Tonight we had a meeting of the monthly Salon discussion group my wife and I are a part of.
We met via Zoom because even though some in the group, including Laurel and me, are fine with meeting in-person, others aren't.
So we do our best to accommodate those who are most wary of coming down with Covid, even though everybody in the group is fully vaccinated and boosted.
This is called being reasonable. Also, unselfish. Doing what you want only is justified if that action isn't going to harm other people.
I'd like to believe that most people feel the same way.
Freedom has limits. Someone might really enjoy driving while drunk, but this is illegal because of the danger to others. That handicapped parking space is conveniently located, but it needs to be reserved for those who really need it.
This also is the rationale for public health measures.
Each person has a responsibility to look out for the welfare of everybody else. Getting vaccinated and wearing a mask in indoor public spaces both protects the person doing these things, plus other people.
This evening we talked some, as we usually do, about the phenomenon of Trump. I noted how his superpower is shamelessness. We're used to leaders who try to hide their wrongdoing. Trump revels in his misdeeds.
While members of our group had some different ideas about why Trump still is so popular with Republicans (though his approval seems to be dropping), we agreed on some basic points.
Even though it's tempting to view Trump as the cause of the increase in overt racism, disdain for LGBTQ people, anti-vaccine/masking hysteria, and such, this is too simplistic.
It takes two to tango.
Trump is a master manipulator of the dark side in his followers, but he wouldn't be so successful unless there was a dark side to manipulate in a disturbingly large percentage of the Republican Party.
The protests currently happening in Canada show that Trumpist views are gaining traction in our neighbor to the north, as well as in some European countries.
I started attending protests while in college, 1966-71. Back then, as now, until Trumpism reared its ugly head, protests almost always called for a change that would benefit the common good.
End the Vietnam War. Stop unjustified police killings. Act to reduce greenhouse gases. Those were progressive causes. Conservatives had their own causes, such as the Tea Party movement that sought to reduce government taxation and wasteful spending.
I disagreed with those conservative causes, but I could understand that those espousing them sought their own vision of the common good.
In the Canadian protests, though, which are largely funded and supported by right-wingers in the United States, the main battle cry is "Freedom!" Not freedom for someone else. Not freedom for an oppressed group.
Freedom for the protesters to not have to be vaccinated, wear masks, or engage in other public health measures. They are demonstrating zero comprehension of why those measures are needed to prevent deaths, disease, and disability from exposure to Covid.
It's all about Me. Just as Trump is all about Him. Trump's shameless openness about his own selfishness gives an impetus to others to follow in his selfish footsteps.
Which don't lead to any sort of conception of the common good. No, those footsteps make a circular pattern, always facing inward to the desires of Me, Me, Me, with the welfare of other people completely irrelevant.
This is something that hasn't been seen before in American politics, nor in Canadian politics, I'm pretty sure.
A large share of a major political party being captivated by the notion that freedom isn't something to be fought for to benefit others, but solely to allow those protesting to be able to do whatever the hell they want, even if this harms their fellow humans.