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Interpreting Free

Updated on June 26, 2013

I've come to believe that much of the policy that’s influenced our lives in recent decades is more about strategy than ideology. It was ideological for most people, but I'm referring to the strategy of the elitist clique that drives it, which the majority, for myriad reasons, seems bound to follow impotently.

Some people talk of a counter-revolution starting in the Thatcher/Reagan era that determined to reverse the democratic progress of ordinary people. ("Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws", said Mayer Amschel Rothschild). That figures with recent events in the Euro zone. Ah, but they do care; otherwise they wouldn’t have bothered to buy-up the legislature. Besides, I don’t think that the contempt, in some quarters, for democracy ever went away; it just hibernated for a wee while after WWII, with the bloodlust sated and a partial cull somewhat achieved - temporarily.

Others seem to trust the words and actions of the powers-that-be as much as they did their mums, dads, and schoolteachers. Maybe that's where the seemingly blind acceptance of conventional wisdom has its roots. The thing is, most mums and dads love their children, but it's irrational to expect the same unselfish devotion from career politicians and profit-obsessed corporations. Alexis de Tocqueville said that, unlike the European nobility and their peasants, 18th Century Americans could empathise with one another. In the modern context, we can't expect computers to do empathy. They're not programmed that way and I suppose empathy doesn’t preserve or travel well. Stimulating individualism doesn’t help either - nor was it intended to.

Sheeple is a pejorative and I hesitate to use it. Furthermore, friction is the most effective device against democracy. It’s tantamount to self-inflicted injury. Democracy requires persuasion, not scorn. Yet often, I see people making the mistake of trying to change the views of others with frustrated scorn. A hammer and chisel applied to the skull would be no less effective than scorn at the task of changing perceptions. I often read comment columns where hubbers/bloggers make cogent points, clear, precise and logical just to spoil it all by descending to frustrated contention. We need patience; perception takes time to reconfigure.

But why does this, (my perceived complacency of the majority) frustrate me anyway? I want others to see the dangers (I think) I foresee, but maybe I’m wrong. Am I the one with the flawed perception? We've lost our industrial base; hence, we've lost our economic clout. The elite haven't. They flogged it off and squirreled the proceeds into their tax havens. Was that not the intention? Isn’t that what privatisation was all about? They paid the politicos to legalise theft. That leaves the hoi polloi very vulnerable. That's my perception.

To compound the problem, apparently, there are too many of us around for the liking of some. There are theories around that we’re to be culled. When I was a boy in the 50s, I used to see rabbits festering to death by the roadside with myxomatosis. You might say that that biological warfare against rabbits was for me an early introduction to WMDs. I wondered, in my childhood naivety, why we couldn't just have eaten them or sent them to ‘the little boys and girls in parts of the world who’ve no food at all’, rather than infest, and then leave them in such a condition. A child‘s logic - but it would be more natural; there mightn't be so much obesity around now, if we'd had to run after and catch our own food. Mind you, empathy is more of a constraint when we have to look our victims in the eye; those who couldn’t free themselves from guilt might starve. That was all before I understood the profit motive - and the reality of state-corporate collusion.

Another nail in the democratic coffin emerges in Italy and Greece now. Technocrats who've spent their careers negotiating the revolving doors, of the state-corporate nexus, with their snouts in the trough of the world's corporate cartel would have us believe that their fiat exchange system is more important than democracy. These illustrious ones don’t even attempt to hide their contempt for the democratic principle anymore. They think they’re so clever - and maybe they’re right. Didn’t Churchill once say, “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter”? (I bet he was one of that Bilderberg shower.)

Yet, what seems obvious to me seems to make little impact on the majority of those I meet in my daily day. If their mums and dads loved them, why would the nice looking woman or man on Sky TV not love them too? They wouldn’t lie. Though they may be victims of the same deceit themselves, psychometric testing and well-paid employment - especially in manufactured hard times - brings the elite its desired results. That too, is just my perception.

Well, I’m not blogging much at all at the moment - but there’s life in the old dog yet. And I still read others’ blogs. The following poem was inspired by a particular ‘hubber’ who wasn’t too enamoured about the re-election of his President, Barack Obama to a second term of office. I've no doubt he's right in thinking his authorities will curb his freedom (or what he perceives as freedom), they always do, one way or another. Ultimately, the democratic onus is on the electorate, but sometimes when we step back a little, we see a better way forward.

