Freedom versus security

Truth to tell, I do not expect the world to embrace the gargantuan “divestation” proposal I sketched yesterday. Nor will any other “distributive” scheme be wanted, to dissolve the power of vast, faceless corporations, methodically integrated with the vast, regulatory departments of Twisted Nanny State. Several gentle readers have written to advise me that any such plan is a non-starter, and if pushed, would merit the adjective “silly.” In the tradition of Plato, however, I continue to indulge mental exercises. His own were never very practical. The modern, university-educated reader, including the great majority of nominal Catholics and other Christians, are sentimental materialists. The moment these detach, the sentiment has to go.

Why do we, in various degrees of enthusiasm, buy into the “new world order” that emerged so triumphantly in the sixteenth century, and has been consolidating its authority ever since? And this so effectively that those who claim to be defending “Western Civ” are, in almost every instance, actually defending its avowed enemies? For we cite “reformations” and “enlightenments” that overturned the older order. That, we suppose, is what made us so great, in our power and prosperity. We rose above the “primitive superstition” that had governed all previous civilizations and cultures. By the aid of our Scienza Nuova, we were able to smash them all to pieces. And this so effectively that by now the foreigners rival and surpass us, in playing our own game.

The truth is, that the modern world of totalitarianism and material advance, is genuinely popular. It answers to that part of human nature which corresponds to animal nature. We want food, sex, indolence and sleep, and the less we must work for it, the better.

Modern men claim many things that were better ignored; in fact they are allergic to risk. We have no use for freedom in our zoo; we want security. Some of us do attempt a breakout, occasionally, but the majority would return to their cages were the doors left open. An impulse from our forgotten past might inspire us to slay the occasional zookeeper, even when he is bringing us dinner, but for the most part we accept a life in which none of our anxieties are real.

Humans are more sophisticated than the other animals, and our economic arrangements are thus more subtle. We have an open-plan zoo. It works well enough on indentured labour. We are secured by our debts and our paycheques. In order merely to obtain the credentials, that our world demands for the most trivial jobs, contemporary youth must obtain an “education,” that will leave them deeply owing. At a most impressionable moment of life, they must go straight to work in the silicon mines, and stay until they become accustomed to them.

“Wage slavery” involves working for a master (women obey bosses, not their husbands; men love bosses not their wives). This is the historical new normal. The very definition of a job, is working for someone else. If 100 percent of the able-bodied are wage slaves, we have full employment. Not everyone is able-bodied, or mentally capable, but even some who are can be carried by the pogey. We have a “social safety net” to prevent anyone being exposed to risk, or left with consequence of a human mistake — lest he learn, or become an example of, something vital. We even have the means to eliminate all pain, thanks to the recent legislation of euthanasia. By the centralized transfer and manipulation of debt, we can become a race of perfect zombies.

True, I exaggerate. That’s what caricaturists and satirists do. The zombies can’t cope with this, however, so their masters have made humour “politically incorrect.”

“Look at all the rugged individualists lining up for their Big Macs,” I once observed. My companion told me to keep my voice down.