How Conditioned Have We Become to Denying Freedom?
When Americans think of the United States, freedom is often the first word that comes to mind, but in reality, how free are we really? Even if our country is the freest nation on the planet, which is, of course, debatable; being the top amongst totalitarian countries is not something to boast about. We should not use this argument as an excuse to allow continued abuses of our rights, and although we do have systemic obstacles preventing the overt destruction of liberty, the federal and state governments find ways around them. As we become gradually conditioned to accept that our rights are not absolute or that governments must restrict our ability to practice them when there is a declared emergency, the frameworks of protections will dissolve over the course of time.
Global totalitarianism is on the rise, whether we acknowledge it as a concerted effort or a chain of coincidences; and although many will dismiss my arguments as too radical or contrarian for their liking, the fact of the matter is that we remain under the control of oligarchs who wish to control our everyday lives. The average citizen has absolutely no say in the political system, nor do our politicians have interests outside of their financial or power-hungry ambitions, so we must be prepared to take whatever actions are necessary to preserve freedom for the next generation.
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A simple test to know if you are free or not in society would be: can I open a business without permission from the state, or can I choose to be employed by another without having to submit identification for federal and state taxation purposes? If the answer is in the negative, we are not truly free. In fact, most businesses need to jump through hoops of red tape, acquire licenses in their respective practices, hand over massive amounts of money in taxes, and meet the requirements of potentially hundreds of regulations. If they fail to comply with any of the rules, their business can be shut down by armed agents of the state. In fact, during the Covid-19 pandemic, many state governors, without the approval of the legislatures, ordered that all businesses shut down partially or completely, unless they were deemed essential. That is certainly not the hallmark of a free society.
But, those rules are in place to keep us safe, you say. We do not want the dirty capitalist pigs harming us, do we? Yet, many regulations are actually created or advocated for by large corporations that have partnerships with the government, all in an attempt to crush competition (Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, for example, has begged Congress multiple times for harsher regulations). These regulations also often have unintended consequences that harm average people, but on the surface, they seem noble and liberating. Yet, they are a huge financial burden, which in conjunction with astronomical taxes, take away the ability for companies to freely associate in the market (or employ people).
It is not just businesses that lack the freedom to operate as they choose. Individuals must submit Social Security cards and other forms of identification when engaging in employment (Social Security cards once had clear verbiage that said that they were not supposed to be used for identification purposes, which was meant to calm a nervous public; but now, we think nothing of handing them over to prove who we are). There are countless cards and licenses that we the people need on a regular basis to perform simple tasks (though, ironically, voting is not generally one such task); and we need a license to drive and get married, a passport to leave and enter the country, and permission to fish or hunt. You cannot build on your own property unless you ask the state, county, or municipality if the structure meets certain specifications. Just to cut someone’s hair or work on their car, you need to be qualified by the state.
What about taxes? Surely one of the most famous grievances against King George III would have been remedied well before our time. Yet, many Americans pay one-quarter or more of their income to the federal government (not including state income taxes, where applicable). How many of us would genuinely argue that the people have a say or fair representation when it comes to their tax rates (or anything)? Think about this: if one-quarter of our income to Uncle Sam is involuntarily withheld from our paychecks, we are essentially working one-quarter of our lives for the government, without compensation. This amounts to slavery, but in our watered-down society, most people would argue that bringing this up is ridiculous. We are paying for services for the betterment of the community, after all. Yet, how many of us have chosen to wage a twenty-year war in Afghanistan or an arms race in Ukraine? Would any of us choose to fund the corruption in Washington or Albany? How many of us have consented to a police or surveillance state?
While a growing number of individuals in this country want to take away our guns or make it more difficult to defend ourselves, the threat from a standing army, which our founders warned against, increases. Today, we call this army the militarized police. It is true that we need protection from local law enforcement, but these members of society should engage with the public and not search for monsters to slay. Police vehicles sitting on the side of the road waiting for people to commit minor traffic infractions and setting up DWI checkpoints to search every passing car without a warrant are not concepts that are conducive to a free society. On top of that, such interactions can lead to escalations between armed police and unarmed civilians.
When the federal government sells military vehicles, weapons, and equipment to local law enforcement bureaus, officers can become even more powerful agents of the state. In conjunction with fusion centers and the blurring of roles between the federal, state, and local governments, police act on behalf of powerful interests and not as much on local concerns. The drug war provided a good example, as militarized units broke down people’s doors and invaded homes with terrified women and children inside; and a new prohibition against guns is forming that will likely take the place of hunts for marijuana. When you must live in fear that you might get pulled over or have armed men trespass on your property for breaking an ever-increasing list of laws that nobody can keep track of, you are not really free.
