Saturday, March 28, 2009

Servitude, and the responsibilities of freedom

One of the best mechanisms for controlling people is to deny them economic security. People who do not enjoy a basic "right" to well-being inevitably spend much of life in outward appeal to those that do.

Inwardly, the creative impulse of the individual is rerouted from personal to external need. The gradual process of "giving up our dreams" for the sake of career, dramatically amending them, or in other ways altering them to be compatible with the "realities of life" -- i.e., employer preferences -- is regarded as an inevitable mark of maturity and sober responsibility, in light of the obvious alternative, which is to burden those who are fending as best they can for themselves. But this ignores the general disenfranchisement of most of humanity by default.

Under such conditions of disenfranchisement, "individual liberty" becomes the sensation of an empty stomach and the anxiety of ever-mounting bills. "Freedom of choice" becomes the freedom to choose whatever course of action will best impress employers that we might prove useful to their purpose, even if this betrays our personal values in some way. It is a job: for want of economic security, people are socialized to get the most of it, regardless of what this means in the big picture.

The more money we want to make, the more we submit to the requirements of those who supply it. Historically, this has not been a very good thing for the world.

The conditions imposed on securing a reasonable livelihood should not be allowed to compromise human health, personal freedom, the viability of the planet, or other universally shared concerns. To the extent that conditions of employment violate these terms, they must be challenged and modified. It is everyone's responsibility not to solicit the promise of personal security as a bribe to look the other way on issues that affect everyone, and which we know in our hearts to be right. We can no longer afford this as the prevailing standard of success.

No comments: