May 26, 2009 – After a lifetime of observation, I’ve come to the unwelcome conclusion that the vast majority of people want to be subservient.
By The Cerebral Aesthetic Vagabond
It’s often claimed that people treasure freedom, but is that true of all people or merely a tiny, independently-minded minority? Unfortunately, a lifetime of observation has led me to conclude that the vast majority of people do not want to be free, either physically or intellectually. They seem repulsed by genuine freedom, as if it’s a grotesque skin disease.
Witness peoples’ willingness, no, eagerness to trade their physical liberty for “security,” which always seems to dangle tantalizingly in the distance, like a carrot, or perhaps more accurately, like a mirage. If people would give up just a little more of their liberty, maybe they’ll finally achieve that ethereal, alluring promise of “security.” They are right, of course: If they continue to give up their liberty, they will eventually find themselves in maximum security.
Perhaps most people are so overwhelmed with life – or so distracted by bread and circuses – that they have insufficient capacity for making all the decisions a truly free person would have to make, so they welcome having someone else making decisions for them. Without the infrastructure of “civilization,” I suspect most people on earth would expire, so at least “civilization” keeps them alive, but at the cost of their freedom. As near as I can tell, prior to the advent of “civilization,” the human population was rather low and not growing very rapidly.
Peoples’ revulsion to freedom is not limited to the physical realm, but is perhaps even more striking in the intellectual realm. Observe how willing people are to bow to false gods and “inconvenient truths,” while ignoring what they see with their own eyes, or rather, what they do not see. (See Why I am a Climate Realist and Coleman’s Corner.) Despite the dearth of dire consequences ensuing from the mythology of anthropogenic global warming, such as the record number of hurricanes that never did seem to materialize, people, even supposedly intelligent people allow their behavior to be governed not by their own interest, but by the politically correct dictate of reducing their “carbon footprint.” I’m all for being environmentally conscious and minimizing my impact on the environment, and I abhor waste and needless destruction. Nevertheless, you won’t catch me ditching a perfectly functional old car and buying a brand new hybrid car in order to reduce my “carbon footprint,” as I’ve seen some people do. I might buy a hybrid car because my old car is dead and needs to be replaced, and the hybrid car is an elegant piece of engineering that’s fuel efficient. But mindlessly internalizing the concept of reducing one’s “carbon footprint” and adjusting one’s behavior accordingly is not the act of a person who wants to be free, but a person who wants to be subservient drone. Who, after all, prescribes this appropriate behavior that the adherent aspires to? It is not himself, but someone in “authority.” (By the way, one way to reduce automobile pollution substantially without consuming all those resources required to manufacture a brand new car is to drive less! Incredible, but true.)
My father listens to a conflicted radio host who claims to be a champion of freedom and a defender of the Constitution, and fulminates daily against big, intrusive government, but then sides with the government when it wants to forcibly inject a boy with chemotherapy drugs against his will. That’s not freedom, but authoritarianism. (See The Survival of Billy Best Proves Cancer Doctors Wrong about Daniel Hauser.) I have a mind to ask this particular radio host which article of the Constitution authorizes the government to force people to undergo chemotherapy treatment (or mandatory vaccinations, for that matter).
Along the same lines, I hear “intelligent” people express their faith that if everyone were forced to buy health insurance, health care costs would miraculously decline. Besides confusing the symptoms (lack of money to pay for health care) for the disease (high health care costs), advocating forcing people to do anything, even if it’s “for their own good,” is not the attitude of a free person, but that of a willing slave; worse, a willing slave who’s willing to enslave others as well.
Recently, I sent an e-mail to my friends and family expressing my outrage that a local government would interfere with a small bible studies class held in a private residence. To my surprise, one friend, a religious one no less, sided with the government, saying he wouldn’t want to have a “church” operating next door to his house. I thought it so perverse: Me, a heathen, siding with religion; and him, a religious person, siding with the government against his own religion! My umbrage at this government assault on a First Amendment freedom aside, I suppose part of my astonishment at my friend’s reaction ensues from the fact that I’ve never cared what my neighbors did with their property. I wouldn’t care if they stored rusting automobile hulks in their front yard. It’s their property, not mine, and as far as I’m concerned, they are free to do what they want with their property.
I think most people don’t trust themselves to “behave,” so they welcome some “authority” – the government, the church, “society,” political correctness – to dictate to them how to behave. If it’s true that people don’t trust themselves, then it logically follows that they don’t trust others either, which explains why they seem even more eager to enslave others than themselves. Actually, I’ve observed this expression of self-doubt many times, such as when people say to me, “Well, if you don’t believe in god or practice a religion, how can you be moral?” Clearly, for them, their church or their deity is the “authority” that controls their behavior. An expression like the hypothetical one above implies that without the guidance of the authority of the church or the deity, such people would have no morals. By contrast, I trust my own conscience, self-respect, wisdom, experience, civility and empathy to “tell” me how to behave. Consequently, because I trust myself, I’m also more inclined to trust others than most people I know, who tend to be authoritarian, subservient and mistrustful of others.
I’ve said in the past that 90% of the people are willing to be subservient, 5% are willing to be their masters and the remaining 5%, people like me, just want to be free and left alone. We don’t want to dominate or be dominated. (Sometimes we call ourselves libertarians.) Clearly, the 90% who embrace subservience do not cherish freedom. Neither do the 5% willing to be the masters. Obviously, if they are willing to be masters of others, they do not value freedom for those others, but what these masters fail to appreciate is that when they elect to dominate others, they aren’t free either, but are slaves to that structure themselves! Should they permit the bonds through which they subjugate others to dissolve, their own livelihoods would be threatened, so they must work forever to sustain their system of dominance. For an example of what I’m talking about, consider all those people employed in law enforcement and the prison industry. People who are truly free and truly treasure freedom for others can exist indefinitely that way since their existence is not contingent on exploiting, or being exploited by others. Quite honestly, it doesn’t bother me that so many people long to be slaves. What bothers me is that they are willing to take me down that path with them.