There are too many toes in this world, for us to expect that none would tread on others'. So, I didn’t comment, and I shan’t, until perhaps I learn the secret of opening closed minds - including mine. We’re all free to open our own minds, as best we can. Yet sometimes that’s the most difficult thing to do. Personally, I think that the optimal way to freedom is by compromise. The irony of that is that no one can be entirely free, no matter how much liberty one would freely presume for one's self.

I suppose it’s really just all about how we interpret the word 'free'. I suspect that if there were a cull only the most psychologically flawed of the perpetrators could live on, free of their own consciences. We might have to trust posterity to poetic justice or karma for the spiritual. Though I doubt if that would placate the rabbits, had they had souls.

When we have to share a planet with so many others, we can never be completely free to do, as we want. We're free to try; others are free to try to stop us, if they would, or could - but let’s not forget, we're also free to seek compromise.

Were we as free as that foxy word free,
We'd be free to be what we all want to be,
We could all just do what we want to do,
With no one and nothing to answer to.
We'd be free to indulge our inclinations,
Are words not hostage to interpretation?
Freedom to be cruel, freedom to be kind,
Depending on how such things are defined.
Freedom to love and empathise,
Freedom to hate, scorn and despise.
Freedom to kill and maim at will,
Freedom to comfort, console and heal.
But freedom for you without freedom for me,
Must one person's freedom be another's tyranny?
Is that kind of freedom entirely without cost,
When we're free to gain what another has lost?
Free from conscience, free from concern,
Free to take what we didn't need to earn.
There are many things we desire to do,
But when freedom for me brings want to you,
Contrivance and violence will never end,
And what kind of freedom is that my friend?
© David B. McBain 2012


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    • amillar profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Scotland, UK

      Thank you for reading and for your kind, encouraging comment Reynold. I admire anyone who'd tackle novel writing; it seems an enormous task. I’ve not been reading and writing much recently. I’ve been working on a business venture for my retirement years (for some pin money). Best of luck with all your ventures anyway.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 

      6 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      You may hear from me from time to time. I've been busy writing novels and you are first on my list to see what is going on at HUBS. This and all your articles are so articulate for me it defys how anything could be any better quality. Everytime I read one of your articles , I cannot help but think that you would MORE than enjoy "Seeds from Heaven" the third book in the series as much of what you say is hidden in the narrative. I could write on and on about each point you make here. Well done.

    • amillar profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Scotland, UK

      Yes, I think that's right Wesman. We have to keep an open mind. It's too easy to launch into vitriol, and it's the last thing we need, if we want to build allegiances. Democracy, (for those who want it) requires people working together.

    • amillar profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Scotland, UK

      Thanks for sharing Paraglider. We never feel alone when we're sharing. Maybe that's the reason we write.

    • amillar profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Scotland, UK

      These rabbits festered by the roadside long ago drbj. I can't say I gave them much thought until now. Maybe it affected me more deeply than I realised, but I'm lucky I've seen very little misery and suffering at first hand like that. We know that much worse happens. But I doubt if we know all of it.

      Thanks for commenting. I'll be googling for Marcel Proust BTW.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Well that was a terrific little essay!

      I think I'll have to re read it after I've had some coffee.

      I'm nearly in pain these days when I see someone start something off with "The stupid liberals think that....."


      "The GOP teatards believe....."

      Then, mother of all woes...I catch myself doing the same thing.

    • Paraglider profile image

      Dave McClure 

      6 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Well spoken! This is exactly the situation. Legalised robbery by the elite. Deliberate and cynical manipulation of the people through wholly owned media. I'll share this one.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      6 years ago from south Florida

      Powerful analogy, amillar, with those poor rabbits dying by the roadside. And your poem about freedom is equally powerful. You made me think and then I remembered this quote I thought I had forgotten: "As long as men (and women) are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost and science can never regress." - Marcel Proust. Amen!

    • amillar profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Scotland, UK

      Hi Jed,

      I don't have as good grasp of financial matters as you do, but, as they say, we're never too old to learn.

      Thanks for reading.

    • Jed Fisher profile image

      Jed Fisher 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma



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