Today I would like to address a subject most people avoid the way men attempted to escape the Black Plague: Freedom and the Average Man, what I call the "Meaner".
Freedom is a two-edged (or more) sword. Flight is a great illustrative analog. On the one hand, there is the thrill of non-restriction - soaring high above it all in whichever direction one chooses, the ability to go where one wishes, when one wishes, taking the path one wishes, and usually with a dispatch that earth-bound transit will not allow. Those are what we might term as the basic thrills of flying.
Then there are the "costs" or "demands" of flight, which would include the various responsibilities and risks associated therewith. For example, one must maintain minimum velocity and a sufficient awareness of his position in relation to the earth and other objects including other possible air traffic, lest he fall from the sky or crash into another thing, resulting in grave injury or even death to oneself, others, and property. In order to fly competently, one must be ultimately responsible for his state of mind while flying, as well as the attendant actions.
Bringing us to the issue of practical human flight, which requires aircraft and other human artifice, the question arises as to why so few people so much as learn to fly, much less engage in flight on anything that could be called a regular basis. One thing of which I can assure is that it is not money that keeps people from flying, but rather all the other costs associated with it, including fear.
The Meaner has no interest in flying sufficient to motivate him to learn because the thrill of the freedom it represents is far and away outpaced by his aversion to the demands it places upon him. The practical human pilot must be well disciplined through his training. He must understand the basics of aerodynamics, as well as navigation, communications, emergency procedures, and legal issues regarding restrictions upon his prerogatives as a pilot.
The artifice of human flight carries with it risks that strike great unease, if not paralytic fear into the hearts of average men such that they could give the least damn about the freedom to be found there. Such men prefer the lie that is the false sense of security provided by their earthbound, foot-shuffling confinement to the ground. The thrill and exhilaration of the freedoms of flight hold insufficient charm for him because it demands that which lies beyond the timid metes and bounds dictated by his morbid addiction to lassitude-driven convenience, his aversion to responsibility, and his crippling fear of, and aversion to risk.
And so may this analog be extrapolated to map to the broadest senses of human freedom. The thrills and the potentials of actual freedom hold no sufficient allure for Johnny Average because the associated costs he regards as too high.
To be free is to be wholly accountable for what you think, do, and feel. This demand of accountability is perhaps the most prominent element to which the Meaner blasts his fear-riddled, anger-laden voice of rejection. The justifications he concocts pursuant to his counter-blasts represent such creative fecundity that, were he to make the same applications to his other pursuits, I daresay the great maladies of humanity would have fallen away from his shoulders long ago.
And so the mean man has contrived for himself this elaborate system of lies and other false reasons for rejecting freedom in favor of systems of slavery and their associated tyrannies. He furthers his crimes against himself and his fellows with the added mendacity of calling the prisons into which he relegates himself and those around him, "freedom". The irony of it burns with a hateful misery in the eyes of thinking men of integrity and honor, to drive them to the edges of despair.
Men's individual notions of "freedom" are almost as manifold as their numbers. The one thing such notions carry in vast common is their false quality.
In a properly free society, men stand in apprehension of their positions in the grander scheme of things on planet earth. They know they are owed absolutely nothing, save that gained through their various acts of valid labor, whether singly endeavored, or severally. They know that if they succeed at whatever it is to which they apply themselves, the fruits of endeavor are theirs and nobody else's. They know equally well that if they fail, no man is compelled to render aid and assistance. Therefore, they understand and accept the risks (a form of cost), of their freedom, as well as the benefits.
By extrapolation, they understand that not all of their fellows will "make it" in life, whether in pursuit of success in business, or even their ability to physically survive for another day. Being generally decent sorts, average men chafe at the prospect of their fellows dying at the hands of circumstance. The difference between today's Meaner, who is a Weakman, and the Freeman is that the latter understands that there is no conceivable social good that lends the least authority at any time to one man such that he may lord over and restrict the rightful prerogatives of another.
People of just about any stripe one might care to name appear readily willing to violate the property rights of their fellows pursuant to their pet social cause, whether it be hungry children, roadways, national security. "social" security/order, natural disaster, religion, or any of a great host of other transparently false justifications for the violence-laced expropriation of property and violation of rights. They care no whit about that, so long as they get to ease their consciences at someone else's expense.
The timid "liberal", quaking in bladder-emptying fear of potential violence, is more than willing to employ cruel and rampaging terror against his fellows through the instrument of "the state" in order to quell the riotous machinations of his fevered mind, running amok with panic and alarm. Hence, he is wildly eager to see "gun control" legislation enacted in violation of a man's sacred right to the means of defense, as well as a vast host of other statutes in similar violation of the rights of men in order that his delicate sensibilities be spared the horrors of reality.
