Will 2022 be a year of symbolic protests against actual tyranny?
Europe is falling back into harsh restrictions on its citizens' lives, which one can see as a redo of 2020, and the first lockdown or, if one wants to be a bit more dramatic, as a redo of the worst European instincts in the 1930s. (And believe me, I know that Democrats in America are taking notes.) In response, two cities ignored New Year's Eve firework edicts. The videos are lovely, but it will take more than citizens symbolically thumbing their noses at the government to block the coming tyranny.
This thought first found its way into my brain when I read John M. Contino's charming post about the way in which citizens in Naples, upon being told that COVID somehow necessitated a fireworks ban, responded by putting on an extravagant show of fireworks:
The person who posted the video added this comment: "The people of Naples have had enough and they have spoken! Respect."
The same thing happened in the Netherlands, when authorities cited COVID as a justification for banning New Year's Eve fireworks. The ostensible reason was that, with hospitals packed, the risk of having even a single firework-related injury was simply too much. And again, the people responded with an explosive "no."
From the Netherlands, the government banned fireworks as punishment for disobeying COVID law so the people showed the politicians who is in charge.— Aaron Ginn (@aginnt) January 1, 2022
As you can see, in this case, the person who posted the video to Twitter added, "The people showed the politicians who is in charge."
But did the people really show who is in charge?
What I see in the news coming out of Europe is a whole lot of police in charge. The most vivid example is the police in Amsterdam two days ago using dogs and batons to stop protests:
In France, a few months ago, the police used brute force against people coming out to protest lockdowns and vaccine passports:
Nevertheless, the police are enforcing vaccine passports:
Last month in Austria, protests were larger than in Holland or Paris (and seemingly less violent):
Still, so far as I know — and please correct me if I'm wrong — the Austrian police are now out there checking vaccine passports and imposing fines.
My point, an admittedly sour and pessimistic one, is that modern European governments have the police power to render protests meaningless. The political parties in most of those countries are left, more left, and even more left. Even in England, which managed, just barely, to shake off the European Union's grip (something that took years following the referendum vote), the lockdowns have been relentless and, according to a good friend, highly destructive, both economically and in terms of Britain's social fabric.
So when I read about citizens in Europe defiantly shooting off fireworks, all I can think is, "Is that all there is? They lose all their freedoms and they shoot off fireworks?"
And then I worry even more that America is traveling down the same road. As Tucker Carlson pointed out in his monologue last night, Democrats are all on board the COVID tyranny train, and Republicans are making no effort to pull the emergency cord to stop it. Tucker says, and I agree, that the only thing left to stop the country from falling into the abyss is the American people — and we must make our voices heard by funding good politicians; voting; using phones, mail, and email to inundate our politicians (local, state, and federal) with our objections; and just speaking out in public without fear of being cowed. (You'll find that many agree with you and are heartened by your voice.)
If it helps, remember that our opposition has gone completely around the bend. Again, Tucker makes this point, and my own Facebook feed backs it up. People I know, including those who had COVID (i.e., natural immunity), have had two "vaccinations," plus a booster, and are still going out in public with masks, shields, and even devices that look like the old-time gas masks from WWI and WWII. And all this is for a virus that has a less than 1% mortality rate for the average person.
As for the police, if you're tempted to think that, back in the 1960s, the police had to get pretty brutal when riots broke out across the West, think again. In the 1960s, police pushed back against violent young people seeking to bring about the destruction of Western culture. Since 2020, in Europe, violent police have beaten and sicced dogs on ordinary middle- and working-class people seeking to save the last vestiges of their liberal Western democracies.