The Labor party under Dan Andrew’s leadership won the state election.
Some who were intoxicated by conspiracy theories forgot what democracy is. Freedom is not doing whatever one wants, at the expense of fellow citizens and against the law. Ancient Athens constrained freedom by law. To have free speech a citizen sought the right to speak to the assembly. That principle still holds.
The poor showing of minor right-wing parties like the Freedom Party and Angry Victorians, and the two years of slogans like ‘Dictator Dan’, had no real impact. In fact the result was a resounding rejection by the people, the demos, of their divisive and dangerous narratives. The foundation of modern liberal democracy, ‘common sense’, held.
Liberal philosopher John Stuart Mill who was the architect of our modern liberal democratic society said that everyone has liberty and freedom, only if one’s freedom and liberty does no harm to others. That is Mill’s ‘harm principle’. The church, the state, or any self-appointed authority should not intervene in the individual’s right left to decide for themselves what to believe, and how to live their life, if their liberty does not harm to others.
Liberty is constrained by law and John Stuart Mill’s ‘harm principle’, of not causing harm to others. One should be left to find their own values for life as they please, if their values and views do not cause serious harm, or injury, or damage to others.
The ‘harm principle’ means one must be considerate of other people’s welfare and interests and that principle is baked into the foundation of modern democratic law, it’s fundamental.
One doesn’t have licence to do what they choose based on whim; we can’t drive down the wrong side of the road, go over the speed limit, run through a red light, not pay for goods and services, kill someone they do not like, or exclude someone based on race, gender, or faith. Freedom is realised only within the rule of law that prevents a citizen from harming other people.
The reasonable limits placed on freedom are those born of moral common sense.
Democratic principles to survive and benefit all restrict people’s behaviour, more so in war, major emergencies, and pandemics.
We decide for ourselves how to live our lives, and what to believe, but not at the expense of others’ freedoms, otherwise we have anarchy and nihilism.
Victoria’s public health measures, the lockdowns and vaccine mandates of 2020 and 2021 which restricted all our freedoms did so for the safety of all our citizens.
The victory of Dan Andrews reveals how most of the population agreed with (most) of those restrictions and they made their vote count. Mill’s harm principle is there to ensure we can all have rights and liberties.
Legitimate scientific evidence showed we needed to curtail our liberties, based on Mill’s ‘harm principle’, lockdowns and vaccinations have ensured we can again enjoy our natural liberties.
It goes like this, if I do not want to be vaccinated it may harm me, that’s my business. However, if I then still want to go out to a footy game, a restaurant, a rally, or travel at the height I am a risk to others, I endanger my fellow citizens’ liberty, through my selfishness. If Victoria’s Liberals had reached deeper into liberal values, instead of leaning on the hyperbole of the ‘dictator Dan’ and anti-vax narrative, they may have had a more respectable showing on Saturday.
In the end the facts are that the majority of Victorians rejected the anti-vax, anti-lockdown noise and stuck to John Stuart Mill’s ‘common sense’, the core principle of liberty.