None of this takes into consideration the surveillance state that was set up in the wake of the 9-11 era. For twelve years, conspiracy theorists were claiming that the NSA and other agencies were spying on average citizens, and then, Edward Snowden had the courage to break the silence and expose the secrets of thousands of government employees and contractors (most people were just doing their jobs and were on a need-to-know basis that would not actually allow them to understand the full picture). Even after the revelations of the bulk data collections, warrantless searches, public-private partnerships, and metadata captures; Americans have largely forgotten what has transpired and are not concerned with privacy breaches. Just saying or typing the wrong word can trigger a government search, and we know through Vault 7 that the CIA and others can spy on us through our smart devices and even take control of them when necessary (perhaps plant something on devices to incriminate dissidents?). The FBI has been able to write its own blank warrants (like British troops did before the American Revolution) and silence individuals with gag orders. Agencies have also been able to listen in on phone calls that were a few hops away from a target (with the interconnected world, this means virtually anyone). Yet, we still like to think of ourselves as free.
If we lack the ability to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, can we at least still claim that we have freedom of speech and association? Well, in the era of the Patriot Act, the government may initiate searches based on the books that you read or the organizations that you donate to, so we do not really have such liberty. We have the illusion of freedom, since we can physically enter a building or send money to a group, but in reality, there are governmental consequences for doing so. During Covid-19, you could be arrested for going to a backyard party or selling drinks at a bar that was mandated to shut down. You could have armed agents at your door for trying to let people exercise in your gym (exercise was important in fighting the virus, so the logic there is a bit shaky). In Canada, the Trudeau regime froze the bank accounts of those donating to the peaceful protesters in Ottawa and tried to violently remove the truckers from their parked locations. In the time of government-partnered corporations cancelling people like Kanye West or Alex Jones, it is only a matter of time before the government hinders the ability of dissidents from participating in society or the market (central bank digital currencies are in the works).
We also know from the Twitter Files and from a lawsuit against Facebook, as well as other sources that were saying this well before it became public knowledge, that the government was censoring information during Covid-19 and creating a monopolistic narrative that was not publicly permitted to be challenged. Yes, we could still post things on alternative platforms or sneak past the algorithms by creating coded language, but in reality, our voices were silenced. Physicians who challenged the narrative were ridiculed, threatened with license revocations, and had their posts censored on social media. The government met with large corporations and even told them what posts, content, and individuals needed to be removed from the public discourse. The dissidents, who were morally and factually correct, lost their voice and had their posts lowered in engagement. The government had no interest in allowing for free speech.
We also know that this censorship extended to the anti-Trump campaign and the Russian bots scandal (the claims of Russian disinformation campaigns and Trump collusion had little reliable evidence). The FBI has issued numerous warnings against those who opposed the Covid-19 measures or denied the 2020 election results, and the government now considers those waving the Gadsden or Betsy Ross flags or posting about our founding fathers as potentially dangerous. The FBI also censored the Hunter Biden laptop story ahead of the 2020 election, and it falsely accused the story of being Russian disinformation. If the government can manipulate our thoughts so effectively during the pandemic and the post-2020 world, what other aspects of our lives are influenced by government disinformation? What about the impact of BlackRock and Vanguard, which have majority stocks in the largest corporations that provide almost all of the products and services we consume (including the news media). These government-connected corporations have the ability to shape our thoughts and actions.
In addition to manipulating our minds, corporations also make profits off of their partnerships with the federal government (and state governments). The revolving door that exists between officials and bureaucrats should be alarming to most, but yet, most Americans are either unaware or do not care. Like has been revealed in the Twitter files, the social media company had a welcoming portal for FBI agents looking to transfer to work in the Silicon Valley, because there were so many of them. Vice President Dick Cheney was the CEO of Halliburton before dropping bombs over Iraq, and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb moved over to the board of directors at Pfizer right before his company was set to make record profits off of the Covid-19 vaccine. Current Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was on the board of directors at Raytheon, and now, he is in the position to supply that company with business through the Ukraine war. The intertwined relationships between the government and corporations mean that we are forced to pay for things that we do not believe in (like killing people for profit), and in the case of the recent pandemic, people were forced to choose between getting the jab or losing their jobs or livelihoods. Those who remained unvaccinated were scapegoated under the semi-fascist society that was created. When we let profit-driven special interests control public policy, the lobbyists and corporate leaders gain control over us and influence our decisions. That is not freedom.
In the United States, freedom is an illusion, and just because we believe that we are free, does not mean we are. Unfortunately, most Americans are complacent and will argue that we are freer than other nations, so who cares? Many colonists were satisfied with their way of life prior to the American Revolution, and even at the onset of the war, most residents wanted nothing to do with independence. This is a problem that we must overcome if we are to liberate ourselves from the rich and powerful. Due to years of conditioning and watering down of our rights, the revolving door or the surveillance state are deemed as normal and routine, but fighting for our rights and advocating for less government intervention into our lives are classified as radical and extreme. I guess this shows the deterioration of our society, and if we do nothing about it, it will only get worse, to the point where we will know nothing else besides totalitarianism.
Thank you for reading, and please check out my book, The Global Bully, and website.
Thanks for reading Craig’s Newsletter! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.