Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Freedom from Freedom

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”
Oscar Wilde

“You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.”
Harlan Ellison 

No one is entitled to be free. For what is an informed opinion if it is not a fact? And what sort of opinion can we be entitled to have if it is not an informed opinion? Furthermore, the more dissident this opinion's nature, the more informed it must be.  I think we can all agree that the closer one comes to evidencing an opinion, the closer one comes to proving said opinion against all reasonable doubt. And so, it is exactly this that to which we are not entitled: we are not entitled to reasonable doubt.

I think our situation makes some sense. How can one be opinionated without also belying a distrust for one's State? One may have a dissenting opinion, but only so long as it's not important enough for anyone to really care about it. Opinions about which sports team will win the championship, for instance, make no difference to the total functioning of our civilization. While even in such a situation, one may be punished for expressing a dissident opinion, in such a situation your opinion literally does not matter.

Dissident opinions harm the proper functioning of the State, and as such, we should not be free to have them. Ironically (perhaps a very opinionated word!), it is a dissident opinion that we ought not to be free to have dissident opinions, and thus I am not free to have this dissident opinion. I am in some very real sense, breaking the rules by doing so. I believe that I could effectively be punished by the State for writing this.

So why would I continue? Well, I guess it's just inertia. It's the vestige of a time when I believed, as I was supposed to, that we live in a land with Freedom of Speech. I have since come to understand the falsity of this claim. But through my curiosity, have I done anything else but to make myself a victim, one might say, of my own failure to embrace hypocrisy?

I think this is my last opinionated gift to humankind. I leave you with the truth that we are not free, and I encourage you to make the most of it. Get comfortable and believe what the strongest people tell you to believe. Pursue your dreams only in the context of what the State allows. Do not be disappointed if the State does not treat you fairly. Do not question the decisions of the State. And content yourself in the delusion of it all. It's really a beautiful reality, whether we happen to live in freedom or whether otherwise.

"Freedom is a bourgeois prejudice. We repudiate all morality which proceeds from supernatural ideas or ideas which are outside the class conception. In our opinion, morality is entirely subordinate to the interests of the class war. Everything is moral which is necessary for the annihilation of the old exploiting order and for uniting the proletariat. Our morality consists solely in close discipline and conscious warfare against the exploiters."
V.I. Lenin

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