Law, Liberty, Freedom, and Toilet Paper
"Nobody knows if you use toilet paper or wash your hands, but the expectation is that because you have enough knowledge and social courtesy for your family and community, that you will."

Toilet paper is a product that you have the choice to purchase. If you do purchase it, you then have the choice to use it, or not. Arguably, there may be a product other than toilet paper that can serve a similar function albeit with varying results. Your choice of purchasing or using toilet paper or an alternate product solely impacts your own well-being, whether it is health, hygiene or otherwise, providing the outcome of your choice remains within the boundaries of your personal domain of freedom. Once you engage in a larger community, your choices then become part of a larger domain of freedom. A domain where freedom is protected by the balance of laws and liberty for the greater good of the larger community in which you live.


The use of a product like toilet paper, along with washing your hands with soap and water provide multiple layers of protection for yourself and others around you from a long list of diseases like C.diff, Cholera, E.coli, and others. We know this because the science community has identified and provided information for our education, along with mitigation strategies to avoid becoming ill or imparting illness on others. Nobody knows if you use toilet paper or wash your hands, but the expectation is that because you have enough knowledge and social courtesy for your family and community, that you will.


Repurposing freedom to make their personal domain greater than the community has become the foundation from a melting pot of individuals in Ottawa, with varying intent, protesting a litany of griefs under a confused banner of laws and liberty. Whatever the grief of choice might be, whether a vaccine, the use of masks, washing of hands, or use of toilet paper, a necessary tool in influencing change is the ability to communicate. A protest might also gain credibility when the goal is clear, aligns to laws and liberty, and does so in a manner where the opportunity equals the challenge. If the scope of the protest devolves, then so too does its credibility.


The misguided Ottawa protest has been watered down by multiple fringe groups. Of course, many of the participants will hang their pride on the fact that it has halted life in the capital of Canada and that achievement requires more than a fringe minority. The idea that a smaller group of people is incapable of creating sustained disruption is the equivalent of saying that you need 2-ply toilet paper to do the job. Of course, 2-ply would be better, but 1-ply can work in different configurations and still generate successful or failed results. Their concern over the number of present individuals is an unnecessary obsession of validation by numbers than a more effective one of cause and impact that also seems borrowed from international political influencers. Either way, this has become an insurrection on democracy and government more than a protest on vaccine mandates or masks, where many of the participants, in the absence of reasonability, have reduced their communication to two words, “Honk-Honk”, the equivalent of a child amidst a tantrum.


There is still much confusion amoung this desolate group, potentially supported by other fringe disruptors, local and abroad, while masking their desire for upheaval under the guise of freedom as they expand efforts in other locations across Ontario. Often, their use of language and material to support their version of freedom is drawn from American content, which has no bearing on Canadian law.


John Locke is an English Philosopher credited with the idea that “where there is no law, there is no freedom,” which was arguably and in different forms later borrowed by American Thomas Jefferson, who coined “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Even if Canadian protesters want to lean on that ideology, the inclusion of liberty can only be achieved with the balance of law. You see, without any law at all, the protesters wouldn’t have the freedom that they already have.


The reality is that most mandates will come to a natural end in the not-so-distant future, and it will have less to do with these protests and more to do with the fact that over 80% of Canadians are vaccinated and have been following public safety and courtesy measures. They have been doing this both in their private domain as well as public and they’ve been doing it in the best interest of their family, friends, and some people they haven’t even met. They achieved this without making their own laws, losing their liberty and freedoms, and maintaining their choice of toilet paper practice.


This is an opinion article by Guido Piraino of  The Monthly Social Podcast. It may also be heard on The Path Radio Mix Online. You can read other opinion articles on the blog page.


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