In one of his famous essays, C.S. Lewis warned about the tyranny from bureaucrats and politicians whose rules and regulations essentially impose a gentler form of tyranny. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.”
Cameron Hilditch argues that totalitarianism today is “soft around the edges” and thus a gentler kind of tyranny. “It has replaced the figure of the strongman with that of the virtuous scold.”
He finds an apt example of this in a First Amendment case from a school in Mississippi. Elementary school children must wear a mask at school. Naturally, the parents of nine-year-old Lydia Booth sent her off with the requisite face mask. The principal had a problem with the mask because it said “Jesus Loves Me.” She forced Lydia to take off her mask and put on a plain one. You can guess the reason: the words were Christian and violated school policy.
According to the lawsuit, Lydia’s parents could not find such a policy. But magically the policy showed up two days after the incident, claiming that face masks cannot display “political, religious, sexual or any inappropriate symbols, gestures, or statements.”
Our friends at the Alliance Defending Freedom argue that Lydia’s First Amendment rights were violated. They also point out that other children wore masks with sports-team logos and political messages such as “Black Lives Matter” without incident.
Hilditch concludes that the family and the lawyers have an excellent First Amendment case. I also agree with his call for us to challenge these prevailing secular, progressive ideas in the public arena.