Sunday, March 12, 2006

Freedom on a leash

This essay has been a link here for a long time
as "Rights, the Bad Con".

It's a classic so I'll occasionally refer to it
Now my reader may say that most are like the law-
abiding, free-minded individual, just obeying to
avoid punishment, but in fact that is not the
case. Government has become a deeply engrained
religion of sorts, and people have become
dependent on the security (illusory and
otherwise) which the group mentality provides.
They see presidents, governors, soldiers,
policemen, and pieces of carefully printed paper
as holy and sacred. They believe deeply that
rights granted are freedoms. Except when
encouraged to do otherwise, they assume that the
law is right, and that which breaks the law is
wrong. They rarely question the basic fabric of
their beliefs. It is unthinkable.

Further, even aside from the influence of their
governments proper, people are greatly influenced
by the subtle pressures and taboos of their
neighbors. They sacrifice themselves and their
liberty to blend in, not merely because they fear
the consequences of being different, a reasonable
fear even for a free-minded individual, but
because they honestly come to believe themselves
to be wrong, broken, sick. They come to hate
themselves as others do.

The difference between those who are free at
heart, yet lack liberty, and those who are deeply
conditioned to believe in authority, cannot often
be clearly seen in times of peace. Those who have
forgotten freedom will often claim they are free,
ironically pointing to their leashes, their
rights, as proof. But when the opportunities for
change come, as they always do eventually, these
people will cower and try to retain 'the system'.
They have grown dependent on it. They will
respond to those who welcome change with violence
and hatred, much like a trained dog on a leash
angrily barking at a stranger. Others will
welcome change, and will struggle through it,
still able to see that greater things can be

Full essay.