The erosions of our freedom begin in the workplace and in school.
If a group of pointy-headed individual with leather patches on their elbows walked the streets of the United States telling the citizens how to talk, how to dress and how to act there would be instant rebellion. If they took to the airwaves and began instructing citizens of a new way of interacting with one another, people would probably either turn the channel or start an uprising against these broadcasts. In these venues, there is too much decision making and too much freedom for the leather patch theoretician types.
Broad based authoritarianism has thus far been unsuccessful in America. In order to make sweeping change in America, a movement has to localize first. To localize a movement must seek out local authority figures and encourage fear from their base. Local bosses and teachers are excellent vehicles for they can provide the threat of disciplinary action, termination and/or lower grades.
With so many local bosses and teachers in our society, how would one achieve conformity? You start with the top. This is usually a tricky endeavor, for those at the top are usually have large egos. They either built the company from nothing, or they have been instrumental in its current incarnation. A theoretical know it all is probably not going to be greeted with open arms in this meeting, so they must have a solid, follow up threat of lawsuits or bad publicity for a lack of conformity. If these methods fail, the theoretical social groups may seek out individual employees (preferably an ex-employee) to initiate lawsuits to cut away at the foundation of the company.
If those seeking transformational change are successful at intimidating the corporate boards or the CEO, they will achieve trickle down successes. Emails and memos are sent out, until employee conversations are soon affected. Soon, any acts of non-conformity, among the employees are seen as stupid. “He knew the rules,” say the employees, “he should not have said that.” The fear of disciplinary action or termination begins, until the non-conformist is prefacing his complaints with qualifiers. The non-conformist eventually falls in line to a point where he is either silent on the issue or conformed.
I asked a friend if he ever finds himself tempering his conversation outside of work according to the principles and guidelines of the workplace. He hesitated and smiled. We do. We all do. There’s no doubt that the constant preaching that occurs in our schools and in the workplace affects our life in such a way that we are tempering our lives according to these guidelines. We don’t want to hurt anyone else’s feelings. We’re good people, and if this is how we get along with one another, then so be it. The question is: are we losing our identity in the process?
A radio host that I listen to provided a provocative thought. He stated that he believed that giving Ritalin to a young male robs that boy of his masculinity. Ritalin calms a child and usually prevents them from acting up. It allows a teacher to better control a classroom, and it supposedly calms a child to a degree that they can concentrate, but is it robbing the child of that which he will eventually need to compete in the male world?
The questions become: Are we willingly giving our freedoms away in our pursuit to be open-minded, compassionate, intelligent, understanding, and to get along with the people who surround us in our community? Or, are our freedoms being taken away from us in wonderful packaging?