"Of course, don't ever tell anybody that they're not free, 'cause then they're gonna get real busy killin' and maimin' to prove to you that they are. Oh, yeah, they're gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it's gonna scare 'em."
-Jack Nicholson, Easy Rider, 1969
I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this, but you're not free. You lack the basic rights of liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You live in a police state. More specifically, you live in a country with the largest prison population per capita in the world. Your rulers mandate what you put in your body, how you put it in your body, what kind of currency you must value… hell, even the way you show your love to a member of the opposite (or same) sex is mandated by law. And you have no say so.
You're American. You like to think you're in charge, that you're part of the winning team. You've been duped, straight up deeked. You're not free.
George Carlin once said, "Oh sure, you have freedoms. You're free to choose between the blue car and the red car…" And he's right. You can decide whether you'd rather have Xanax or Prozac, the iPod or the Zoom, the television show or the movie. You can decide on your brand of toilet paper and your brand of Vodka but you cannot decide where to worship your God or what method you use to cure your children's' illnesses… hell you're not even allowed to choose a currency that doesn't automatically lose its value to your oppressors over time.
But you think you're free.
You think you're free because "if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about."
Except of course if the rulers who are doing something wrong…
You think you're free because, "There's always been inflation. Money's always been like this."
Except of course, that there hasn't always been inflation (see 1885-1913) and one of our founding fathers (Andrew Jackson) made it his stance both politically and personally to stop our paper money from "Being like this."
You think you're free because it's worse in other countries. You think you're free because you can vote for one side of a two-party system that differs in opinion only on the subject of where they spend the money they steal from you. You think you're free because, like old Jack said, the idea of not being free frustrates you and pisses you off. As it should.
But you're lazy. You're American. And you like to think that you're in charge, that the whole thing makes sense, that you're a part of the winning team. You've been duped, fooled and straight up deeked. You've been tricked into believing you're part of something special when in all honesty, you are a source of continuing income for the rich, a piece of livestock that must be controlled, contained and milked for all it's worth. You are a dumb milking cow chewing on the cud they call "status quo."
And as you stand there, chewing away, watching them electrify the fences in the name of your safety (as they say) and not to protect their financial interests (as is the truth), waiting for them to steal your milk right out from under you, you may experience a slight tinge of frustration, a maybe kinda sorta feeling that things are not right. You won't react to this because you have television and the movies, you have the blue car and the red car, you have your Xanax. And anyway, the world's always been like this.
There's always been someone stealing from you. There's always been this big, electric fence. Things have always been like this and we can't expect them to change. We can't stop it and we can't make it go away.
And since we cannot actually be free, the next best thing is to convince ourselves that we already are free. We can pretend the cud is lobster. We can pretend we can choose how we live. We can pretend that all of this is awesome and perfect and the way it always has been and the way it always will be.
We are, in short, free to lie to ourselves.