This is NOT my idea. I never really thought about having a “Back Off Government” blogroll, but I noticed today that London Fog is now flying the LLA ensign. So, to copy cat Ghost Of A Flea’s “Red Ensign” blogroll, I’m adding this new blogroll section here.
As I mentioned in my earlier post, I admire the intent of the Red Ensign brigade. I’ve been tempted to add my blog to the list. And I like flags in general. I think the Canadian Red Ensign is a really nice flag. I also like the “Red Hand Of Ulster,” the flag of my birthplace.
But I have philosophical problems with flags in general, and how in many circles they represent some untouchable religious icon worthy of worship. Anyone, regardless of a belief in God or not, that has strong emotions about a symbol, is quite frankly, someone who is “religious.”
And I’m not criticizing religion. But having strong emotional ties to a symbol is illogically religious. Any symbol. Symbols can certainly add to aesthetics of events. Having dozens of Canadian flags flying at a Canada Day event can dress up a rather drab location.
The Red Ensign on my blog might certainly dress up a rather drab looking blog. But for me, when it comes down to it, that’s all it does. If I had to apply some first aid to a bleeding person, and the only material available to me were the choice of a Canadian flag, an Ulster flag, or a North Korea flag, I’d just grab whatever was closest. And I would have no problems blowing my nose on a flag, should I really really need to blow my nose, and the only thing available was a flag.
So, I have a problem flying flags for symbolic purposes. Instead, I’d prefer a banner that speaks plainly, clearly, and precisely about what I believe. And I certainly have nothing against the thoughts and hopes of the Red Ensign bloggers: Bringing about a return to a more libertarian, personally responsible, and less government intrustion in Canada that existed when that flag flew.
But even during that time, there was still too much Government intervention in lives. Too many restrictions on who one could trade with, and what hours of the day or days of the week, one could trade. Yes, Canadians fought for freedom in wars, many of whom participated in heroic roles and had their lives snuffed out. But the fact that was pretty much a volunteer force goes to show that we don’t need Government to interfere in our lives. We can choose on our own who we’ll support and fight for.
A bit of history: Yes, Canada had conscription during World War 1. But this came about because of the fact some politician promised that Canada would send half a million men (the population at the time was 8 million) to Europe. When 300,000 enlisted, the dumb politician had to try to find a way to not so embarass himself with his silly promise. And even then, when the Conscription Act was finally passed in 1918, in order to accomodate the many differing view points about conscription, the Act allowed for a large number of exemptions.
In World War 2, by 1941, there were enough Canadian volunteers to send 5 Canadian Divisions to Europe and other places throughout the world. But as the war went on, the losses of Canadian lives were very great. Conscription was reluctantly brought back by Prime Minister Mackenzie King, but only 13,000 men were conscripted and the war ended shortly thereafter.
In both of those wars, it was really volunteers that made the difference. Volunteers who chose, for whatever their reasons, to fight. To know there was a great possibility they would never return. Individuals were able to make a concious decision, all on their own, about what they were about to do, and whether or not they were willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice.
When symbols and flags become religious symbols, unfortunately personal choices don’t mean much anymore. Whether you’re right wing, left wing, or somewhere in the middle. You’re expected to fight for a symbol. Not your own logically worked out philosophy, but someone else’s. Someone else’s values. Someone else’s goals.
The banner I am using is not a symbol. It’s a statement. “Back Off Government.” It’s an idea that anyone should be able to understand. There is no compromise with such a statement. There are no philosophical discussions about the meaning of that statement. No one needs to wonder what the “symbol” stands for. It stands for exactly what it says.
I can tolerate just about anyone. I can tolerate opposing ideas to mine. I can tolerate all people. But I will not tolerate those who would impose their values upon me, and make some claims about “Duty To Country” that mean nothing, and wave a flag in my face. If you try that, I just might sneeze into your beloved symbol. But don’t worry, we have washing machines, so don’t take offence.