Well here we go. It’s Independence Day here in the United States of America. The Declaration of Independence was signed on this day 241 years ago. As such, Americans all over the lower 48 and in Alaska and Hawaii will be celebrating freedom with cookouts, alcohol and more fireworks than one can shake a stick at.
Wait, did I say freedom? Hah, is there really such a thing? In my view, there’s not really such a thing. For whatever reason Americans have this mistaken illusion that they are somehow free or enjoy freedom. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We aren’t free in this country. We never have and never will be.
Freedom does not come from a government or country. Freedom does not come from law. After all, how can it? Laws do nothing but place restrictions on our lives in various ways, by saying we can’t buy/sell certain products, we can’t sell our bodies for money or telling us what substances we can or can’t use. Is restricting our ability to engage in these things (that really don’t directly harm other people) true freedom? Is being required to spend a vast majority of our waking hours at these things called “jobs” just to scrape by freedom?
What about all the spying, wiretapping, etc. that goes on in this country? Or being required to pay a fee and be licensed to carry a firearm, open a business, or even build a house? Is requiring a government document to be able to call yourself married really freedom? Is the government forcing people to say alive even if they don’t want to freedom? Is being forced to buy something lest we be penalized (i.e. health insurance) freedom? Is being forced to wear a motorcycle helmet or a seatbelt freedom? Just think about that for a second. It doesn’t sound much like freedom to me, does it?
Now, this is not an indictment on the USA directly as pretty much every country operates on the same principles. In that light, is there really such a thing as a truly free country? The answer is pretty clear to me: no, there is not. In that light, I cannot in good conscience pledge allegiance to any country or government. I pledge allegiance only to my conscience.
Now this is not to say that all laws are inherently bad. There are indeed many actions that are restricted by law because they directly harm others. Theft, assault, rape, homicide, etc. all cause harm to others and should be legally forbidden. I’m talking more about the petty shit that the US government and pretty much every other government body in the world meddles in that they have no business meddling in.
So now that we’ve established that there’s no such thing as a free country, the question is whether or not we can truly be free as individuals. Again, if you slow down and look at it, you’ll find that as long as we are existent, we can never truly be free. We are all slave to our biological programming and basic functions. All of us are required to consume liquid and food to be able to sustain ourselves, which in turn makes us slave to expel excess liquid and undigested remnants of food. Most people are biologically driven to reproduce.
The notion of “free will” is largely an illusion. We don’t really have free will. For the most part we are robots, merely following our internal computers and not really being able to override them. Some of us are able to override our biological programming to some extent (case in point my choice to not have children), but most are not. The truly lucky ones are the ones who are able to override their survival instincts to the point of being able to successfully free themselves from the bondage of existence.
In short, we will never experience true freedom so long as we are trapped in our bodies and experience sentience. It is only when we die and escape sentience that we will truly be free, for at that point we will have no more biological programming nor will we be subject to any legal code.
Now, I should say none of this is to say I hate my country or that I necessarily hate my life given that I already exist (though I would have preferred never to have existed). I also realize that in the grand scheme of things, the US is a lot less restrictive than a lot of other places. I’m just saying that what most people think they’re celebrating isn’t so. There is reason to celebrate, of course, in that there are A LOT worse places to live. If I had to be brought into existence at all (which all sentient creatures were brought into existence without their prior consent), I’m glad that I was at least born in a less restrictive and more highly developed nation. That does not, however, give me license to operate under the delusion that I am somehow free. I am not. Neither are any of you regardless of where you live.
In conclusion, by all means celebrate. Be glad you don’t live in the Middle East or under the reign of ISIS, but don’t kid yourself – there is no such thing as a truly free country nor is there such a thing as true personal freedom so long as you’re alive. Only in death (or, preferably, eternal non-existence) is true freedom found, for the non-existent can never be restricted from or deprived of anything.