Happy Halloween 2021 from the team at Students For Liberty! For those of us who value liberty, this is proving to be a particularly spooky year. On the occasion of Halloween 2021, we don’t need to look too far to find something worthy of causing fright.
Whether it’s governments creeping further down the path of authoritarianism amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the toxic polarization of the culture war, debt and government spending spiraling further out of control, or humanitarian crises such as that in Afghanistan or Xinjiang, what issue scares you most in 2021?
Polarization and the culture war
Bitterness and resentment of the political status quo has fostered a toxic culture war in recent years. The culture war has seen a rise in populism, tribalism, and hyperpartisanship.
Any sort of constructive dialogue between people of differing ideologies has become increasingly difficult. However, what is important to remember is that, as a result of this polarization, those who stand to gain are the politicians who play into the culture war in order to consolidate their positions.
Two sides of a supposed political binary have emerged, each viewing the other as an existential threat and each being hostile to liberty in their own way. Sadly, far too often, those who reject this binary and tribalistic political discourse are seen by each side as belonging to the other. Ultimately, the animosity brought about through the culture war is in no way conducive to a freer future.
The debt crisis, government spending, and taxation
With the implementation of economically ruinous policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments have been throwing taxpayers’ money around like there’s no tomorrow. In the United States, the longstanding debt crisis will only be further exacerbated by President Biden’s spending plans.
Furthermore, as part of a bid to increase government revenue, the Biden administration has pushed a global minimum tax rate that seeks to bully smaller countries into raising their corporate tax rates, thereby restricting global competition, driving up operating costs, and hurting consumers.
A recent proposal to procure funding for new government programs through an unprecedented “billionaire tax” is also concerning. Plans such as a tax on unrealized capital gains would have enormous destructive potential with wide-ranging economic consequences.
Human rights crises
2021 has seen both the continuation and emergence of numerous human rights crises in various parts of the globe. Indeed, the Chinese regime’s horrific campaign of persecution against ethnic and religious minorities shows no sign of winding down.
In the northwestern province of Xinjiang, at least one million Uyghur Muslims are detained in “reeducation camps” and subject to untold atrocities. Furthermore, anyone in China who dares speak out against Xi Jinping’s authoritarian regime faces severe consequences, particularly in light of the dystopian and ever-expanding social credit system.
To the west of China, in Afghanistan, a tragic human rights emergency has escalated in recent months with the brutal Taliban now controlling the entire country. Under Taliban rule, civil liberties have been eliminated, with women, political dissidents, and those who formerly assisted Western forces particularly at risk of persecution. In this instance, it is tragically difficult for the people of Afghanistan to find an escape route.
Lockdown restrictions and authoritarianism
This Halloween, it is important to reflect on the unprecedented limitations imposed on our liberty over the past year and a half. Governments around the world have found the health crisis useful in their bid to consolidate their power. Despite the impact of the vaccine rollout in mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic, in many places, the looming specter of state-imposed lockdown refuses to go away.
Such devastating restrictions have been a consequence of the terrifying expansion of the role of government in a manner that would have been unthinkable to most of us just a couple of years ago. The increased negative interaction between individuals and governments has seen a number of terrifying scenarios unfold.
To read more about some of the shocking incidents created by lockdown restrictions this year, you can check out our article by clicking on the button below.
This piece solely expresses the opinion of the author and not necessarily the organization as a whole. Students For Liberty is committed to facilitating a broad dialogue for liberty, representing a variety of opinions.