Freedom: A Great Lie

“But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.”
― John Steinbeck, East of Eden

I can’t say for sure where the notion of ‘freedom’ originated, I can only see that it’s pure propaganda. It’s the type of propaganda lots of people prefer to believe since it dulls the pain of their existence in a world that is fundamentally unfree. A world that is fundamentally oppressive and orthodox. A world that doesn’t care if you’re free as long as you think you are, so you don’t tear up the society you live within that makes the rules that ensure you’re never ‘free’. Freedom of action has never existed. Freedom of expression has never existed. Freedom of thought only exists until it’s spoke to the wrong people. The closest anyone ever gets to ‘freedom’ is willfully choosing the path they follow, whether that path is contained within the rules outlined by their society and is deemed ‘acceptable’ or not contained within those rules and considered ‘unacceptable’, which leads to them being punished in some way. This is an idea I’ve had for quite some time, far longer than the riots in Hong Kong have been taking place, but those riots and the circle talk presented by those defending them convinced me that this idea should be spoken.

Basically, ‘freedom’ doesn’t exist, what exists are ‘rule structures’, and even the people with their circle talk defending the HK riots know that is the truth (regardless of their ability to comprehend what they’re saying). Their arguments always circle back to ‘a new constitution’, seemingly without proper realization that a ‘new constitution’ is just a different rule structure, probably only slightly different, than what they have now. Their very argument for ‘freedom’ is an argument for freedom not existing while trying to claim it does. The irony in their words is as palpable as the fists they beat a woman with and the Molotovs they threw at cleanup crews.

One of the earliest mentions in history that I am aware of in which ‘freedom’ was used as propaganda is the conflict between the Greeks and Persians. The Greeks went to war to defend their ‘freedom’. But what type of ‘freedom’ did the Greeks have? Not much. The Spartans had a strict rule system based around their military that killed any child that wasn’t deemed strong enough or that had any deformities while laying out concrete guidelines on the place of men and women in society, all of which was supported on slave labor. Athens, the birthplace of ‘Democracy’, limited voting to male citizens only and only then after completing their military training. Some of the other Greek city-states also formed ‘democratic governments’ upon the same lines as Athens, but tended towards local kings, perhaps the most famous of which is Philip II of Macedon who fathered one of the greatest military leaders in history: Alexander the Great, who tried to make his subjects worship him as a god. As such, the ‘freedom’ they were fighting for wasn’t ‘freedom’, it was the right to their own rule structures. They had systems of punishment that were the predecessors of modern court systems, further proof that citizens of Greek city-states weren’t free to do as they wished.

In short, ‘freedom’ for one person means ‘oppression’ for another. To say you have the right to make the rules means that you’re saying someone else doesn’t. There’s nothing ‘free’ about a fight for ‘freedom’. It’s a form of oppression. Modern examples of this include the concept of ‘freedom of religion’, which isn’t ‘freedom’, it’s a concept that oppresses those that don’t agree that someone else can worship who/what they want. The gender pronoun laws are an even more modern example, since saying someone has the right to be called what they want means that someone’s thoughts to the opposite are being oppressed. Same thing with the Politically Correct culture that tries to limit words people can use, which oppresses those that have no issue with them. All of these things are examples of human being’s desire to control others while trying to make it appear they aren’t, as they attempt to explain away their own control freakishness so they don’t have to face what they’re really doing.

Some oppression is good. We oppress peoples’ will to rape and murder. We oppress peoples’ desire to cause mayhem against those they disagree with. We oppress peoples’ urge to keep certain members of society disenfranchised. But to call any of those things ‘freedom’ for anyone is an exercise in naivety: they’re targeted oppression for the good of society. Oppression as people think of as ‘oppression’ is best described as ‘oppression that doesn’t better society’. Show me a country with a constitution that bans any form of punishment no matter the offense, and I’ll show you a ‘free’ country. Until then, make the best of your rule structure and know you’re not free, and never will be regardless of the propaganda around you, unless you and your neighbor have the right to beat each other over the head with a stick without any form of social retribution.

Further info:

China slams Hong Kong judges after mask ruling, raising pressure on city’s freedoms:

Woman attacked by protesters in Mong Kok, Hong Kong:

HK rioters throw firebombs at residents cleaning streets:

Published by ephiroll

Jeremiah Donaldson is a writer and game designer from Ky.

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