This Christmas marks the 30th anniversary of the end of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which dissolved into 15 independent states on December 25, 1991. This ended the Cold War that had existed for over 40 years between the United States and the Soviet Union, along with their respective allies around the globe.
Czar Nicholas II was dethroned in 1917, ending the Romanov dynasty that had governed Russia for over 300 years. Vladimir Lenin and his Bolsheviks ("Ones of the Majority") emerged as victors of the Russian Civil War. Russian communists, along with communists in Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Belarus, formed the Soviet Union in December 1922. Communist ideology reigned supreme for the next 69 years. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and other countries were forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union. The communists invaded Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968) and violently suppressed peaceful protests in East Germany (1953) thus ensuring that these countries would not leave the Soviet Bloc in pursuit of freedom, democracy, and human rights.
While Russia under the Czars was not a free society by any means, the communists were far more ruthless in suppressing human rights and democratic freedoms. Churches were destroyed; religious believers were persecuted, and millions of Ukrainians were deliberately starved to death in the Holodomor (1932-33). Historians peg the number of Russians and other Soviet citizens murdered by Stalin's regime (1924-1953) at more than 20 million, and possibly as many as 60 million people. These so-called "enemies of the people" included educated professionals, members of the Romanov family, other aristocrats, business entrepreneurs, landowners, clergy, ethnic nationalists from the 14 non-Russian republics which comprised the Soviet Union, and anyone else who opposed communism or was suspected of opposing it.
The idea of the "enemies of the people" dates back to Roman times and was used extensively during the French Revolution. As Robespierre explained it on Christmas day, 1793: "The revolutionary government owes to the good citizen all the protection of the nation; it owes nothing to the Enemies of the People but death."
China's communist dictator Mao Zedong, responsible for as many as 65 million deaths through execution, imprisonment and forced famine, stated that "the social forces and groups which resist the socialist revolution and are hostile to or sabotage socialist construction are all enemies of the people."
In Germany, the National Socialists (Nazis) regarded Jews as "enemies of the people" as well as "pests and disseminators of diseases. In whatever country they settle and spread themselves out, they produce the same effects as are produced in the human body by germs."
The collapse of the Soviet Union on Christmas day, 1991, was an important step away from totalitarianism. We should be grateful to the millions of people who resisted tyranny over the course of decades, keeping the flame of liberty alive in the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, North Korea, and other countries. While celebrating the 30th anniversary of the dissolution of the Soviet communist empire, we must remember the words of Ronald Reagan: “Freedom is a fragile thing and it's never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people.”
In 2021, today's politicians have not yet followed in the footsteps of aging rock star Gene Simmons who denounced the unvaccinated as "enemies," presumably of the people. While not using the term "enemies of the people," BC's provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has declared that the unvaccinated cannot gather together indoors at Christmas. Alberta's premier Jason Kenney has publicly attacked the unvaccinated as being responsible for overcrowded hospitals, drawing attention away from his own failure to increase hospital capacity in the past 21 months. Premier Kenney, like the Prime Minister and every Premier in Canada, disregards the very important fact that public health authorities have clearly stated that the new COVID vaccines do not stop the spread of the virus, but only aim to reduce the illness (symptoms) in the vaccinated people who get COVID.
It appears that many Canadians are perfectly fine with their own unvaccinated parents, brothers, sisters, neighbours, colleagues, and friends facing job losses, expulsion from university, the inability to travel by train or plane, and degrading second-class citizenship. Australia uses “quarantine in government arranged accommodation" as a tool to fight COVID, and various "voluntary isolation sites" have been built in Canada, with more on the way as I write this column.
The public vilification of an unpopular minority, whether they are referred to expressly as "enemies of the people" or not, together with government-sanctioned discrimination, never ends well. Whether the ideology is today's fanatical war on COVID or some other ideology, disrespecting basic human rights is unwarranted and quickly leads to disastrous outcomes.
As John Kekes explains it: "The justification of monstrous actions by appealing to a passionately held ideal, elevated as the standard of reason and morality, is a characteristic feature of political ideologies in power. For the Communists, it was a classless society; for the Nazis, racial purity; for Islamic terrorists, their interpretation of the Koran. The shared feature is that the ideal, according to its true believers, is immune from rational or moral criticism, because it determines what is reasonable and moral."
What Dr. Kekes states is no less true for the ideology of Covidism, which claims falsely that we are dealing with something as deadly as the Spanish Flu of 1918, and that we should embrace the permanent loss of our Charter rights and freedoms. Other pillars of Covidism include the fervent beliefs that there are no treatment options for COVID other than lockdowns and vaccines, and that the new COVID vaccines stop the spread of COVID.
The 30th anniversary of the implosion of the Soviet Union is worth celebrating, as proof that truth does eventually triumph over lies, good over evil, and freedom over tyranny. But our celebration of that proof does not mean our work is done. Ideology and tyranny are alive and well on planet earth in 2021. We must remain constantly vigilant in holding the line against those who would steal our innate rights and freedoms.
Lawyer John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (www.jccf.ca).
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