Police man a barricade in front of vehicles parked as part of the trucker protest, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022 in Ottawa’s downtown core. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Police man a barricade in front of vehicles parked as part of the trucker protest, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022 in Ottawa’s downtown core. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

LETTER: Freedom does not come with zero restrictions

‘Human society is not a vacuum. Is this so hard to understand?’

Once upon a time I decided to have a go at Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. I didn’t get very far with it, but one passage stayed with me: “The light dove, cleaving the air in her free flight, and feeling its resistance, might imagine that its flight would be still easier in empty space.”

I wish I didn’t feel such animosity toward the people who went to Ottawa because they thought COVID mandates were a tyrannical infringement on their freedom of choice. I wish I didn’t feel such animosity toward people who are still driving flag-bedecked vehicles around Chilliwack when so many of their fellow human beings face a more serious abrogation of their freedoms in the sense that Russian ordnance is blowing them to bits.

You don’t need to read the Critique of Pure Reason to understand what freedom really means. You only need to read one sentence. The light dove thinks the resistance of air on its wings impairs its freedom. The light dove thinks it could fly better in a vacuum. The light dove, like a small child, does not understand that there can be no freedom without some kind of limit. The light dove does not understand the laws of physics, and the light doves who adorn their pickup trucks with slogans about freedom do not understand that the laws of society are what guarantee their freedom, even if bad ones occasionally compromise it.

I am free to walk on an icy sidewalk because someone spread sand on it so my foot can’t go where it pleases. I am free to write this letter because someone who had COVID was not free to cough in my face.

The truckers were free to drive to Ottawa because they were not free to drive on whatever side of the road they felt like. They might get hurt. Other people might get hurt. Human society is not a vacuum. Is this so hard to understand?

Graham Dowden

Chilliwack

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