The so-called "social conservative" would have the homosexual censured and perhaps even imprisoned for having the temerity of upsetting his white-picket-fence vision of the social order. Once again, his delicate sensibilities prove more important to him than any sense of equity and respect between men. After all, we know all too well that the scourge of the queer presents a clear, present, and mortal danger to all and must, therefore, be stamped out sans the least hint of equivocation.
The clue-bereft "environmentalist", apparently oblivious to the hypocrisy of his pseudo-Luddite positions would see the world reverted to stone-age conditions for no other reason than to ease his falsely troubled mind regarding issues of habitat that he has taken from what is reasonable and dragged into the distortions of ignorant extremes, the rights of those around him be damned.
The so-called "social justice warrior" (talk about irony) would literally see his fellow men slaughtered in waves to make the likes of Mao Tse Tung and Joseph Stalin weep tears of bitter envy for sheer numbers, pursuant to their petty and tepid visions a perfect world devoid of risk and hurt feelings. Heaven forbid anyone utter a word that meets with his disapproval. Best to see such utterances met with the most draconian response, rather than so much as risk someone's feelings being nudged.
We could go down a very long list of groups whose visions of social paradise readily call for the restriction, violation, and even destruction of what is often vast numbers of their fellow men. Fundamentalist Muslims cry for the extermination of Jews and other "infidels". Some Christians would impose their beliefs upon all, as would some Jews. Communists, socialists, scientologiests, flat-earthers, "futurists", Luddites, animal-rights activists, Democrats, Republicacns, men, women, gays, lesbians... the list is long, arduous, and representative of mankind's worst and most dangerous enemy: itself.
Such people are steadfastly opposed to accepting freedom from the one side of their mouths, while spewing "we're FREE!!" from the other. They want only that which appeals to them, vociferously and often violently rejecting all that holds no shine for their eyes, no matter what anyone else might think or want.
So long as Joey Meaner gets what he wants from life, the rest of mankind can go straight to hell, willing to use whatever means he deems fit to oppress the rightful prerogatives of those around him and whose desires might vary beyond his narrow-between-the-eyes notions of what is desirable.
In this, human beings are almost universally corrupt. I can think of but the smallest handful of individuals with the vision and decency to allow others their lives, so long as the rights of all are held sacrosanct by each. That in part means accepting the horrors of life, as well as the beauties. There is nothing wrong with helping those in dire straits. Crime comes not in rendering aid, but in forcing one's neighbors to do so where the inclination is absent.
Will people ever learn the Golden Rule, which is nothing fancier than "live and let live"? I cannot say for certain, but if our history is any indicator, then I must conclude that the prospects do not look good.
Freedom is at once both beautiful and horrifying; appealing and revolting. The weal must come with its attendant woe; the benefit with the cost; the right with the responsibility. As we engineers learned in all our studies of energy systems, beginning with thermodynamics, "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch." (TAANSTAFL). Everything in this life costs. Everything. That includes freedom. If one wishes to enjoy the thrills of flying high, one must accept that which is required in order to be able to do it, and accept the associated risks. There is no one without the other, no matter how hard one might wish it to be otherwise.
Things will always go wrong; people will always abuse or otherwise act wrongfully. There is no possibility of eliminating such developments. Furthermore, I boldly assert that were it possible, such a world would be so boring a place that people would go out to injure themselves or others just to escape to drabbery of it. Yes, I just made up "drabbery". Get over it. :)
The sooner men of more ignorant and/or timid bents come to accept that life is not all bunnie, light, and unicorn poo, the more quickly will the world of men heal and come to optimum realization of its best potentials. Until that time, the human fabric will always be significantly less than what if might become. Fear, Avarice, Ignorance, and Lassistude (FAIL), no matter how devotedly one may cling to them, will never produce the results so many think possible. Our reflexive approaches to "improving" the world are akin to feeding salmonella cultures to those dying of food poisoning with the intention of curing them. It is not even remotely possible.
Life requires courage, lest it be reduced to mere existence unworthy of its own appellation. It requires generosity of a sort that leaves people their rightful prerogatives intact, as well as smarts and a certain brand of industry, if it not to devolve and decay into an affair of poverty, violation, disease, chaos, misery, and living death.
Freedom is the only path that can optimize the human condition. It is beautiful, but it can be scary, demanding, and outright horrifying at times. But it is the only path toward humanity's apex, all others leading to Davey Jones' locker, whether sooner, or later.
So please, be of a generous spirit toward your fellows. Be generous toward yourself through the rewards of courage, strong and honest intellect, and the drive to achieve for yourself, not to mention the will to allow others to do the same. I promise you on my sacred word that this is the only good way forward. It is the way of the Freeman in rejection of that of the Weakman.
Be free. The payoff is well worth the cost, one hundred-fold.
Until next time, please accept my best wishes.