The Illusion of Freedom

I’m not American, but I think we all know what this symbolises.

Freedom is dead. In actuality, it never existed.

A staple of Western society, regardless of whether you are British, American, Australian, etcetera, is that there is the commonly held belief that our society gives us far more freedoms than in other societies. We are not members of small, overtly religious, developing societies, and are thus we see ourselves as free from the many violations of freedom that plague them: religious persecution, persecution on the basis of sexuality, race, or ethnicity, the restriction of free speech or whatever else.

Except there are many freedoms we’ve given up, living in a Western world. As highlighted in a blog post by everwriting, it is difficult to speak freely in a world where every defence of your beliefs is read as an attack, and where the media jumps at the opportunity to create political sh*tstorms for money. Perhaps people are not usually killed, but they are socially devastated in attempting to exercise this freedom, from Anita Bryant to Aiden Burley to Peter Norman. It shouldn’t matter that you disagree because speech should, in a society that prides itself on freedom, be free. And quite often, it isn’t. Because of the media, because of political correctness (any English person will understand exactly what I mean there), because of human nature.

Moving away from speech, often freedom is bypassed even in democratic governments; racial profiling is blatant even in supposedly multicultural countries;  and companies spy on you with or without your consent. Gays cannot join certain societies, blacks cannot join certain societies, gender-exclusive societies and clubs prohibit the unwanted sex from joining. Those born with silver-spoons in their mouth or in the right families, are able to join societies and experience things others of a “lower class” never can or will. This may seem a problem of equality to some, but there is a fine line between freedom and equality in my book. And this world has neither. Governments will tell us that we do, we may convince ourselves in the day-to-day running of our lives, but the truth is freedom has never been ours. Along with the growth of society, we may have developed new levels of tolerance and been moved to feats of greater audacity, but our freedom is still as restricted as in other cultures of the world. As we progress we’ve become victims of modern incursions on our liberty, and things have really only stayed the same: we’re victims to the illusion of freedom.

If you agree or disagree, or have any other points to make, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll reply.

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11 thoughts on “The Illusion of Freedom

  1. everwriting

    Thank you for the reference back to my article on freedom of speech. With regard to your article above, in my opinion, we are being groomed to accept loss of freedom as the price we have to pay for “security”. Are we any less secure than we were 40 years ago? I’d like to say No, but the fact is we are in grave danger, but not from the enemies we are encouraged to fear. We are being terrorized by those we are conditioned to trust.

    Reply
    1. dlaiden Post author

      No problem. 😀 It was an excellent article.

      Yes, you’re absolutely right. “You can’t walk around at night because it’s dangerous, but just be glad you don’t live in a country where people are dragged out of their beds and murdered.” That’s the sentiment. Successive governments and companies would have us believe that we must trust in their provided security, by using the fear of the “other”: we’ll do anything to establish our individuality and distinguish ourselves from a “developing” country. To be anti-conformist to this view is a violation of political correctness and society’s laws. If you protest against illegal wars, disagree with certain political, social, or racial issues, you should at the very least be allowed to speak. Instead, the ideal is that we’re all part of the people being told what to do and say. >.< It's all a load of nonsense.

      Reply
  2. everwriting

    Whatever happened to “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”? (Franklin D. Roosevelt, Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933) – http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5057/. Compare that to the terror inflicted on us by successive presidents and candidates from the whole of the political spectrum, as well as mainstream media (whose only excuse for their sensationalism is to keep their jobs). Where are the Woodwards and Bernsteins now? – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Woodward; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Bernstein

    Reply
    1. dlaiden Post author

      I completely agree. For example, the case where the government was allowed to plant missiles atop homes. People’s rights were bypassed in the name of “preventing terrorism and aiding public safety.” Because publicly naming the location of the missiles, and the amount of people who would die in the event those missiles hit and downed a target, will keep the people of Britain nice and “safe”. It’s disgusting and insulting.

      Reply
  3. ninichissimart

    I also don’t buy all this ‘democracy’ preaching in the West – yes, you do have freedom as long as you act within the norms i.e. unwritten rules. Once you are outside of it, you are not really free to go (no matter if that is really within legal boundaries). And then we talk about freedom elsewhere… please

    Reply
  4. kafkaesque777

    I truly loved this article but for some reason the site has a “Love it” button for me to click so i’ll settle for “Like”. And yes the freedom that all of us are “enjoying” today are lessons in contradictions.We have freedom of religion ,but all evangelism (for any religion) is considered “forced conversion” or even better “brainwashing”.We have the freedom of speech ,but are socially and politically ripped to shreds if we voice an opinion that goes against the status quo.The examples that can be given are too numerous to count….so i hope we can stop counting and start fixing.

    Reply
  5. ancoron85

    In two days, I am returning to Germany from a one month trip to Russia. Aside from certain economic differences, it is pretty much the same here as in the west for many people. If you want to be free, you have to cut yourself loose from the greater society and try it on your own. Of course, that is not a guarantee. You might end up as a criminal out of desparation, and whether you are caught by the police or not, there is no freedom there. Every society, every form of organization that you consider yourself a part of, restricts your freedom. They’re not all bad, though, since you can exchange your freedom for certain benefits; that is the basic concept of legitimizing power and institutions. There is freedom, but not much.

    Reply
  6. Pingback: Of (Metaphorical) Mice and Men | a flock of crows

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