The illusion of freedom
Many people have openly made the argument that the United States is a “free country” and it is widely accepted that we take those freedoms for granted every day, but how free are we, really? Recently, an opinion was published about the “freedom of the press” in which the author made the case that the media is “free of governmental censorship.” This is a highlight of the fact that our freedoms have not just been taken for granted, but eroded to such a level that true freedom is unrecognizable. If the previously mentioned author’s statement that the media is “free of governmental censorship” were true, then the Federal Communications Commission wouldn’t exist. If these “private” companies do something the FCC doesn’t like, broadcast licensing can get revoked and/or fines imposed on these “private” entities. To be fair, the companies are privately owned, but only operate by the good graces of the government and its policy. By definition, economists call this Economic Fascism.
The above-mentioned opinion piece is only a small example of the illusion of freedom the citizens of this nation have accepted. The list seems endless as every law, added together, creates an entire society enslaved to the system. The pillar of a free society, on which distinguishes laissez-faire capitalism from socialism, is the ownership of property by private entities. The argument is made that we, as citizens, have a right to private property. The question, at that point, becomes: Do we really? Try not paying your property taxes and see what happens. I bet the government takes it. As I stated, the list goes on ad infinitum and for every law and regulation made, that is one more point of increase in state power and one less point for individual social power.
This is also seen in our social policies. Government intervention in matters of health care, public education, social security, unemployment, etc., are all examples of the illusion. In 1794, James Madison called these types of programs, “the old trick of turning every contingency into a resource for the accumulating force in the government.” Madison also suggested that, should public moneys be used for these types of programs, the Constitution of the United States becomes an empty document. What was once handled by the individual social power of the U.S. citizenry is now handled by the state and, as usual, created a garbage product that nobody really wants, but little variety is allowed to prosper under heavy regulation. The viewpoint of individual social freedom was the legal norm in American society until the upswing in admiration for Socialism (both Fascist and Communist) during the 1930s. We took the bait and have been slowly watching our freedoms diminish ever since.
As Jen Psaki would comically say, to “circle back” to my original purpose: how free are we as a society? To make it easy, stack up all the federal and state law books and I’m sure it’s height will provide a reasonable answer.