I have basically come to the conclusion that life in America is a prison with bars. In fact, I would argue that prisoners might actually enjoy more freedom than you and I because they have guaranteed food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare. We may have certain freedoms but even exercising them comes at a cost. We are tightly constrained by an invisible fence that is every bit as able to shock and punish as the actual thing. We are prisoners to our own economic system, capitalism. The working class are the inmates of the system and the wealthy are the guards and senior staff.
We are forced to work for a living in order to afford our basic needs and the laws reinforce this. The legal system, both tort and criminal, is designed to make upward mobility difficult, if not outrightly impossible. If we lose our jobs, we lose our homes and our cars; thereby we are inmates to our corporate masters. Our corporate masters have even figured out how to profit off of poverty, a seemingly contradiction in terms. There are payday and auto title lenders which are essentially loan sharks. If you’re poor you pay higher interest rates and pay more in insurance premiums. If you’re poor you’re more likely to pay more for groceries because you will be unable to easily shop around.
The poor are two to three times as likely to get stopped by police for minor traffic infractions. I had a friend who drive an old camaro who was constantly pulled over and harassed and harangued by the police because they said he was, “Acting suspiciously.” In other words, if you’re poor you’re likely to be seen as nuissance and a burden on society. I once drove an old Buick because I couldn’t afford anything else. It was in rough shape mechanically and physically. I found myself being followed by police several times. If this is freedom, I really do not want it. You can keep it.
Freedom of speech is also largely a fallacy as you can say what you want but there will be consequences if you make statements criticizing those in power. There are supposed to be protections against retailiation but we all know these protections are not worth the parchment that they’re written on. The anti-retalliation laws have absolutely no bit; they’re all bark and no teeth. Criticize the wrong person or say the wrong thing, and you may find yourself in a situation where you’re blackballed. If you even want to partake in the parks and recreation that your tax dollars have paid for, you had better not linger too long or you could be busted for loitering. Even homelessness is a crime! You can be arrested simply for closing your eyes and trying to rest.