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Letter: It was the right thing to do

“Never give up your Freedoms, for anything. Because once they are lost, you will always have to fight to get them back.”

Re: Letter: Alberta remains mired in crises

The letter writer seems to take issue that some people value and believe that personal freedom and liberty takes precedence over the ‘broader public good’, and that this should not be allowed.  He then tries to support this view that those who served in the First World War and the Second World War did it out of ‘civic duty’ for the ‘broader public good’.

What I would like to point out, is that a majority of those who served, did it because it was the “right thing to do”, who listened to their moral compass to bring freedom to those who had lost it or were in danger of losing it.  What the common factor of all those who volunteered for service was, is that they made that choice exercising their own free will.  They exercised their freedom of choice to do so, and for which we must be eternally thankful that they did so.

What the letter writer is advocating for goes against everything that those who fought for the Allies in the Second World War were fighting for.  They were fighting against tyranny, government coercion (fascism), societal scapegoating, forced medical procedures and authoritarianism, to name just a few of the  many evils that existed then.  

Especially poignant for our times now, was the declaration from the Nuremberg trials at the end of the Second World War was that no one could be forcibly made to endure or accept a medical procedure they did not agree with.  Just as important, was another ruling from that trial, which stipulated that “just following orders” was not a valid defense for committing atrocities or to deny people their basic human rights and freedoms.  

So I do want to emphasize that justifying the removal of individual rights for “societal good” is not something any Second World War veteran would have supported. That was what they had freely chosen to sign up for and fight against.

As the son of a Second World War veteran who fought against the Nazi invasion of his country, ended up in POW camp for a time, and then joined his country’s ‘Resistance’ to continue the fight, he taught me one over riding lesson.  And that was “Never give up your Freedoms, for anything.  Because once they are lost, you will always have to fight to get them back.”  

So anytime someone advocates that we give up a little freedom for anything, especially safety, I am reminded of Ben Franklin’s quote, that, “Those who are willing to give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”.

Paul Nielsen,