I’ve said for some time now that irony is what makes the world more bearable. That may sound a little odd, because more often than not, if there’s some sort of irony in play that means there’s likely a negative condition attached to it. But if you’re willing to look at it without the doom-and-gloom lens, if you’re willing to take life a little less seriously, then you can actually find quite a lot of entertainment in human interaction.
The other day, Harrison over at Capitol Commentary wrote an interesting article about the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) people and their motivation for what they’re doing. He’s been following this movement, and a few weeks ago he wrote a very enjoyable article about the irony of the movement itself. The people involved are all benefiting+ from the fruits of American corporations, from their attire, to the food they eat, and to the technology they use to spread their message. It’s pretty funny when you think about the fact that they seem to want to destroy the source of their precious creature comforts.
That was an astute observation, and I was a little bothered that I hadn’t picked up on it myself. Harrison’s article from the other day, however, gave me the chance to stretch the old thought muscles about this whole OWS thing. One thing he mentioned was that the OWS people appear to want a world without consequences, a world of chaos and anarchy. I think they do want a world without consequences, but they don’t want a world of anarchy and chaos. I think they want the exact opposite of anarchy and chaos; one in which negative consequences are never produced, because in this fantasy world of theirs, the human existence is so controlled that no one can even make the bad decisions that lead to such ends.
They want a world in which people are not free to make their own bad decisions. If you were to accuse any Liberal of desiring such a bleak existence, of course they would be instantly offended and start gushing about how they’re trying to preserve freedom and happiness. But how can one really claim to be a champion of liberty and the freedom of choice if you think the government should limit the sodium content of food production? What noble cause of liberty and justice is served when they block school voucher programs that would give poor children the chance to receive a top-notch private school education, thereby perpetuating the limitation of parental school choice based on socioeconomic status?
Maybe they’re right. We wouldn’t be fat and unhealthy if the government would tell us what we’re allowed to eat. And so long as most kids have to go to public school, we wouldn’t have to worry about too many people being smarter than everyone else. Perhaps if we just lower our expectations of what we think it means to be free, then the world will be a much better place.
The world we live in can be an awful place, and the irony is that in order to have this fantasy world of theirs, one in which there is little to no suffering, we would have to destroy freedom. They seem to think that liberty means everyone is in a state of happiness. We’re most free when we’re happy and there are no burdens weighing us down, right? The irony of liberty is that we are all free to make really bad decisions. If we weren’t, then we wouldn’t be free at all; we would be mindless robots. Sure, the world might be a safer, more pleasant place, but that’s not a world I would want to live in.
I actually prefer the freedom to do as I please more than a life of ease and leisure in which I have no choice but to do whatever is supposed to make me happy. Yes, there are negative consequences to bad decisions, but that’s okay. Human beings are happiest when they are free to make their own choices. These Liberals are striving to achieve something that cannot be attained, and it makes me wonder if they realize that or not. Perhaps they’re not as delusional as we think: they might know that the world can never be what they want it to be.
So it looks as though they’ll be content to destroy some freedoms in order to shape the world into some semblance of their ideal existence. What they don’t seem to get though is that the world will continue to be an awful place full of suffering and hardship. Their world would be just as horrifying as this one, except in their world we would have a lot less freedom to enjoy.