One component of being free.

After years of thinking, I may have figured out which aspect of life makes a person feel un-free. It’s the frequency of having to perform submission rituals.

When a feudal lord rides by peasants and they have to kneel in the mud to show respect, that’s a submission ritual. It’s little different from dogs rolling over to expose bellies to the leader of their pack. In our modern life, a typical submission ritual is turning on the dome light and putting hands in plain view when stopped by police. It’s standing with legs and arms spread for the TSA. It’s being polite to abusive bureaucrats from IRS, INS, ATF and every other abusive Federal and State agency who aren’t being polite back to us.

The aversion to rolling over for others is why some people prefer to live in remote areas. Few officials venture into the bush. Less connected threats, like dangerous wildlife, can be dealt with without fear of bringing the rest of the mafia down on you in retaliation. Others, content to live in cities, avoid regulated activities to minimize their interaction with controlling organizations. The greater the amount of effort required to live unmolested by the authorities, the less free a society is. United States does not look good in that respect…unfortunately, neither does the rest of the world.

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21 Responses to One component of being free.

  1. Scott J says:

    I think it’s one of the core concepts for sure.

    Had similar thoughts myself the other day. A new project starting up at work will likely require me to fly somewhere for some training. I’ve not flown since the TSA added the blue glove pat down and full-body scanners. The sense of dread was a reminder of how much freedom has evaporated.

    • dar says:

      When parents protect a small child from strangers in a crowd or running into a busy street, they are restricting the child’s freedom. Do not confuse protection with freedom. The hijackers go thru the body scans too. I wonder how many people they have caught in their nets and how many incidents have been averted? Yes this pre-flight precaution is hindsight, but Israel and other countries have been doing this for years. You still have the freedom to travel wherever you want. It just takes a little longer, but it is MUCH safer now. The terrorists were blowing up our airplanes long before the govt or media acknowledged them. Terrorists want to inflict fear and mess with our minds, hence the 911 date. It was no coincidence. I say screw’em. Take a vacation in one of these beautiful 50 United States and enjoy your life. You are the one choosing to stay at home. You can choose to go wherever you want. This country offers some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. God Bless America. Again.

      • cover72 says:

        Problem is, you could justify pretty much anything by “protecting someone”. This image summarizes it just fine:
        TSA is ridiculous. I don’t fly anymore, but I had some friends on the airport and I could instantly think of at least 10 ways how to smuggle virtually anything to the airplane, either without going through the security control at all or by not having that thing with me in the moment I pass the check. TSA is only theatre for stupids – and could only catch the most stupid terrorists. After all, what could you expect from IQ80 guards. In my country, “our TSA” was such a band of idiots they banned foreign flight crews to do the pre-flight check, since they didn’t have the papers from our Secret service – “but what if this flight captain is a terrorist? We must protect you.”
        No, that’s not the way. You have to examine cost:performance ratio – and TSA abusing people on bus stops is insanely outside any reasonable margins.

  2. daniel says:

    Your comment have been noted for further review.

  3. guffaw says:

    Thank you, Oleg!
    I’m copying this for later posting on my blog – with full attribution, of course.
    Great photographer – great thinker!

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  5. Ratshooter says:

    Well said! Thanks Oleg.

  6. Mozart says:

    Well said Oleg
    It is one of the great benefits to being an ignorant unproductive member of a society. What you don’t know can’t hurt, of course we all no once they put down the front line of any freedom movement, no one remains safe.

    The real sad part of this loss of freedom is that at minimum, half of the American population is good with it; less personal freedom, less personal responsibility.

  7. MundoSimple says:

    Could not have said it better myself. I’ll link this on my tumblr.

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  10. Skip says:

    It is ingrained into this generation that ‘govt. will take care of you, trust us’.
    Something they will do will pop that bubble ’cause they are blind to the silent majority.
    A slow but sure rebellion will awake and upraise and and it will be nasty and quick.
    They do not have the balls, we do.

  11. Y.T. says:

    I dunno, but police in some European states are generally quite polite. Sweden, Finland, etc.

    German police is nasty towards foreigners, but that’s generally the case with police everywhere.

    Slovak police is not very friendly, but I’ve not yet encountered a not-professional and courteous Czech police officer. At worst they’re a little thick and you have to repeat to them something slowly.

    US agencies seem to be more… capricious and assholeish. LA’s nuisance abatment teams that busted down people’s doors in the desert and announced that the desert dwelling has to be torn down since it’s not compliant with building codes?

    God complex there…

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  13. Lyle says:

    YT; I don’t care how someone acts on the surface, if they’re there to try to intimidate me. The nice, friendly agent is there to force you to do things you don’t want you to do, or to force you not to things you want to do. That’s the point. There is deadly force behind that sweet, fake smile– the plausible threat. All parties know that full well. It is only when the plausible threat goes both ways that liberty can survive for long.

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  15. Tam says:

    In our modern life, a typical submission ritual is turning on the dome light and putting hands in plain view when stopped by police.

    Really? ‘Cause I do that for the same reason that a swordsman on a Medieval horse path showed an empty right hand to a swordsman approaching him. “No need for anybody to get nervous and do something rash; we’re all cool here, buddy.

  16. Divemedic says:

    Tam: I don’t think the Medieval analogy holds. In your example, the swordsmen are equals. In order for your analogy to be equal to Oleg’s, one swordsman would have to take the other off his horse at swordpoint, search his saddlebags, and steal some of his money because he was riding on the wrong path, riding too fast on the path, or simply because of a random stop searching for an illegal flower.

  17. Tam says:

    1) It’s not meant to be perfectly analogous, it’s meant to convey that I’m not doing it to show submission, but to avoid misunderstandings.

    2) They were not at all necessarily equals. Some French dude by himself would show an empty hand to three or four English kanigits and not feel particularly submissive or inferior.

    I’m doing it for a completely different reason than the forelock-tugging that goes on when dealing with other government agencies, and that’s because there’s a big difference between me unarmed and surrounded in a TSA line at the airport and me on a nighttime road with some cop. In the latter case, for at least the first several minutes of the encounter, he is as dependent on my goodwill as I am on his, and he knows it, which is why I attempt to put him at ease and in return hope I’ve drawn a decent human in the traffic ticket sweepstakes who will reciprocate my courtesies. Been batting a thousand so far with this plan.

  18. If you want to see a submission ritual, just go to traffic court on “guilty with an explanation” day. I should probably blog about that. It happened the same day I decided to stop and render first aid at a traffic accident.

  19. Senor Frog says:

    There is a huge difference in attitude between East Coast and mountain states. At the Tucson airport TSA was quite polite while being efficient, at the New Haven (Tweed) airport they were snarling and grouchy without being effiecient at all. These are just the two endpoints, Denver airport is not as nice as Tucson while still being personable and polite and efficient. I don’t feel like murdering anyone in DIA or Tucson, not so much in NH or the New York area ports. So courtesy makes a big difference.

    Also, I currently live in Mexico, where the tradition of courtesy is still alive, and am also comparatively wealthy here, compared to the average. That makes a very great difference. The local police are very careful about making the wealthy tourists unhappy, since about half of us have disappeared after the new Visa requirements. No more mordita stops; there was a mean sarcastic woman working at the tourista office, one of my Mexican friends told her superiors that some Gringos were unhappy with her attitude, and she has been relegated to paperwork without tourist contact. Officials do not ask for bribes, especially since a European diplomats wife was maltreated and her husband raised a stink with the national offices. I understand that all over Mexico the tradition of bribes is dropping; corruption, it is now realized, is a drag on wealth creation. Although the taxes are pretty high on everyone, which is a form of corruption on it’s own.

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