid and illiberal sort. That is to say, their primal scream had no next stage of evolution, and reduced them to mere primitivism. In their lack of reason and unwillingness to stand for civility, they effectively precipitated and facilitated the current leftist guerilla takeover of their country. Why should we assume that Canada’s protesting truckers (many of whom, at this point, are obviously not truckers) would be any different?
Do Canadians have a right to be sick and tired of the endless mandates and lockdowns being imposed on them over the past two years? Obviously they have — just like everyone else. Should they express this dissatisfaction publicly? Yes. But I do not see how this particular form of “protest” is likely to have any positive effect on things that matter in the long run. Perhaps I am simply too jaded about the human condition at this historical moment, not to mention too bored of Canadians, whether alone or in groups, pretending they know or care enough about anything but their own comfort, beer, and dope to define a meaningful path toward rational political rebirth. But there it is: I don’t believe they have it in them. The fact that voters for the Green Party — the most brazenly anti-liberty and pro-leftist-tyranny party of all the major players in Canadian national politics — are proportionately the second strongest supporters of the truckers protest (after the most “conservative” party) is telling. Populism will get you nowhere good, fast.