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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Real Freedom

The argument over being accepted in society is often couched in terms of 'freedom.'  We automatically assume that when one is accepted by society, then one benefits from the protection of society and one's rights are preserved.  Those who are rejected by society, on the other hand, have no such protection and are thus less free than those that are acceptable.

However, a closer examination tells us that being part of a society means disposing of a great deal of one's personal choices.  You trade freedom for the security a society offers.

The honest truth is that you are no more free with society's acceptance than you are with its rejection, because a society that has a violent streak uses it on everyone, inside and out.

Take for example British society in the 19th century.  Many have pointed out the cruelties of English colonial rule.  But, have you looked at how the British treated their own people?  The upper classes lived in a stifling rigid social structure, and the lower classes scraped out an existence in horrid conditions.  They were rough on everyone.

That's the kicker: a society that treats its own members well is far less likely to be cruel and unjust to those outside of it.  Therefore, the benefits of social acceptance are a matter of small degrees.

What most people don't pick up on is that all societies perpetuate some kind of 'injustice,' even when they try not to.  An example of this is modern Sweden: the Swedes consider themselves very kind and gracious to their immigrants... who have been out in the streets rioting in protest of social injustices perpetrated by the Swedes!

There are many people who fight for 'social justice.'  They want a society that embraces everyone.  It simply is not possible: how can you embrace the cultural value of 'respecting women as equals' and yet not reject 'domestic violence?'  One stays and the other goes.  A society, by definition, excludes those who refuse to keep the common values.

This means that the members of the society must give up certain things.  At the same time, a society that overly-restricts its members will eventually explode.  So, a relief valve is put in place: some destructive behaviors are tolerated.  Certain types of hatred are permitted, so long as their expression does not interfere with the common narrative that the society is functional and beneficial.

Real freedom is not necessarily being accepted or rejected by society, but recognizing that there will always be injustice and evil whenever fallen human beings gather.  

Real freedom is liberation from the expectation that things must be perfect.

Real freedom is living in the truth.

Slavery and oppression are always about lies.  The lies are about how 'civilized' we are when we are, in fact, quite oppressive and boorish.

To be free, we must live with the reality of who we are, both good and bad.  No false praise and no excuses.  Real freedom is living in the truth.

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