The truckers are leading the Canadian people’s revolt against tyranny, and it makes sense in so many ways.
Immune to bullshit
First, truckers are not part of the educated elites. And by that, I mean that they are less susceptible to being contaminated with ideological poisons than, say, journalists, university professors, or doctors. Many (such as George Orwell or Hannah Arendt) have described how the working classes are usually more resistant to ideologies than the intellectual classes. In a way, they are more immune to bullshit than the average.
Jobs that involve the physical reality of the world make it imperative to pay attention to reality itself, not one’s fantasized idea of reality. When you’re a truck driver, your idea of the road, your idea of weather or your idea of mechanics weighs nothing against the reality of the road, the reality of weather and the reality of mechanics. For your safety and that of others, you have to submit to those realities. You learn very quickly that your desires and wishes are insignificant against the laws of physics. It becomes a lot harder to fool you with lies, or ideas that bear no relationship to reality. The discrepancy between a lie and reality becomes glaringly obvious.
The very dangers of reality as encountered by truckers, such as icy roads or steep mountain passes, not to mention the risks of mechanical failure with the truck itself, also serve to immunize them against fake dangers. Truckers are used to dealing with real, tangible dangers. They know what dangerous means, and they are willing to take those risks and responsibilities. But when the government tries to instill fear in them or constraint their freedom for a virus which over 99% of the infected people survive, they don’t buy it, and they don’t take it. Conversely, intellectuals with no experience of the world (the “laptop class”) are easily submitted by the lies and willingly back tyrannical measures that they believe will protect them from an exaggerated danger.
Another obstacle between the elites and reality is the fact that the intellectual classes often have a social status which they are willing to go to acrobatic lengths to preserve. That is why many of them will side with the “version of reality”, so to speak, which is most likely to maintain their place in the social hierarchy. It becomes counter to their personal interest to see the truth. Needless to say, truck drivers don’t play that game. There is no higher spot on the social ladder waiting for them. And them keeping their spot in isn’t dependent on them buying into a collective lie. They’re part of no country club.
All that amounts to truck drivers probably being among the least permeable to the fallacious justifications brought forward by the government to justify its overreach. But this argument is really a general one in favour of the discernment and common sense of the working class, against the lack thereof of the elites. Something else further distinguishes the truck drivers, though: by definition, they travel.
Freedom of movement is Canada
The population-wide travel bans put in place by the government as part of their tyrannical and idiotic “public health” response directly impact the possibility for all Canadians to travel across the country, and even to leave the country. So when the truckers are targeted with a border-crossing ban, and they revolt against it, it echoes with the country at large which very geographical unity has been attacked by those broader mandates.
This is why Brian Peckford, who helped draft the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1981-1982, is focusing his lawsuit against the federal government (announced a few days ago on Jordan Peterson’s podcast) on the travel bans: as he says, Canada is “the second-largest country in the world. Travelling by plane and by train is extremely important for business, for the normal functioning of a nation, for the maintenance of families. The country was formed by moving from east to west with the railway. Our history is replete with that kind of stuff.” Canadian truck drivers are the contemporary embodiment of that founding fact of Canada: the freedom to travel. Without free movement, there is no Canada.
The truckers have never forgotten this. That is why their convoy is so “quintessentially Canadian”, as Andrew Lawton rightfully put it, and that is why we are all so moved by it. When we are stuck at home because of an nth lockdown or because a gratuitous mandate prevents us from travelling, and we see the truckers reconnecting the country through the road, reclaiming the very geography of Canada, we see the blood flowing through the land again. We see life, we see the essence of Canada being revived by a convoy of peaceful but determined, powerful men.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that those inspiring the country to reunite and reclaim its freedom are overwhelmingly men (96,5% of truck drivers were men in 2016). This isn’t to say that women aren’t capable of good things – obviously not. Nor that there aren’t any women truckers in the convoy or women supporting the convoy – obviously not. But I believe that the fact that this movement was started by truckers, which are almost all men, is itself meaningful.
Evolutionary biologist Heather Heying summed things up very well in one of her recent essays, where she describes what men at their best and women at their best look like:
“When the shit hits the fan […] Men are more likely to be direct and perhaps confrontational, either with words or with physical force. Women are more likely to work behind the scenes, and to phrase things in ways that sound gentler, but may reach different demographics than the male-typical approach. This is not a moral claim. This is an observation of a pattern.”
If the convoy is definitely a hopeful and joyful movement, one has to admit that it is also definitely “direct” and “confrontational”. The big rigs are coming and they are staying in Ottawa until something changes. That’s undeniably direct, undeniably confrontational, and undeniably a show of force, in the best possible way. It is assertive and courageous, in a positive and peaceful way. And as it turns out, it is typical of how men positively deal with difficult situations.
Because this is a movement which resonates with the whole country, and is generating nationwide solidarity, it is only natural that we are also witnessing women at their best: all the women working hard to help the convoy along, from organizing to preparing food at various stops along the road, come across as a beautiful example of the feminine way of “working behind the scenes” when “the shit hits the fan” and something needs to be done.
The point here obviously isn’t to say that one sex is better or more valuable than the other (nor to say that every individual man and woman will behave in these statistically observable patterns), but to see how, in a world where we only hear about toxic masculinity, the best qualities of men, their men-specific ways of dealing positively with problems, are playing a unique role in bringing the country back together.
And apparently, what the country needed was a convoy of truckers in their big rigs driving right to the tyrant’s house (metaphorically speaking) and saying, “enough is enough”.
(Jan 28 edit) Just in case there are readers of bad faith out there who would be so inclined to read any advocacy for violence or illegal actions in what I’m saying, let me be very clear: this convoy is and must remain peaceful. I am not literally advocating for the trucks to show up on Trudeau’s lawn. The convoy is direct and confrontational in the sense that it directly confronts the problem at hand and the tyrants. It is a show of force (i.e. strength, i.e., power, not violence) because hundreds of big rigs in Ottawa (the metaphorical tyrant’s house) is not the same as protesters waving signs, no matter how many there are. And this is all good because it is being done absolutely peacefully and positively, while being able to get a whole country’s attention and cristallize their hopes. This is what courage looks like. Now the haters can move on to the next blog.
You don’t tell a trucker
But truckers aren’t just courageous men. They’re truckers. And if one thing is true of truckers, it’s that they don’t get told.
The Freedom convoy is fundamentally an expression of the famous, fierce independence that comes with being a truck driver. And they have to be, if they want to enjoy and be good at their job. They have to take responsibility for their truck, their loads and their schedule. They are the boss on board.
Their work environment isn’t a buzzing 7th floor suite downtown, where they hang out with colleagues over sushi at lunch. No, they wake up when everybody else is still sleeping, they hook up to trailers loaded with sometimes hazardous materials, spend hours driving alone in rough conditions, block traffic and take over whole intersections in cities’ downtowns, eat and pee at the wheel and sleep for days in their tiny sleeper. It takes a certain type of personality to enjoy the challenges and rewards of that lifestyle. A type of personality that cherishes independence above all. A personality that doesn’t get told.
It therefore comes as no surprise that truckers would be the most reluctant to be imposed unnecessary rules and restrictions. They picked that lifestyle so they wouldn’t have a boss hanging over their shoulder. They’re not going to let that apprentice dictator in Ottawa impose his absurd whims on them.
Whether the truckers succeed in overturning any mandates in Ottawa is irrelevant at this point. What matters is that they stepped up, and that within a few days, they became a symbol of hope for a whole country, garnering tremendous support and worldwide attention. As I write these lines, I am filled with a joy which I haven’t felt in months.
Canadian truckers, thank you. You have already saved us!