Ideas and Liberty

Frozen by Fear

Written by
13 August 2020

This article from the Winter 2020 edition of the IPA Review is written by Manager of Online Content and Audio at the IPA, James Bolt.

With statues of famous figures in history being torn down around the world, I know what many of you are thinking: how can I protect myself from the mob when I’m dead? In life, you can reason with them and provide context for your statements, but—no matter what Night at the Museum will have us believe—statues can’t talk. So here’s a guide to what you can do while alive to stop the mob coming after you centuries later:

Don’t discover anything new.

With Captain Cook’s statue being defaced in Australia; the town of Columbus, Ohio, mulling changing its name; and the ‘decolonisation’ of science rebelling against STEM research, it is clear that trying to advance human thought through new discoveries, geographic or scientific, is going to cause too much drama to stop future protests. Best keep humanity and collective knowledge where it is.

Don’t lead the struggle against evil.

Defeating Nazism and ending slavery may seem good on the surface, but as protesters that defaced statues of Churchill and Lincoln will tell you, history is a game of ‘what have you done for me lately’. Winston Churchill saved us from Hitler and Lincoln freed the slaves, but their silence on current issues facing the world is damning.

Don’t take up arms against evil.

You won’t avoid the mob by eschewing leadership, so just avoid standing up for liberty altogether. A statue commemorating black soldiers who took up arms for the union to help end slavery was defaced by Black Lives Matter protesters in Boston. I don’t have a snide remark here, so I’ll just repeat myself. A statue commemorating black soldiers who took up arms for the union to help end slavery was defaced by Black Lives Matter protesters in Boston.

Never do anything of consequence or have a thought that you then express.

The only way to protect yourself is to do nothing of consequence with your life. In fact, all humans should stop striving to improve humanity’s situation. It’s only making trouble.

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James Bolt is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs

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