That’s what I was going to call this post: Why the hell would anybody want to be free?
Yes, the question would have been rhetorical and no I don’t mean I’m thinking of taking up communism or nihilism instead of the freedomquest.
But seriously. You know from experience that being a freedomista often brings you grief. You get the sorrow of watching your country go to hell. The agony of knowing your children will have it worse than you do. You have to put up with the sneers or uncomprehending stares of people who don’t want to hear perfectly sensible ideas. You hear media morons who know nothing about economics dismiss real money as “weird.” You watch the Bill of Rights crumble to dust, day by day. You know that the policeman is not your friend. That public servants are cruel masters. You know so much that it hurts.
Your neighbors, who fit in better than you, don’t know or don’t care. And they’re happy.
So why the hell would anybody want to be free? And by that I don’t mean, “Why would anybody rather be free than live in a Soviet gulag?” Or, “Why would anybody rather be free than to be tied up and waterboarded by a neocon puppet?” That’s obvious.
I mean, “Why would anybody rather be truly free than to live semi-free as we live now?” Or, “Why would anybody rather be Bill-of-Rights type free than live in, say, a European welfare state?” Why isn’t it enough to be relatively free? Freer than people in, say, Kenya or Saudi Arabia or even the UK or Massachusetts (sorry, Taxachusettsians).
The chances of achieving the degree of personal and political freedom we desire are slim, so why do we bang our heads when things really aren’t that bad (unless of course you’re Bradley Manning or Cory Maye or somebody else who has had too close an encounter with AUTHORITAH)?
But of course that’s looking at the question backwards.
The real question that dogged me all last weekend, the question whose answer could totally change minds, open eyes, and set spirits soaring is this:
So that’s the new name of this post: The One Great Thing. What one thing about freedom makes it worthwhile for those who seek it? What One Great Thing can make all the struggle worthwhile?
If you could convey to people just one simple thing that makes true freedom better than the alternative — one little thing that even a child could understand — what would it be?