Jerome Michael McLaughlin
Don't want to be your slave.
If asked, every person alive would choose freedom over captivity. That is, freedom from external force, outside constraint, or undue coercion. Freedom from unjustified imprisonment, direct enslavement, or unprovoked violence against their person, family, or property.
We who are lucky enough to live in a western-style democracy believe we live free. But do we?
The answer is, not exactly. A state of pure freedom exists only in a world where one happens to live exclusively alone. Reality demands we acknowledge the presence of others who expect the same degree of freedom we enjoy. For now, we live “voluntarily” under a social contract that sets the rules then judges our actions (and even our words) on a daily or even momentary basis.
For example, I must pay taxes. Every year it is required by law that I pay a lump sum to the ruling authority - my government. And then pay even more with every purchase, permit, and license issued by this government.
My government also issues me a passport that allows me to travel outside the country, supplies me with a social security number that forces me put my hard-earned money into a “savings account” (which I will probably never see again), and grants me the privilege of a driver’s license that allows me to operate a motor vehicle or enables me to identify myself when approached by government employees paid to enforce the rules.
I am then required to follow the rules of the road I have been granted the privileged to enjoy – stop signs, speed limits, school zones, safety belts, etc. I must have an address on my house, a smoke detector on my ceiling, insurance for my home, and permits for my guns. I cannot steal from, harm, harass, or slander my neighbor. My dog must be licensed, tethered to a leash at all times, and always up-to-date on his required shots and tags.
But these inconveniences might be considered a small price to pay as we go about our daily lives in the pursuit of our own earthly happiness. We tend forget that there are still an estimated 38 to 46 million people living in slavery today. According to a recent study, countries with the most slaves include: India (8 million), China (3.86 million), Pakistan (3.19 million), North Korea (2.64 million), Nigeria (1.39 million), Indonesia (1.22 million), Democratic Republic of the Congo (1 million), Russia (794,000) and the Philippines (784,000). (Source: “Slavery in the 21st Century” – Wikipedia.)
These human beings have no freedom. Zero. These are not people who have committed a crime against society and then incarcerated to serve out their sentence. These are persons under the command and control of another human being, group, or state, without recourse toward the law or the hope of appeal from their fellow citizens or higher authority. Their natural human right to live free has been negated by another under the penalty of physical harm, or even death.
The captivity of any person is oftentimes referred to as “human trafficking”, a benign term used to mute the severely negative psychological impact of the worst possible human state of being. But at its core, it is still slavery. One human being held by another against their will to perform acts or engage in a service they would not necessarily choose freely.
Every human being deserves to live free. Freedom is the most natural and noble human condition. Freedom is inherent to us as a species. It exists within us by virtue of our humanity. Be grateful each day you still have yours. A free world can change in an instant. Or it can erode away slowly without notice.
When given a chance, always choose that which delivers more freedom for all, even if it means a little less security, comfort, or wealth for you now.