Domesticated Society

7 12 2009

The falconer is a talented individual, who knows how to release a patently independent creature and fully expect that it will not continue flying, never to return.  The bird, though it be freed from its tethers, is not free in its own mind.  The key to this, as any falconer knows, is to successfully prevent the bird from eating the fruits of its own labor directly.  In training, he must be there to snatch up the bait before the bird can eat it.  Everything that the bird eats must come from the owner’s hand, so that the poor beast never makes the connection between its kill and its food.  Otherwise, it might realize that it does not need the master at all, and the next time it is released, it might fly away and never return.  The falconer uses the bird to catch him his food.  The bird only thinks it needs the falconer for its own food.  In reality, this is a strictly parasitic relationship.  The bird acts as a voluntary, if unwitting, host.  The human cannot give it anything that he does not first take from the bird.  He contributes nothing to the relationship, other than psychological enslavement.

Oh, but this happens to you, too.  You are that bird.  When communism fell in Eastern Europe, people, at first, cherished their new found freedom, but with time they discovered the burden of having to fend for themselves.  These days, much of the populace is waxing nostalgic for the “good old days,” when a job was guaranteed to every person.  With time, those memories seem not so bad.  It’s like the Israelites leaving Egypt, saying, “We were better off in the land of Egypt, living as slaves, because at least then we had food and water…security…certain assurances.”  Egypt provided them nothing.  Everything that their masters gave them was the fruit of their own labor, minus whatever the masters took.  The security of a guaranteed meal was an illusion.  If the slaves stopped providing it, then the masters certainly would not have taken to the fields to provide for their slaves.  The essence of the problem was that the people were looking to other humans to fill a role that should have been occupied by God.

Jan, a Czech immigrant, and a few of his friends conversed with me over a few glasses of wine, while I sipped my coffee.  They lamented the waning of freedom in their homeland.  This freedom has not been weakening in the political field, so much as it has been in the psychological realm.  They fear that Communism is on its way back, and the worst part of it is that it is being invited back by the very people that it once enslaved.  The difference between them and Americans, they assure me, is that Americans put their faith in God.  The Czech Republic is overwhelmingly atheistic, and so to fill that void, they place government in the esteem of God, looking to corrupt greedy men for the assurance of security.  This is probably the essence of why the Communist regime worked so hard to kill religion.  If people have faith in God, then they do not look to the government for hope.  Kill God, and the government inherits godlike authority.  Ever wonder why the West has instituted atheism as the official, “scientific” explanation, the only thing that can be taught in public schools?  It isn’t actually scientific at all.  Rather, it is a tool for bringing more power to the government.

Through the first years of the United States, people lived quite successfully without any help from the government.  Life was a constant struggle for survival, but people put their faith in God, and they lived through it.  These days, one might think that the entire nation should have perished without publicly funded programs.  How did they ever survive?  As the faith in God wanes, the faith in government grows.  But, where God can give us what we did not sow, the government can only give us what it takes from us.  We are that falcon that brings food to its master, then accepts, gratefully, food in return.  We fail to see that we would be better, far better, able to care for ourselves if the money had not been taken from us in the first place.  With faith in God, we would have cared for our own needy.  With faith in government, we lose most of our forced contributions to administrative costs.  We catch the rabbit for the government, and it gives us our morsel in return.

Were people really guaranteed a job under communism?  Not really.  The government could not give what it did not first take.  When the economy ran dry, the government collapsed.  Instead of losing their jobs a little here and there, they all lost their jobs at once.  The bigger the beast, the harder it falls.

My Czech friends warn me of a ratchet effect in the United States, and I have thought as much, myself.  Change only happens in one direction.  The government never relinquishes power.  That domesticated falcon is never set free.  Little by little it promises more to us.  It feigns to be our omnipotent guardian.  It usurps God.  Little by little it takes our money and our freedom to pay for these vices.  The process never reverses.

As we lose our faith in God, so do we lose our freedom to men.

A wild animal is born knowing things.  It knows how to hunt, how to care for itself and how to live out in the middle of nowhere on practically nothing at all.  It needs no food dish, no doghouse, no litter box.  This animal is born to be free.  It takes a clever trainer to domesticate it.  The animal unlearns all of the skills that came to it instinctively.  It learns, instead, the ways of its new master, the human.  It learns to be helpless.  What does a horse need?  It’s surrounded by food, everywhere it goes.  Yet, it comes to depend on the human.  For what?  The human gives it a fraction of the fruit of its own labor.

But the domesticated mindset, once learned, is not forgotten.  To put it another way, the wild instinct, once forgotten, is not easily learned.  Once the animal learns to eat from the hand of a human, it forgets how to eat from the hand of God.

Festus, an old Roman governor, was a freed slave, but the Caesar remarked that he still had the mind of a slave.  What was this mindset?  To understand this, we must look to the slaves that we know.  When freed, they stayed with their masters and continued to work for them.  Years later, their children still largely look to the mastership of other humans to provide for them.  Predictably, they tend to vote for the party that not only enslaved them but even marginalized them through horrible racist laws.  The reason is that this party has become to them the new slave master.  It reaps what they sow, and it gives back to them what they need.  That government has become as God to them.  They look to it to fulfill their needs, never really grasping that they have surrendered their freedom, little by little, and never really accounting for the fact that they only receive a net loss in the transaction.  Like the Israelites, they long to return to Egypt, where a meal seemed guaranteed, where they trusted in the providence of men rather than God.

But the provision of men will certainly come to an end, and the provision of God is boundless.

When a natural disaster like hurricane Katrina hits, people whine and cry that the government is not there to rescue them.  It’s like complaining to an intestinal worm that it does not provide nourishment in a time of famine.  The parasite is not there for the host’s benefit.  It takes as much as it can, leaving just enough to keep the host alive.  It provides nothing in return.  We need not thank it for what it lets us keep.  It is not our savior.  The government is only human, like us, and as humans, it is vulnerable to all of the same troubles.  Its role as God is only a masquerade.

Choose, this moment, whom you will serve.

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