Marcus Fysh

I am sorry I compared Covid measures to Nazi Germany

The Holocaust was horrible and we should never forget it

December 14, 2021 14:04

The Holocaust was one of the most horrible things to have happened in human history and we can and never should forget it.

Both in memory of those murdered and in order that we can learn and further teach the right lessons from what happened, we need to be careful and precise about what we mean when discussing the events themselves and those which led up to them. Terms related to the political environment in which they occurred are often used too casually and imprecisely, and often in political attacks that are not appropriate at all.

While I know much about the Holocaust and will continue to have the greatest of respect for and interest in the testimony of survivors I would like to visit the camps, an opportunity I have not yet had but which I am sure would probably be the best way to understand the true enormity of what occurred.

I am sorry that during debate about the current Covid impositions being proposed I put forward my argument about what right a majority of people might have - in my view in a state of fear - to limit the fundamental rights of others, by saying that we are not Nazi Germany.

By the grace of God thankfully we are not, and it was a mistake for me to say this without being able to ensure full context and explanation, allowing my comment to be presented differently to what I meant and be hurtful to people. I am therefore grateful for this opportunity to assure friends in the Jewish community and beyond that I in no way intended to trivialise what happened in the Holocaust or equate it in any way with measures
being proposed, and to explain the point I too clumsily tried to make.

I will also be most aware of the impact such mistakes can have and would encourage all in political discourse to think about these issues carefully and not make a similar mistake.

One of the key lessons of the terrible events that unfolded under the Third Reich is that humankind is all too capable of not taking action until it is too late psychologically for many to stop simply going along with whatever is happening. That includes almost every one of us, and it is a terrible lesson.

As we look today at the range and scale of challenge and change we face as a species, it is essential we build an acute awareness of the importance of fundamental freedoms into everything we do, in both public and private spheres.

Unless we keep reinforcing that all humans deserve freedom, the danger is that human freedom will be eroded bit by bit, under asserted or irrationally perceived exigencies or convenience, until it is too late.

The changes under way in our digital age are often of a pace beyond our ability to understand and act on, and they are capable of being at least as tumultuous as mechanisation and industrialisation were before. Unless fundamental human freedoms are built in by design they will be lost.

This needs our attention now on account of the considerable financial, social, environmental and health stresses in the systems we currently interact with, and the way rapid communication of them can be very frightening and frustrating to people.

We must, for example, ensure that ethical human governance is built properly and immutably into artificial intelligence, the way we manage our relationship with nature, and the ways we interact with each other socially and economically.

I think we need to be especially careful now to be rational, to promote objective truth, and to dispel fear, and I do think irrationality is creeping into decision making.

We need to be especially careful to examine majoritarian decision making that affects fundamental freedoms, such as for example are currently under discussion with respect to association and bodily control.

While the present decisions over Covid are not in the same league as difficulties to which others have been brough - and I am sorry that there has been any perception that I think it might be - snowballs start small, gather pace and can go in strange directions. There are further critical decisions in view, such as on privacy and property, and we need to be awake, paying attention, and ready to fight for freedom and roll back to it as the default position.

Above all we must never forget we are all human, and the pinnacle that we can see as of now in God’s creation. Freedom is something we deserve, and have a responsibility to ensure persists for all creation.

December 14, 2021 14:04

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