David Moscrop, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post, proposed that Canada should form “a strict line of resistance that doubles down on” vaccine mandates in response to the hundreds of truckers protesting vaccine mandates in the “Freedom Convoy.”
Moscrop’s proposal is strangely optimistic. He thinks that the truckers rebelling against the government’s mandate and traveling over 4,000 miles to protest in Ottawa would turn their trucks around and quit their protest upon hearing that the government is doubling down on the mandate. His proposal is nonsense.
Protests naturally tend to die down when they are ignored, so the government doubling down on the exact thing that caused the truckers to protest initially would only result in the truckers protesting more.
Included in his absurd strategy to end the protests are more “commitments to anti-hate resistance, pandemic supports,” and more censorship from media companies that refuses “to platform, humanize, or, God forbid, glorify the convoy and its members.”
God forbid? The convoy’s message is quite anodyne: end the vaccine mandate on truckers. Is that a message too appalling for the media to platform or humanize? Moscrop, spare us the pearl-clutching. A protest for more liberty is not dangerous, and neither should it be forbidden in a free society.
One reasonable point Moscrop makes is that the government should be wary of the more extreme “anti-government” groups that are a minority within the movement. And yes, there are indeed reports of some people using the protest as an opportunity to cause trouble. However, Moscrop blurs the line between the extremist minority and everyone else in the protest.
Only once does he make a contradistinction between the two groups in the column when he calls the convoy “an unfortunate minority in which a further minority of insidious extremists lurk.” But the rest of the column is dedicated to conflating everyone in the convoy with the extremists.
Moscrop says the convoy is full of “rage-soaked anti-government types [that] can’t be reasoned with.” He calls them “too unreasonable to placate insofar as they represent a broader challenge.” And he carelessly labels the entire movement “toxic.”
He also insinuates that they are all racists. He says, “These types of groups are typically driven by attitudes, grievances, and priorities of such a nature that they pose a particular risk to racialized folks and other groups that are traditionally the target of hate and violence.”
While I do not know his true intentions, if I had to guess, I would say that he is lumping everyone in the convoy with the extremists to discredit the whole movement because he favors vaccine mandates.
He does not think freedom from vaccine mandates is a legitimate thing to protest about. He calls it a mere “temper tantrum.” Surely, he wouldn’t describe any left-wing protest against the government (take the Women’s March or Black Lives Matter, for example) with the same sneering language.
Moscrop finishes his column denying that vaccine mandates are a “true” threat to liberty and instead speaks of the supposed threats to liberty in Canada that bother him: “income and wealth inequality; worker exploitation; gendered, religious, racialized and other forms of hate violence; ongoing settler colonialism; and other forms of structural marginalization and oppression.”
Moscrop’s characterization of what “true” threats to liberty are might seem true in today’s left-leaning culture, but this characterization is false. A “true” threat to liberty has traditionally been understood in the West as the government imposing its will on the individual. He thinks threats to liberty involve a lack of government action rather than government overreach.
Regardless of one’s opinion on what is and what is not a true threat to liberty, truckers still have every right to protest, and associating their interests with those of the extremists is wrong and dishonest.
Follow on Twitter: @ChrisSchlak