The idea of socio-economic bondage is new to me, but I've been thinking about it for a couple of days now. The United States touts itself as "Land of the Free," but are we really free? Take for example a post I recently saw on Facebook. It regarded a youth that came home from his mission (this is an LDS thing) and "came out" to his parents as gay. The parents disowned the young man and told him he had to move out and live on his own if he were going to pursue this lifestyle. The young man in this case was obviously upset as were many people on Facebook calling the parents "unloving" and any number of awful things (which I mostly agree with but digresses from my point). And what is my point? It's simple: Americans do a disservice to one another and to their children by encouraging the idea that "You are free to be whatever you want to be." I think a more accurate statement would be, "You are born into bondage, and the only way in which you can truly be free to do what you want is to acquire money...lots of it...to buy/purchase your freedom. Until such time as you are able to do so, you will always be beholding to someone else's rules, laws, and convictions. You will not be free to choose. Not if you want to survive."
But this brings into mind (I want to borrow Al Gore's own words here) an "Inconvenient Truth." Or maybe more accurately, an uncomfortable truth. The only people in our society that are "truly free" to be what they want to be and to do what they want to do with unlimited choices are the very rich. Money = Freedom of Choice to me. It's not about buying happiness, but about buying freedom. John Goodman put it not so eloquently as the right to say "F*ck you!" to anyone in the remake of "The Gambler." That's what 2.5 million dollars gives you...the right to say "f*ck you." And I don't need to be an economist to realize that this is true.
Polite society is cloaked in euphemisms to avoid uncomfortable truths. At work, I have this thing called an "annual performance evaluation" done by a manager that I presume has either convinced himself or has convinced others of his ability to toe-the-line. But really the whole thing should just be renamed. How about "annual systemic reminder of your socio-economic bondage?" Anyone that has ever had a performance evaluation should realize that it's a means to check "performance" for any places you might be coming up short with the idea that there's some kind of punishment for non-compliance, i.e., you could lose your job. A delusional person might say, "I'm free to make that choice. I'm free to be homeless if I choose to be." But let's not mince words, that isn't much of a choice and everyone knows that.
I'm going to conclude my thoughts in that I don't feel there's any way to change this system. I'm also part of the system just like many other people. And yes, I identify myself as one of the many million that exist in socio-economic bondage every day. Am I free to choose? I suppose that if you mean I can choose between things that are less terrible then yes. As Tyrion Lannister said to Daenerys, there is the right and wrong kind of terrible. But I don't think I shall ever look at things quite the same way anymore. Much of the troubles that we have in society are because all of us exist in bondage. However, only a few can truly be free. If everyone was free...well that's called anarchy and anarchy doesn't work.