Saturday, June 23, 2007

Building the Prison Planet

This article was originally published on June 18th, 2007 at

Ok, I admit it, I love Star Trek. I was only a little kid when it first came out. I used to watch it all the time. I’ve probably seen each episode two or three times. Even though it took place in the future, often times the show’s themes were pertinent to events taking place in the present. Other times the show was a vehicle for poignant social commentary. Take, for example, the pilot episodes. In them, Captain Pike (Captain Kirk was actually not the original captain of the starship Enterprise) is kept caged on a planet where he is forced to help play out in the fantasies of a beautiful woman. Even though his life in this place is pleasant, he struggles to escape. Toward the end of the episode, the aliens who have imprisoned Captain Pike gain access to mankind’s history. They are astounded to find out that humans have always abhorred forced imprisonment and slavery no matter how pleasant the circumstances. I don’t know if that’s so true anymore. As time moves on and technology advances, it seems to me that we are moving closer and closer to a societal prison of our own making and our own enslavement.
The operative word in the above story and the concept we must worry about is force. No one likes to be forced to do anything, or so one would think. This country was founded on principles that force should not be used against an individual so long as he is not harming or stealing from another. The founders of this country left us with a legacy called the bill of rights, the first ten amendments of the constitution which guarantee recognition of certain rights to each individual and act as a blueprint as to how the government can act toward those individuals. Without these rights we quickly become slaves, or at least we suffer from a form of slavery. As we lose our rights we are effectively being told what we can and can’t do, what we can and can’t think. As each of these rights is dissolved we migrate closer to imprisoning ourselves in our own country. Big brother is creeping more and more into our lives, monitoring our every movement, yet we say nothing for fear we will lose the comforts we have achieved. We let the police state take over in hope for a bit of security and begin to feel a creeping disquiet as more and more dissenters are charged with crimes and thrown into jail cells. Still, the majority remain quiet. Still, we seem to accept our slavery so long as it comes with a warm place to stay, a hot meal, and a glowing TV.
Where is this heading? How can this be turned around? Many of our fellow citizens will answer that we need this law passed or that regulation enforced. Some will blame immigration and others will blame corporations. Some will say we need more Democrats in power, or a Democrat for president, others will say it is the Republicans who will act as our saviors. What many people seem to fail to realize is that government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem. It’s the government that’s creating the trap we’re in. More of the same will only create more of the same. It’s time for us to try less government. It’s time for us to say no to more laws and regulations. It’s time to give more individual freedom a chance to succeed. If this is to happen, then people need to get involved.
Government is like a cancer. If it goes untreated and remains unchecked, it will grow its tentacles into all our systems. If you ignore it, it will consume you. In order to cure it, the patient most become involved in the cure at some level. He most at least acknowledge its existence. The people of this country need to stop being so apathetic. They need to activate themselves and become involved, even it it’s only a little bit. Talk to people. Let your feelings be known. Stop listening to and trusting propaganda and start researching a little bit on your own. What you find out may astound and amaze you. A little activism from a lot of people can go a long way. If the government realizes that the masses do care, and that they’re willing to do something about it, then it will start to shrink, it will start to relinquish its power, and it will return to the fundamentals set up for us by the founding fathers. If we continue to do nothing, to ignore the cancer and to maintain the status quo, I shudder to think of what may be in store for us.

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