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Free and Uneasy

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Free and Uneasy

So why isn't freedom free?

Once upon a time, there became a new country in an old land. They called it “the new world.” But it wasn’t. It was an old home previously inhabited by millions who loved it, respected it, and lived within its mean. The leaders of this new country, bent on changing the ways they had brought with them from the old world, called it the “Land of the Free.”

Pretty soon they desired to know how many “free” people were in their country and commissioned a head count (census) to be taken throughout the land. Four million (give or take a hundred thousand) was the total they came up with.

Well, happiness loves company, so they doubled the size of their land, ignoring ore removing those who were already living there because they weren’t “truly” free.

Welcoming any and all who wished to be “truly” free, they invited through wide open doors the huddled, befuddled, tired, poor, beleaguered, bored, diseased, estranged and deranged peoples of all walks, religions, beliefs and desires.

To have an appetite for freedom was all they asked of most. Money was not required, but in its stead there had to be a strong back and a willingness to work it.

They redoubled their size again through a distress real estate transaction from an “old world” firm who needed to liquidate some of their assets. Within a few decades the number of free people had fourpled (quadrupled) and soon after doubled again. Luckily for them, another distress sale came available which gave them valuable new territory to add even more free people to.

This made them proud, not to mention wealthy, so they left the doors open because it was good for business.

Those that were moved, removed and/or ignored because they could not be “truly” free simply blended in to their surroundings and all but disappeared, clinging to the old ways of a subsistence existence.

Everything was groovy. The business of being free was booming. The people worked long and hard at being free. And their numbers doubled and redoubled again and again according to the censuses taken by the Department of Business.

In time, their resources and hard labor became too expensive to maintain a free society so they mortgaged their ‘next of kin’ and fed their hungers with the help of un-free peoples in far away places. They left the doors open to let some of these people come in to take care of the little things for them while they went on being free. This worked well and people throughout the land became proficient at taking their freedoms for granted, having anything they wanted without planning or saving or even hard work.

Not wanting to be outdone, they went further and further in debt until they no longer owned their land or their way of life. This scared the hell out of them. They cried, “how can we be free under all this debt?”

So they did another census, one more expensive than any previously done, hoping for something to cling to in their time of worry; statistics that might offer a way out; numbers that might add meaning or direction where it is needed. They spent five billion dollars on it, roughly sixteen dollars for each and every one of the “free” people who were already in debt more than they were worth.

They enumerated well over 300 million not-quite-free people in a land that was now unexpectedly restrained and deep in debt. It was also wide open to free trade in a world eager to work for much less. Unable to stem their consumption, their debt grew and their fears grew. And they sat bewildered, unable to understand how things got so screwed up just when everything was goin’ so well.

So they went to Mars.

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Scott Clawson Scott Clawson No, he's not the electrician, he's the OTHER Scott Clawson, who's a quality builder when he's not busy busting a gut while writing his humor column for the first issue of each month, or drawing his Acres n' Pains cartoons.

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