Thursday, December 23, 2010

Freedom is Slavery

The United States is, of course, a free country.

There is evidence that the law serves the government instead of serving the people, that those who irritate authority will be punished without regards to law, and that when police misconduct becomes so blatant that it cannot be ignored the offenders will not be punished. But the United States is still a free country.

We have freedom of movement in this country. True, the screening standards by the TSA are secret so those who travel cannot make an informed decision before entering the airport about whether or not they wish to submit to the intensive physical search. The intensive search, compared often to molestation or rape, is the alternative for those who do not wish to submit to a nude screening. Those who, upon finding out what the search entails decide to not be searched, instead of merely being denied entry to their flight, are threatened with a fine of approximately $10,000 and sometimes arrested. When someone is giving the choice of submitting to sexual advances or being hurt for failing to do so, it is considered sexual assault. But the United States is still a free country.

Of course, there are choices other than flying. One can avoid the TSA by taking the bus, or one can drive. Soon all methods of transportation will be under TSA control and all citizens will need TSA permission to go anywhere. But the United States is still a free country.

Originally the Interstate Commerce Clause was interpreted to only apply to actual interstate commerce. In the 1930s the Supreme Court found an interpretation whereby any activity that impacts interstate commerce can be regulated under that clause. Any item grown for personal consumption is something that would otherwise be purchased, and if purchased might possibly be purchased from someone out of state. That is one of the alleged constitutional supports for the drug war. Now, with the healthcare reform passed by President Obama, even even inactivity is considered activity with regards to the commerce clause. The government has the power to dictate both what we purchase AND what we do not purchase. But the United States is still a free country.

Since the United States is a capitalist country, people are still free to engage in many business opportunities in spite of the restrictions of the Interstate Commerce Clause. Of course there are many licensing requirements that prevent people from entering many fields that would allow people to rise out of poverty. There are still more fields than can ever be covered by piecemeal regulations, so sweeping legislation has been enacted to cover all fields and limit or prevent the ability of the people to conduct business. But the United States is still a free country.

The Third Amendment to the Constitution was written to secure people from being compelled to act as agents of the government. When it was written there were few ways in which that could happen, the most common was forcing people to quarter troops. Today there are many more ways in which a person can be forced to act on behalf of the government. There is no proof that Joseph Nacchio of Qwest was indicted for refusing to be a government spy. Anyone who thinks so is a conspiracy theorist. And there is no proof that the women who accused Julian Assange had political motivations. It is true that due to the proliferation of laws, anyone can be accused at any time for unknown and obscure crimes, and that the government could use that power to punish those whose actions are otherwise untouchable. But the United States is still a free country.

When those issues are brought up, people insist that they are all necessary to maintain freedom in the United States, because otherwise there would be anarchy. Someone, somewhere, will describe each of those intrusions as a necessary price to pay for freedom. People are required to submit because of the social contract which is the price people pay for living in society. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote "None are more enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." With all these freedoms, because the United States is still a free country, it certainly is true that Freedom is Slavery.

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