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Thu

14

Aug

2008

The Free World has never been Free
Thursday, 14 August 2008 04:29
by Roland Michel Tremblay

North America along with Western Europe have often been called the Free World, with the American President usually self appointed as the Leader of the Free World. The distinction can only be understood in terms of the Second World War and the Cold War era when these countries were compared with communist regimes where democracy and freedom were noticeably less on the agenda. So are we living in a Free World, or are we simply living in a world more free than certain others?

It was easy 50 years ago to define the free world, it is not so easy now. It is not enough to say that we are free just because others have it worse than us, as it would not be fair to say we are living in rich countries because Africa is starving and we’re not. I’m starving, I’ve always been starving, and yet, I’ve always lived in the so called free world, and oh, by the way, I never felt free either.

What is it that people are talking about when they wish to claim freedom for an entire nation? What kind of freedom can be gained by going after terrorists and attacking the Middle-East? What kind of freedom is Paul McCartney singing about in his famous song written in response to the 9/11 attack? I am puzzled when he states that we are free and that we need to fight to remain free. I am puzzled, because I cannot see how we are actually free right now.

With more rules and regulations coming into play every day by many governments, with the advent of new terrorism laws and patriot acts, I can see that the collective freedom has taken its toll, and that the little freedom we already had has just gone up in smoke.

Still, this was not freedom in my mind. Because I can only define freedom from my own small frame of reference. How every citizen is actually free, taken individually, not as a nation. So were we free before those terrorism laws? I feel that any kind of small freedom you might wish to take, has got a high price to pay attached to it. And you would be right to wonder if it is worth exercising your right to freedom, with such consequences happening every time you choose to do so. This can be better understood when assessing what goes on in our daily life.

Freedom starts at home and continues in school and later on in life. Are you free to decide to leave your parents’ home to live on your own? No, not only your parents or family would not allow it, the law will support their decision until at the very least you are 16. Are you free not to attend school and high school? Usually not until you are at least 16 years old.

So, until you are at least 16, perhaps 18, sometimes 21, you are not free by any means, you have to do what you are told by a string of different authorities which will insure that you cannot deviate even slightly from the path they will lay out for you.

By the time you are old enough to free yourself from your parents and other authorities, let’s see how free you really are. You have to work, and since those previous authorities would have guided you for nearly 20 years, you will usually be trapped in working in a certain field depending on what you studied.

You could always decide not to work, but then you cannot simply decide to find a bit of green somewhere and erect your little cabin there to live. That bit of green will need to be purchased, taxes and other bills will need to be paid, and so you are not free to do as you wish, you have to work or receive some sort of government benefit. In which case you will not be free at all and will once again have to live where they tell you and do whatever else they order you, or else you won’t get your benefit.

When you have a job, how free are you? I’ve already said so, and there is not much else I could add, being chained to a job is as good as being in prison. You again have to do what you are told by your boss or manager, and if you don’t, you will quickly realise how little freedom you really have. You are free to change job, find a new employer, you might then be a little bit more free, but probably not by much.

Then you could always start your own business, be your own boss, you are free to do so, if you have the money, usually you don’t. And then you will understand that this is hard work, with little freedom, as if you had a boss. Because one way or another, you always have to answer to someone else, be it creditors, banks, governments and tax people. Not getting up one day cannot become a normal occurrence, you will be married to your business and it might be more demanding than a hysterical partner or a control freak manager.

Which brings freedom on a personal and social level. You are usually not free to sleep around, you are required to marry and have kids, and after that, any sort of freedom you might take could lead to disastrous consequences. Being in a relationship is like the end of your last freedom. You need to report back on everything you do, spend or decide, and it is never easy. If you have children, you might as well consider you have lost all your freedom, because then you have, in the eyes of the law, a whole book of responsibilities and obligations.

And what about the freedom of suddenly moving to London or New York or Paris and work for a living? Impossible, unless you were born in those countries. You have no freedom to move to other countries to live. Lucky you if like me you were born in Canada, a rich and spacious country with different climates. Shame on you if you were born in a principality as big as certain people’s backyard, you will most likely have to die in your principality.

Though you will be able to enjoy holidays abroad once in a while, if you work hard enough to save money to do so, and then again, many places will require visas and other form of bureaucracy. Aliens from outer space witnessing such a state of affair might be puzzled by our lack of freedom to roam the world freely and the chance to live wherever we want on that small planet of ours.

And finally, perhaps the most important freedom of all, the one to say what we feel inside, the freedom of speech. We are all told that it is in the Constitution, but really, we have no such freedom. Criticising the American President in recent years has proven so. Anyone who decided to say that going to war with the Middle-East was a bad idea, has been ostracised by everyone else and their career standing in shambles right after, with no more credibility than a child who has not witnessed anything in his life and doesn’t know what he is talking about.

You are free to criticise political parties or other groups, but you are usually attacked as a result and stand to lose a lot. So in the end you better shut your big mouth and continue with your other duties, responsibilities and obligations. Before some authority decides that you are not fit to live in their society and starts restraining your freedom a bit more every day, by closing in your face every single door to any kind of freedom.

You will rarely be able to do whatever you want in life, any decision requires a lot of planning and usually a lot of bureaucracy. You cannot decide to go to France this afternoon, you have to go to work, you have to think of your employer, your wife or husband, your kids, your passport, your bank balance, the list goes on.

The Free World has wrongly been called free, we are not free, it is in the Social Contract of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Your freedom ends where your neighbours’ freedom begins, and since we are surrounded by neighbours everywhere we go at any time, the only freedom you will ever enjoy can only be in your own mind. The freedom that we have all been told we had, is a virtual concept that in practice does not materialise.

Freedom is but an illusion, there is no free world to speak of in the here and now on this planet, and as hard as I could try to figure out a way to bring this world any sort of freedom, I cannot see it happening any time soon.

And now I have to go back to work, my lunch hour is over by five minutes, and God knows in how much trouble I will be for being that late. This is another battle for freedom I will most assuredly lose, and there will be draconian consequences.

Writing this entry is my last taste of freedom against such social repression I live under. There is no such thing as freedom.


This article is an excerpt of the book “Destructivism, The Path to Self-Destruction”, written by Roland Michel Tremblay. It is available online for free on his website, it also contains all his previous political articles:

Roland Michel Tremblay can be contacted at this email address: rm@themarginal.com
 
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