The Biggest Obstacle to Freedom

The Biggest Obstacle to Freedom
Bevin Chu

June 25, 2007

The biggest obstacle to freedom is not logical, but psychological. We the Sheeple are accustomed to Big Brother’s definition of freedom, as carved on the face of the Ministry of Truth:

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

We cannot imagine life without government. We cannot imagine not having to pay taxes. We cannot imagine not being told what to do. We dismiss as “lunatic fringe” those who suggest that maybe, just maybe, we could actually live our lives perfectly well without Big Brother watching over us. Genuine freedom, not the slavery passing for freedom that we know under democracy and other forms of dictatorship, elective and non-elective, is quite literally unimaginable to us.


The Shawshank Redemption (1994, directed by Frank Darabont, written by Stephen King and Frank Darabont): Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.

Voter/taxpayers in “advanced democracies” are little different from the prison inmates in The Shawshank Redemption. Both voter/taxpayers within democracies, and inmates within prisons are thoroughly “institutionalized.”

Voter/taxpayers within democracies are institutionalized first by the psychological bars within their minds, then in the event some of them wise up to the scam, by physical bars around their bodies.

Inmates within prisons are institutionalized first by the physical bars around their bodies, then with the passage of the years, by the psychological bars within their minds.

104 EXT — PRISON YARD BLEACHERS — DUSK (1954) 104

ANDY
I just don’t understand what happened in there, that’s all.

HEYWOOD
Old man’s crazy as a rat in a tin shithouse, is what.

RED
Heywood, enough. Ain’t nothing wrong with Brooksie. He’s just institutionalized, that’s all.

HEYWOOD
Institutionalized, my ass.

RED
Man’s been here fifty years. This place is all he knows. In here, he’s an important man, an educated man. A librarian. Out there, he’s nothing but a used-up old con with arthritis in both hands. Couldn’t even get a library card if he applied. You see what I’m saying?

FLOYD
Red, I do believe you’re talking out of your ass.

RED
Believe what you want. These walls are funny. First you hate ’em, then you get used to ’em. After long enough, you get so you depend on ’em. That’s “institutionalized.”

JIGGER
Shit. I could never get that way.

ERNIE
(softly)
Say that when you been inside as long as Brooks has.

RED
Goddamn right. They send you here for life, and that’s just what they take. Part that counts, anyway.


Andy Dufresne and Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding, inmates of Shawshank Prison, played by Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman

Champions of democracy smugly assure us that democracies, unlike other forms of dictatorship, are “responsive to the will of the people” and “provide for peaceful regime change.”

Oh, really?

As Ron Paul noted in his recent debate with other 2008 GOP presidential candidates, 70% of the American people oppose Gulf War II and want the troops to come home, yet the Bush II regime remains stubbornly indifferent to their clearly expressed wishes.

So where is democracy’s “responsiveness to the will of the people?”

The only candidate with the guts to openly oppose the war and who has explicitly sworn to end it if elected, is libertarian Ron Paul. Guess what? He is being shut out of future debates. Both the liberal and conservative wings of America’s Demopublican one party system intend to trot out someone “mainstream” who will parrot the same Chickenhawk policies as Bush II.

So where is democracy’s “provision for peaceful regime change?”

Apparently any regime change under a democracy must be non-peaceful, just like under other forms of dictatorship. Unless one is willing to resort to the desperate extreme of non-peaceful regime change, one is just going to have to lump it.

The cruel irony is that democracy makes regime change even more difficult than under other forms of dictatorship. Democracy’s bogus claim that it provides for peaceful regime change inside the system makes the Great Silent Majority unwilling to sign on to non-peaceful regime change, even when peaceful regime change under a democracy is impossible. Democracy’s bogus reputation for “accountability” enables an unresponsive regime to dig its heels in even more deeply, enriching the “players” who know how to work the system, and impoverishing the nominal “masters of the nation.”

The result is an elective dictatorship, even less responsive to the Will of the People than other forms of dictatorship, and even less susceptible to regime change, peaceful or otherwise.

That is why a benevolent dictatorship such as Singapore’s can sometimes be better than a democratic dictatorship such as Taiwan’s, Indonesia’s, or the Philippines’.


The Shawshank Redemption: Andy Dufresne “de-institutionalizes” himself

The solution to the problem of dictatorships is not to pick and choose among different forms of dictatorship, including democratic dictatorships.

The solution is to reject all forms of dictatorship. The solution is to “de-institutionalize” ourselves.

The solution is to choose free markets, to privatize each and every function “normally” provided by government monopolies, including the police, the military, and the courts. The solution is to choose free market anarchism.

But that requires that we overcome the biggest obstacle to freedom, fear. That requires that we psychologically “de-institutionalize” ourselves, the way Andy Dufresne physically “de-institutionalized” himself in The Shawshank Redemption.

We must conquer our fear of the unknown. We must reclaim our hope for the future. We must reject the attitude embodied in the expression “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”

As the tagline from the film put it so well: Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.

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