Opinion: Uniformity vs. Unity

Opinion: Uniformity vs. Unity

Written by Sarah Fischer
Sarah is a Political Communications Advisor living in Ottawa

Uniformity and unity are sometimes mistakenly used interchangeably, but they are in fact extremely different in both motivation and appearance.

Although uniformity can often give off the impression of unity, the two are actually antithetical. Uniformity, or sameness, speaks to outward appearance and impression, whereas unity may appear disjointed and dissimilar, but beneath the surface, there is a sense of oneness.

If you look at images of the Korean People’s Army, you will see lines and lines of thousands of North Koreans in almost robotic step with one another and perfectly uniform in appearance. Due to the lack of diversity in image and movement of this military organization, the intended impression it gives off is one of impenetrable strength.

It is undeniable that there is a certain power in sameness (either real or imagined), but it’s important to note that what always accompanies uniformity is control. Conversely, what must pre-empt true unity is freedom.

We have an odd situation taking place in our increasingly secularized society, which professes to uphold diversity and tolerance as core values, and yet is arguably obsessed with conformity and uniformity of belief. Any outliers who don’t fall in line with the state-sanctioned doctrine and belief system of the day are often ridiculed, ostracized and labeled a menace and threat to the collective.

We have erroneously equated unity with conformity, and the two could not be more dissimilar in both principle and practice. Unity requires the freedom to opt-in and choose to stand with others regardless of differences, and subsequently, the freedom to choose not to. Conformity demands likeness without real choice, hence the need for control.

By demanding uniformity through conformity, we erase the uniqueness and diversity of the individual. This is problematic in a free and democratic society, which maintains its strength through the manifestation of sovereign individuals choosing to live in harmony and cooperation with their fellowman, even when homogeneity is absent. The key of course is that they are free to choose.

When the freedom and liberties of the individual are removed for the purpose of creating a more uniform society, then the opportunity for the individual to choose unity is also taken away. This results in a weaker society, a demoralized individual and a more powerful state.

I would observe that out of a desire for comfort and convenience, many Canadians are sanctioning the state to impose uniformity of preferred belief on their fellow citizens by any means necessary in order to prevent them from having to accommodate differences and the challenges that accompany true diversity.

In many ways, it is more convenient to live in a society with people who look like you, think like you and believe what you believe. I think we naturally, as humans, coalesce with those who are most like us. The danger of course arises when the state naturally expands its newly attained power to move beyond forcing your neighbour to comply with your beliefs, to requiring your behavioural modification in line with its own political agenda. If you doubt this to be a possibility, just crack open a history book and you will recognize the pattern.

A way to reverse course from this dangerous trajectory is to recognize the differences between uniformity and unity, and strive for the latter. Also, know that you cannot demand unity and expect it to magically appear. Unity is most often formed around a purpose, a vision or a cause. It can also come about when we discover the commonalities between us, of which there are many if we will look for them.

To my fellow Canadians, be on guard against a government that would try to turn you against your neighbour under the guise of safety, harm reduction, health, protection, collectivism, etc.

When the Canadian people stand with one another in unity and love, despite our differences, the government automatically loses power over all of us, and this is when we can be free and reach our greatest potential as individuals, together.

(Photo credit: The Globe and Mail)


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