14 Days of Freedom: Day 7

Something I've noticed more and more, and something I really should have been seeing less and less of, is that even though we're supposed to have a democracy - you know, rule by the people and all that - most people are very passive. They put faith in their elected leaders and in the unelected corporations who, directly or indirectly, run much of the world, trusting that these smart people know what they're doing.

Well, the financial crisis should have put paid to that notion, but some people just don't learn...

...I've noticed something else as well. Quite a lot of these people are hung up on the notion of personal responsibility, which once upon a time used to mean acting wisely and is now an excuse to blame the oppressed for their situation. Yet they're not willing to take responsibility for themselves or their society; they're not willing to stand up for themselves or for other people, because they think that it's not their place to do so.

In a free society, people have to stand up and do things for themselves and others, rather than relying on the great and the good(!) to lead them. Now, don't get me wrong: I support state/community welfare. What I don't support is relying unquestioningly on a state to throw scraps at the masses every once in a while. Yes, it is possible to have welfare and active citizens at the same time.

People try to discount this in various different ways: it's impossible for us to make a real change under the current system, we need strong government, participation is dangerous and hard work, you can probably come up with a ton more arguments...

...Here's the thing. If it's impossible for us to make a real change under the current system, that probably means the current system needs changing - and we're the only people who will do that. A government ruled by elites is not necessarily strong; it may only have the appearance of strength. When talking about strong government, it's also necessary to decide what you want out of government: something to look after you? Something to look after itself? No government at all? What do you want out of society? Freedom? Safety? What makes life living? A strong government is not necessarily a good government.

Again, if participation is dangerous, all the better that one should participate and make it less dangerous. Saying that participation is dangerous also conflates "dangerous" with "not worth doing". They're not the same thing. I can't deny that participating and doing things is hard work - but again, just because it's hard doesn't mean it's not worth doing.

This is the point where I have to share and talk about myself a little. Don't sigh...it really is unavoidable. Honest. I've lived both as someone who doesn't participate and as someone who does. I found life without participating, without doing something, anywhere between frustrating and unbearable. Now that I do actually think for myself and participate a little, even though friends and family members may shake their heads, call me crazy and brainwashed, fear for my freedom (imagine how horrible it would be for them, the poor little darlings, if I went to jail - such a stain on their good middle-class reputation), and just generally disapprove of my actions, I...well, I don't love my life, but I can live it somewhat well and happily knowing that I'm doing something good.

One last thing before I finish off this post. No organisation or group should ever be telling you what you should and should not do, only advising you - and yes, that goes for me as well. Think for yourself. Stand up for yourself and others. It is worth it.