Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How Much Freedom Do We Want?

We humans are social animals.  So far so good.  But in our modern era we preen ourselves on our emergence from the Dark Ages into the Light, from superstition into Enlightenment.  Today we are free, whereas people used to live under oppression: feudalism, patriarchy and all that.

But the curious fact about our modern era is the discipline.  Never mind the discipline of the old slave plantations.  What about the discipline of the factory?  Or the discipline of the schools, the government child-custodial facilities?  Or the modern office, with its ranks of dutiful drones sitting in front of their computers?   Construction: everything according to the charts and scratching of the project management plan.  Or the one-size-fits-all entitlement programs.

Do we moderns really want to be free, as the right proposes?  Or liberated, as the left proposes?  Or do we just want to be told what to do in return for our free stuff?

Here I am in this blog, busily damning to hell the injustice, the cruelty of the modern administrative welfare state: government is force, I say; politics is division; system is domination.

Here we have our liberal friends damning to hell the injustice, the cruelty of the modern corporation and the dastardly Koch brothers.

Could both be right?  If so, it could be that our modern society is the most oppressive, exploitative that there ever was.

Think about it.  In the bad old days of the feudal system at least the average peasant could run his day-to-day life without the constant interference from his lord.  Of course, if he didn't show up to do his share of the work on the lord's demesne, or pay his annual share of the crop, he'd be in a whole heap of trouble.  But otherwise, it seems to me, the lord left him alone.

Today the government is intensely interested in the details of our lives.  It makes us "legible."  It taxes us beyond the dreams of the old patriarchs; it wants to tell us what to eat, what to think.  It tells us how to save for retirement; it organizes our health care.  And of course it takes our children away from us to confine them in those government child-custodial facilities.  No exceptions.

Do we moderns really want freedom?  Or do we just want our modicum of free stuff and the luxury of complaining about our rulers as they order us about?

Maybe we just want to go with the flow until our rulers throw us over the cliff.  But then, by golly, we will show them!

No comments:

Post a Comment