Some where along the line the people of the USA decided that so long as there was a choice we were still free. I am unsure how this happened but the condition has existed for longer than I have memory. Probably longer than I have been alive since by the time All in the Family was on the air it appears to have been well established. I imagine that the government schools and media were key in creating it though.
The most famous example is “Love it or Leave it”. This is usually presented by someone who believes that we should all follow the government right or wrong. Or perhaps someone arguing from a position of American superiority. In any case it boils down to the idea that an American is free to choose to leave if he doesn’t like what the government is doing. That is the government has permission to do just about anything if not anything because people have the choice to leave.
As many are aware of this is a false choice as Americans don’t really have a choice to leave. The US Empire claims US citizens as its property no matter where on the planet they should go. The US Federal Government is nearly unique among governments in that it claims the power to tax citizens who have left the country. I know two people who have left the USA, not for any freedom or political issues, it was just where life took them. Both have hinted at IRS problems. I don’t know them well enough to pry further but it was pretty clear they have had run ins with the IRS over the fact they don’t live here any more. Neither would have incomes anywhere close to what the US government should be concerned about. For an american to actually leave the USA he has to be lucky enough to qualify for citizenship elsewhere or have the money to buy it and then renounce US citizenship. “Love it or Leave it” is mostly a false choice.
Essentially that’s how this scam works and the boobus, aka the clovers, buy it every time. It keeps appearing throughout the society over and over again.
If you don’t like checkpoints on the road, don’t drive. You can ride a bicycle. If you don’t like the boilerplate law that allows cops to hassle bicyclists at will, you can walk. If you don’t like being hassled because you’re walking where nobody walks, well you could just stay home. If you don’t like the TSA, don’t fly… it goes on and on. Freedom is becoming nothing more than a choice of being hassled or staying within an ever smaller circle of hassle free activities.
Driving has been under attack for a considerably long time. The DUI checkpoints started late at night on weekends, as did most one-on-one hassling by cops. We were told if we didn’t like it to be in by 10pm on fridays. That it was because that’s when the drunks were out, so if we didn’t like it, be at home like a normal person. Now there are all sorts of checkpoints and while they still mostly occur at night they can be done at any time of the day.
Often there is another checkpoint false choice. The ability to turn off right before the checkpoint. I say false choice because the checkpoints are set up where this is functionally impossible for most drivers. The checkpoints are often disguised to look like some sort of night time work zone or emergency utility repair until it’s too late to turn. The turn before the checkpoint will often cause all but those most familiar with the area to get lost. But then there is the checkpoint that is set up where one can’t see it until there isn’t a way to turn off. The last checkpoint I encountered wasn’t visible until I was near the end of the expressway off ramp. It was located on the far side of the bridge that went over the expressway so people on the road I exited to couldn’t see it until they reached the mid point of the bridge and could see over the rise. They are on a bridge, no place to turn. To government and its cheerleaders we then chose to go through the checkpoint. Sure I could have exited to drive north instead of south. Those going south could have turned off on a side road and taken an underpass a couple miles away and then backtracked… It would only take the ability to know the checkpoint was there ahead of time. Minus any super human powers these things are published, so if one is diligent about reading that section of the newspapers local to each town they drive through months in advance then they might know.
It is in this choice tyranny that we see one of the results of government monopoly. Government takes a monopoly on something like the roads, airline security, passenger rail, etc and then people have the choice of putting up with the tyranny or going without.
Today we have our “choice” at the airport. We can accept the risk of a radiation emitting machine purchased by the government from a company that markets to government through insider deals that is also maintained and operated by some of the lowest level government employees there are -or- we can choose what amounts to sexual assault or even rape under the definitions of both state and soon federal laws. Some choice, eh?
So what do the lovers of government say if we don’t like it? Don’t fly. So what is the TSA doing? It’s moving to the rails, buses, roads, anywhere people travel. Choose.
Then there is the regulation on product after product. CAFE says we can’t choose the right vehicles to drive so they choose for us by penalizing manufacturers for building what we would ordinarily choose. Our rulers decided for the corporate interests that pay them we should no longer be able to choose incandescent light bulbs or non-GMO food. That’s freedom. No choice. Try to make a real choice for raw milk or some other food government hasn’t approved of? Well expect to be hassled or worse. The choice is to be reduced to eat and use what the government says we should… or go without.
Choose a smaller and smaller circle of activity or be hassled. That’s freedom in America these days.
The clover majority still believes we are free because we have these wonderful choices. Yet all it takes to see these false choices throughout the society is to have an open eye form them. And before I forget, the biggest false choice of all, Democrat or Republican.
Oh yes, the “love it or leave it” shibboleth is loathsome. I haven’t heard that one for awhile, but I have an answer ready. When next someone says to me, “America, love it or leave it,” with that lofty certainty of those for whom popular sayings pass for thought, I will say, “No, it is *because* I love the country that I criticize it. I want it to be better than it is.”
Probably won’t work, but it beats hitting them over their stupid heads with a ball bat.
Good essay. I like your phrase “choice tyranny”. It encapsulates perfectly the cluelessness of those who would sacrifice liberty for security.