In his State of the State address on Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis correctly proclaimed Florida a "free state," using the word "free" twelve times in his 35-minute speech.
The last time we talked about "free states," the opposing term was "slave states."
As the pandemic enters its third year, and the Greek alphabet seems to lack enough letters to accommodate COVID-19's ever increasing number of variants, looking north is rather like peering over the Berlin Wall.
Once united by a common language and culture, people stuck on the other side of the divide appear to have evolved into a dystopia ruled by a heinous ideology.
In full view, we see them required to present official papers to participate in almost all forms of civic life.
Varying levels of centrally mandated social control regulate their freedom of movement and association, while also constantly reminding them that their liberties are tentative and revocable rather than absolute and innate.
Their media and educational institutions are controlled by ideologues who insist on strict conformity of opinion and swiftly punish even minor deviations from dictated speech and behavioral norms.
Vices that keep the general population docile are tolerated, while virtues that might encourage critical thought or community outside of state supervision are subject to unprecedented control.
Dissenters are routinely demonized by the authorities and ostracized by their peers. The authorities themselves are occasionally purged through administrative processes that punish words and deeds that have become taboo, or that can be made taboo at the stroke of a pen.
Creative life sags, with artists, entertainers, and thinkers forced to toe the official line in both their personal and professional lives for fear of career-ending consequences. Those who disagree cower in the proverbial smoky kitchen, fancying themselves an "underground" that might one day reclaim its inalienable rights.
Ideas, culture, habits, and customs out of step with the new ideology are swept away by administrative fiat or at the hands of crowds whose rage is channeled specifically toward that destructive purpose.
Government resources, including medical care as of last week, are distributed on the basis of personal characteristics favored by the regime for ideological reasons under the banal guise of "diversity, equity, and inclusion," nebulous terms that the regime reserves the exclusive right to define.
Due to economic policies that opponents are too weak and too intimidated to oppose, shortages of basic goods — including meat, eggs, milk, and medical supplies, according to my recent correspondents on the other side — are a reality of life amply documented but vociferously denied by the regime and its defenders.
This new economy of scarcity, combined with broad official toleration of all but the most serious crimes, fuels atomization and fear, which only reinforce popular dependency on the regime.
Here in Florida, meanwhile, a steady stream of alienated and dissatisfied people arrives from the north in numbers large enough to shift the demographic balance of the country.
All too often, the new arrivals have endured abuse, suffered ostracism, and broken relationships to come.
Almost all of them have horror stories to tell before effusing gratitude for their new and improved circumstances. They can be overheard in our free public spaces remarking positively on how different everything is and congratulating each other on what they often call their "escapes."
Once in a while, we even spot bossy northern apparatchiks in our midst, maskless and smiling as they enjoy the many freedoms they so cavalierly deny their frozen subjects.
When confronted, the party bosses can rely on their media surrogates to bury the news or celebrate the brazenness of their hypocrisy to eager viewers conditioned to hold them in awe. Lesser figures can just run away, as CNN host Don Lemon recently did when videoed lounging in Floridian splendor at Palm Beach's iconic Colony Hotel.
Granted, we do not yet have an American equivalent to East Germany's criminal law against Republikflucht, i.e., fleeing the country. But those who have not yet left for the South would do well to recall that the Berlin Wall went up overnight.
Paul du Quenoy is president of the Palm Beach Freedom Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in history from Georgetown University. Read more — Here.
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