Freedom: An International Illusion

“A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.”
― Saul Bellow, To Jerusalem and Back

Most people like watching magicians. A good magician can pull off tricks that appear to be as real as the day is long through a series of methods involving subterfuge, sleigh of hand, and outright psychological manipulation that targets the propensity people have to not really pay attention when they think they are. I’d suspect that everyone has seen the classic trick of cutting someone in half. But I suspect fewer people know how it works and even fewer watch the crowds viewing such a thing with more curiosity than the act being carried out. If the crowd is watched, you’ll see three general reactions to such a sight: laughter and clapping from those that enjoy the trick, confusion from those that wonder how in the world the magician did it, and horror from those that actually think it’s real. The illusion of ‘freedom’ is one to which most people laugh and clap. But to ‘freedom’ they clap because they think it’s real. On the other hand, those that shake their head in horror at a show of ‘freedom’ are those that can see how the tricks are being manipulated. It’s the exact opposite of how people react to a magician’s tricks.

I could explain how the US has more people incarcerated than any other country, which means we aren’t ‘free’. I could explain how the US politics are corrupted by a bully attitude that makes them think they’re really in control, which would mean we aren’t free. I could explain how the existence of courts indicates we’re not free. I could explain how the political domination of only two major parties shows we’re not free. I could read the Pledge of Allegiance and point out that ‘Republic’ is mentioned, but not ‘Democracy’. But the actual reasons that we aren’t, and by extension no one else, is even more fundamental. It’s so fundamental that people don’t even think about it, because they accept it at face value like those that recoil in horror at a magician’s trick are accepting it at face value. And when you accept something at face value, you tend not to think about it, as the majority of people don’t think about the illusion of the word ‘freedom’.

Alliances- The United States has a long history of entering into alliances. The longest running alliance is NATO, or The North American Treaty Organization, which the US has been a part of for 70 years. This treaty specifically states that an attack on one is an attack on all, as most military alliances state in one way or another. The problem is that there are a total of 29 countries part of that alliance. That means that there are 28 other countries that have direct influence on the United States through that single treaty. A prime example of this influence is the conflict surrounding the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. We tell Germany, don’t do that, they responded with what amounts to ‘bugger off, we’re done causing trouble’. Then the EU and other countries get involved, why? Because Germany is in the EU, an alliance itself, along with NATO, and those countries are worried about ‘Russian influence’. The alliance system means Germany isn’t free of other countries influence. People like to forget that an alliance is a rule structure that ties two or more countries together and therefore pushes influence both ways. There is nothing ‘free’ about any alliance nor can any nation who’s in an alliance claim to be ‘free’. It would be like a state in the US claiming to be ‘free’ or like a county in a state making the same claim. They’re subject to a rule structure that precludes any notion of ‘freedom’.

Trade deals- The US has free trade agreements with a total of 20 countries, not counting other trade deals with many others. Having a ‘free trade agreement’ subjects the agreeing nations to rules that are laid out by the World Trade Organization. All countries in the agreement have to follow those rules if they want to remain in the agreement. This puts their economies at the influence of each other. This puts their trade at the influence of each other. This puts their money systems at the influence of each other. This means that their economies are fundamentally ‘unfree’ and subject to other nation’s interest. Calling a nation free that is part of a free trade agreement is like saying a US nickle is free without taking into account all the rules and regulations that surrounds that nickle in the larger currency system.

Geneva Conventions- Not only is the US and other nations subject to the rule structures of multiple military alliances and trade agreements, but they’re also subject to the Geneva Conventions that has been ratified by every nation on the planet. This means in short that no country is even ‘free’ when it comes to how they make war upon another nation. Everyone is tied to everyone else in having influence over them to keep their war making in check.

The idea of ‘freedom’ is an illusion like that created by a good magician. The purpose of the illusion of ‘freedom’ is to keep people docile and controlled, because the easiest way to keep people under control is to present to them an illusion of freedom. I’m not saying this is fundamentally wrong. Few people can handle truths on this level, they get unruly when they realize their domesticated world isn’t real, which is why the illusion of freedom exists in the first place. I’m just saying that before you start tearing your nation up for ‘freedom’, you really want to examine what that actually means. Chances are it doesn’t mean what you think it means, but rather what you want to think it means. This also why the ‘woke’ culture is so annoying to others without the ‘woke’ understanding it: what they say is based on illusions that most people don’t buy. You have to be able to sell your illusion for people to buy it and some are more easily sold than others while some people are more easily sold to than others. However, that doesn’t mean everyone will always buy them, because some people think about things rather than regurgitating words and phrases some magician sold to them and they evaluate their lives based on the rule structures around them rather than the illusions being sold to the masses.

Additional info:

History of United States and Its Alliances: https://www.realclearhistory.com/articles/2019/04/01/history_of_united_states_and_its_alliances_428.html

Nord Stream 2: Go-ahead for Russian gas pipeline angers Ukraine: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-50247793

Free Trade Agreements: https://ustr.gov/trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements

What are Rules of Origin and how do they apply to Free Trade Agreements and tariffs?: https://www.austrade.gov.au/contact/faqs/what-are-rules-of-origin-and-how-do-they-apply-to-free-trade-agreements-and-tariffs

Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols: https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/geneva_conventions

Published by ephiroll

Jeremiah Donaldson is a writer and game designer from Ky.

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