Here's a fun quote:
A government might be established on the principle of benevolence towards the people, like that of a father towards his children. Under such a paternal government (imperium paternale), the subjects, as immature children who cannot distinguish what is truly useful or harmful to themselves, would be obliged to behave purely passively and to rely upon the judgement of the head of state as to how they ought to be happy, and upon his kindness in willing their happiness at all. Such a government is the greatest conceivable despotism, i.e. a constitution which suspends the entire freedom of its subjects, who thenceforth have no rights whatsoever.
Immanuel Kant, one of the brightest and most autistic geniuses the human species ever produced, wrote that passage in an essay on the nature of freedom and its place in the political State.
Benevolent paternalism is an example of what NOT to do if you want to have a free, liberal, rational state that truly respects its citizens.
Compare and contrast with the healthocracies that sprang up like foul mushrooms in 2020, which are very much designed to treat you like an immature child who needs Mommy to decide what's good for you.
If that word "happiness" throws you, don't be fooled.
Kant's not talking about walking around with a song on your lips and spring in your step. He means the word to concern whatever purposes you freely decide for yourself.
The healthocrats running our new tyranny concern themselves with whether the citizens are, on balance, well off.
The putative object is the public's greater welfare.
Decided by cabals of unaccountable bureaucrats, scientists, and academics, naturally. They are tyrants who use life itself as their instrument of domination.
The thing about this is, as much as they dress it up as a problem for science to solve, science doesn't deal in values.
Science doesn't decide what's good, right, and worthwhile
Science determines the facts. That's it.
Any judgment that goes beyond and above the facts is somebody's agenda.
It's up to us as humans, free agents, and public citizens, to figure out what ought to be done and what's worth doing.
We're seeing that political reality steadily eroded. And half of your fellow citizens out there are cheering for it.
Every NPC shrieking slogans, from "follow the science!" to "safe and effective", acts to secure the healthocracy. They're working against your freedom. They're working from the assumption that they know what's good for you better than you can know it.
Your safety is their utmost concern. Even if they have to beat the safety into you like an Australian police officer.
Then these same leaders still have the audacity to talk about freedoms and rights and living in a democracy.
If your rights can be taken from you at the whim of a government bureaucrat, you don't have rights.
Karl Marx, while rightly savaged for his revolutionary Communism, often made interesting points about European industrial capitalism.
One of Marx's keener observations was how the whole exercise of "liberal democratic humanism" wasn't much more than a thin coat of ideological paint slapped on the underlying conditions of economic production.
Telling people that they're free citizens with rights is a convenient fiction ("false consciousness") that gets people to go along for the ride while filthy capitalist Mr. Money Bags vacuums up all the excess profits.
Whatever you may think of Marx's original point, it's hard to look at today's "ideology of safety" as anything but a smoke show covering up the material conditions on the ground.
Like our general unhealthiness as a population... or even more serious illnesses infecting the hyper-connected global economy.
The thing is...
The more they go on about freedom, the more you experience your total unfreedom
That's down to the paradoxical nature of freedom.
Remember the formula:
We are the society that shows up to each other as radically isolated free individuals who can decide for ourselves.
We are free because we are born into a culture that values freedom and individuality.
Our individual differences suppose a common unity of purpose, a shared vision of the good.
If we are each radically free, we must be radically equal.
And that last thing is how they get you.
"We must secure the common good for everyone!" they say.
"None of us is free until we're all free!"
Clever slogans. Persuasive, too, at least if today's political outcomes are any indication.
They're also the end of your real live liberty as a self-determining individual.
Freedom is never absolute. It is always situated in your life, and it always has a political dimension. Freedom involves our public lives as citizens who contribute to the polis.
But we don't do that anymore.
We've offloaded our leadership to cadres of professional politicians, bureaucrats, academics, lawyers, managers, experts, and specialists who decide for us.
They're working mostly for themselves. There are no more lines between the public sphere and the private world of corporations. They're a single interlocking mass of writhing bureaucratic tentacles.
You don't have any say in the common good any more. But that's the problem, there is no common good without an active citizenry working to decide it for themselves.
All that talk about "greater good" and "public welfare" is just that, talk. Meaningless noise-making and flapping of the gums.
Instead of real welfare and real visions of the good life, we get a tyranny of the manager and the health expert who implicitly treat you as a half-witted moron.
It's hard to disagree with Kant's conclusion that this the greatest kind of despotism.
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