[thoughts from ~burning woman~ ]
“What’s the good of freedom to the ignorant?” (Ursula K. LeGuin, “Powers”)
A critical question that should be endlessly considered by those who claim to live in freedom; who claim to live within democracies. Are these people intelligently educated, and are they, in fact, free? To the intelligently educated, the word “freedom” conveys an endless number of meanings, and shades of meaning, constantly being internally debated.
But what does it mean to an ignorant lout? A redneck? A “fool” who lives at the beck and call of guts and brawn? To the consummate shopper? To the assembly line worker mind-numbed and beaten by endless, meaningless labour? To the denizen of the computerized cube farm?
Raised in “relative poverty” (Canadian style, meaning we almost always had enough to eat, and enough clothing and housing to survive the harsh elements of a northern clime – nobody froze to death) I remember only too well having to interact with braggart, illiterate ignorance in grade school. Later, standing alongside never stopping feed belts in canneries, numbed by the repetitiveness and clanking, hissing noise, checking, adjusting, clearing, stacking… I remember my quickly fading choices. Was this back-breaking, brain-numbing work going to be my life?
To the ignorant, such situations call for camaraderie: misery loves company, and there was a lot of company; too much company. These are also great opportunities for ass-kissers and bullies to rise quickly to their own levels of incompetence, loved by higher levels of managers because they consider this loyalty to the company, hence to themselves. These are the people who snitch and prevent rebellions and talk of unionization, or who management encourages in seditious talk against unions to other employees in hopes of de-certification.
And so, the ignorant are the great base, the pedestal upon which the masters wine and dine themselves, taking, taking and taking, never having to give any account to anyone because they have their ignorant base to walk over; to dance on.
In America, the world just witnessed the “election” of a thorough boor, elected and to this moment, supported, by the ignorant masses who fear freedom above anything else, because they know that freedom entails responsibility and responsibility demands the kind of commitment they aren’t willing to put their minds into. The chains worn by the consumer society do not seem so onerous to bear.
“The wall of forgetting was down. I was able to think, to speak, to remember. I was free. Freedom was unspeakable anguish.” (Ursula K. LeGuin, “Powers”)
In such a morally depraved civilization as this, if “it” is making you feel safe, comfortable, happy, “it” isn’t freedom. If it is making you rich, with power over others, “it” isn’t freedom. If if demands that you arm yourselves to the teeth to go and oppress and exploit others in their own countries, to force them to your ways and to take their resources and labour, “it” certainly isn’t freedom. Conversely, if “it” is dispossessing you; pushing you into deeper debt; into poverty; unto the street to survive by begging or crime, then obviously “it” isn’t freedom.
Freedom neither gives, nor requires, any of those things. Freedom can only be given, and shared, freely between willing participants. This is what the promoters of “freedom and democracy” western style fear anyone learning about.
To forestall such a thing becoming too common knowledge they invented the now practically global public school system, unofficially known as Official Brainwashing. At the end of twelve years, give or take, of this waste of youthful years ooze the drones: workers, believers, consumers, hoarders, spectators, whiners, bitchers, complainers, addicts, gamblers, inmates and voters: the entitled to freedom, western style.
For those who continue seeking after greater official ignorance comes Academic Higher Ignorance. At the end of that, degrees indicating successful completion of various courses in Official Master Ignorance are handed out. Having proved themselves adept at rising to their own level of State Approve Ignorance, these may then be able to go into various channels of rip-off industry, including banking, politics, drugs, medical business, law, corporate engineering, technology and scientific research and through it all, the military, or Official Murder Industry. Less prevalent today, but always eager to make a sudden come-back is Religion. It too demands its slate of Officially Mandated leadership in Statutory Ignorance.
To ensure only a minimal number ever wake up long enough to realize the massive scam they’ve been led into, the System saddles their Worthy Ignorant with tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of “student debt”, another euphemism for the slave collar.
You can’t be rebellious when you need a position to repay your debts, buy a house, and try to match the lifestyle of other Officially Ignorant in your line of pretend expertise. And if you are not rebelling, you are acquiescing, and if you are acquiescing, you are supporting, and if you are supporting, you are a slave along with the others in your slave quarters. And your greatest curse is that a part of you is always aware of this fact; a fact that can only be borne by an endless stream of distractions. Enter the entertainment, news and social Media, organized Sports and spectator politics. And war. Ultimately, was is the greatest distraction of them all. That’s why it’s unofficial title is The Endless War.
Freedom? Of course I’m free. I’m free to be an ignorant slave. No anguish; no moral issues; no agonizing conundrums; no worries. The “House” will take care of us and all our needs, for the “House” owns us all, amen!