The Canadian Truckers' Attack on Freedom of Movement
Is there any sense of irony left?
The Canadian truckers who engaged in an heroic long march (drive?) from Vancouver to Ottawa made reasonably clear at the start that they were protesting, as they should have, vaccine mandates, especially mandates that required truckers to be vaccinated in order to return to Canada from the United States.
They were, in short, opposing government restrictions on freedom of movement.
And so what have they done? Imposed their own restrictions on freedom of movement. They have effectively blocked the Ambassador Bridge that goes south from Detroit to Windsor.
The truckers have a worthy cause, which is why I was so in favor more than a week ago when they were en route.
But not all actions taken to achieve worthy causes are legitimate. It should be obvious to anyone that actions that violate the very cause they champion are illegitimate.
Traditionally it has been protesters on the left who block streets and freeways and take over campus buildings so that people can’t have classes. Sometimes their causes are worthy. Their methods are not. Now this tactic has spread beyond the left.
I hate it when people who protest make other people around them simply means to their ends. They are like Adam Smith’s infamous man of system.
The man of system, wrote Smith in The Theory of Moral Sentiments:
seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess–board. He does not consider that the pieces upon the chess–board have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them; but that, in the great chess–board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might chuse to impress upon it.
Smith was talking about the legislature. But his point applies to many of the protestors also.
They should just stop.
Update: I deleted a sentence above in which I said that the blockers of the Ambassador Bridge were restricting movement more than Trudeau is. My reason is not that it’s only one bridge. It’s the most important bridge and they, unlike Trudeau, are not letting anyone through. My reason is that even if in a given day, they are restricting movement more than Trudeau is, he has been doing so for almost 2 years. They’re unlikely to do so for more than a few weeks. I thank Ross Levatter for pointing this out.