Who here loves freedom?
Everyone raised their hands, I see. Well, you’re all liars!
Here in America, we’re trained from birth to say we love freedom, but is freedom really what we’re all about? What do you like about freedom, anyway? That you can do whatever you want? Well, what do you want to do? You want to go out to eat? Well, whatever you eat is regulated by the FDA, health inspectors make sure you won’t get sick, and everyone working at the restaurant falls under various laws protecting their jobs and wages.
Do you want to drive? Well, then you certainly need to follow all the regulations specified for government-owned roads while using a government-approved vehicle. Do you want to use some consumer electronics? Those are regulated to make sure their signals don’t interfere with each other, and laws protect you to make sure they aren’t dangerous. And in everything you might do there are lawyers everywhere making sure all are following the rules and working together.
Do you see much freedom there? Maybe not, but then what is freedom? When you boil it down, freedom is people being served rotten food and getting sick and dying. It’s people driving polluting cars the wrong way down a street. It’s consumer goods that kill you while corporations laugh at your misfortune. It’s racist armed militia members not paying social security. It’s polluted lakes and dead baby polar bears. It’s poorly built buildings collapsing on you. It’s homophobic bullies. It’s obese children waddling down the street as they stuff their faces with trans-fats. It’s filthy. It’s chaos. It’s not civilized.
Freedom isn’t what we want; what we want is a civilized society with security and order — place where things work and we don’t have to worry about every little thing because we have a government to worry for us and tell us what to do and make sure we all cooperate.
Think of an Apple product like an iPhone. It runs smoothly and slickly because Apple closely regulates what sort of programs can be put on it instead of just letting anyone do whatever they want with the device. Why can’t society be more like an iPad? It’s a great concept, yet people keep fighting this. And the reason we do it is because we have this weird hang up that we’re supposed to love freedom when in reality it’s the enemy of everything we want.
Why don’t we have universal health care in America? Because people think they like freedom — freedom here being dying without health care. People don’t need freedom to live; they need doctors and medicine. But even those in support of universal health care only feed the beast in the way they argue for it. They try to argue that people will be more free by no longer having to worry about affording health care — only adding to the foolish notion that freedom is important, which causes these conflicts in the first place. This mindless freedom fetish is also what led to the recent brouhaha over the TSA. Hands off your junk? Sorry, but your junk is of national concern. The only reason we can safely fly is because the government is keeping an eye on your junk, not because of freedom.
The truth is in modern society we only get all we want by giving up freedom. That’s how things can be organized so that everything is safe and shared by all. Yet this mindless love of freedom is so ingrained that the most strident progressives don’t want to argue against freedom, even though deep down they know it’s the obstacle civilization must finally overcome. Part of it is messaging; there’s no good term for the alternative to freedom, just things like “tyranny” and “slavery” — loaded terms that we have to get past.
Well, I have a good new term for the opposite of freedom: FreeSmart. Because that’s what freedom is: It’s dumb. It’s people stupidly running all over each other in complete chaos. But FreeSmart is people working together and behaving in an organized, civilized fashion. It’s smart people — Ivy League people — handling all the little details so we can live lives free of worry about the things of the past, like whether our families will be provided for or what to eat or what to say to each other to live in harmony.
FreeSmart is clearly the future and freedom the past, but it will take a lot of work to convince people. So many believe that giving up freedom for security and efficiency is like trading your soul to the devil, but if the devil were to offer you everything you could ever want for something so intangible and useless as your soul, wouldn’t you be foolish not to take the deal? Similarly, if government can one day provide you everything you could possibly want, and all you have to do is give up the intangible and useless concept of freedom, what nitwit could possibly say no?
We have to sell people on this idea, because there is still a lot of chaos to take care of out there. If people are resistant to junk touching with the TSA, what are they going to say when it’s proposed that everyone is physically restrained on flights for extra safety? If there are those resistant to low gas mileage cars being outlawed, you know there won’t be support when all cars are outlawed in favor of public transportation (because, really, how idiotic and dangerous is it that we let any individual speed around in tons of metal?). And if people have a problem with their taxes being raised, they aren’t going to one day allow most spending decisions to be under government review so we no longer have the excess of unregulated individuals spending millions of dollars on their own.
These things scare people, so we have to remind them that FreeSmart — the better alternative to freedom — is about living in a world without fear. By giving up these minor freedoms to do things we don’t need to do and shouldn’t be doing, we can have a world where everything just works, and we’re all provided for. We just have to convince people to finally move past this outdated, ugly notion of freedom that holds back our greatness.
Then again, if we’re talking about moving past freedom, I guess we can just force it on people.