Saturday, December 4, 2021
HomeCOVID-19Slaves of the master state

Slaves of the master state

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GREEN Pass. Health Pass. Opportunity Pass. No matter which euphemism governments employ for their permission slips, they are nothing less than slave passes. Coercive medical procedures to regain a scintilla of joy in your life is not freedom. Paternalistic privileges, granted temporarily in return for compliance, is not freedom. If you need the permission of powerful people to enter a cinema, pub or restaurant, you do not live in a free society. If a Health Secretary tells you that you must roll up your sleeve and get jabbed ‘to keep your freedoms’, you have none. If said Health Secretary holds your liberty like a pawn ticket, redeemable only by slavish obedience, your liberty is lost.

The implementation of vaccine passports, which are intended to restrict the life of the unjabbed, are already active in Scotland and Wales whilst their introduction hangs over the English like the Sword of Damocles. Such passports are anathema to those who understand what freedom is and what it is not.

In the sugar cane plantations of 17th-century Barbados the movement of unaccompanied slaves was severely restricted, permitted only ‘with a Ticket under the Master or Mistress’s Hand, or from some other person by his or her Appointment, specifying the time allowed for his or her Return’.

Likewise in the Antebellum South passes (also known as tickets or permits) allowed slaves to leave the plantation for a specific purpose and a designated timeframe, and had to be shown to any white person on demand.

It is highly unlikely that any slaves considered themselves to be free whilst in the possession of such a document. Indeed the pass was tangible proof of one’s bondage. If your freedom depends on the whims of another human being, you are not free. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, freedom ‘is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature’. Yet today we are witnessing the mass acceptance of politicians’ right to bestow and remove freedoms at will. Indeed there is celebration at being granted a morsel of ‘freedom’ demonstrated by the viral video of a Sydney woman overcome with emotion at being allowed to enjoy a drink in a pub. Despite this joy, it is hardly freedom day in New South Wales when mandatory masking still remains in place, residents cannot leave the state, numbers remain capped for weddings and funerals and at neither type of event may food or drink be consumed whilst standing.

For those in the state of Victoria, who believed they were close to being free again, the odious Premier Dan Andrews has moved the goalposts once more. Boosters are now the only route to liberty. Andrews nonchalantly warned Victorians that he will be keeping reins on their freedom probably until well into 2022: ‘It won’t be your first and second dose, it will be, “have you had your third?”’  Still feel like celebrating that freedom your government has so generously granted?

Yet what the state giveth the state can also taketh away. In Israel and Bahrain those who do not take a Covid booster will lose their vaccination status and, reports CNBC, ‘the privileges that come with it.’ Privileges, like permits given to trusted slaves, to be removed from the non-compliant.

Israel’s health minister warns that the pass will expire six months after the third dose. If you signed this deal with the devil, the state now owns you. For ever. Perhaps soon they may require a monthly blood donation before you can go to the cinema or a restaurant. For a concert perhaps only a kidney donation will suffice. St Thomas More may have lamented Richard Rich trading his soul for Wales, but to watch the Kaiser Chiefs?

If you have refused to hand over your bodily autonomy to the state, congratulations, you are freer than those who cherish their Covid app and the precarious privileges it grants them. Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl’s guiding principle was that ‘everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.’ 

The government has attempted to isolate you, to wear you down until you give in but if you are still resisting, it has not broken you. You are truly free.

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Mary McGreechin
Mary McGreechin is a medical historian and researcher from Glasgow.

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