Our slavery is ingenious because it’s so very subtle. Most people not only don’t see (much less feel) their shackles – they get angry when someone calls attention to them. Most people, in other words, still imagine themselves to be free. This despite the obvious fact that they must first beg – and obtain – permission before they may exercise any of their former natural rights. …
The system leaves free men but one alternative – to act as free men and damn the state to hell. This of course, is no easy thing. In fact, it is a very hard – a very dangerous thing. As it was for the lone hero who stood in front of that tank in Tiananmen Square back in 1989. As it was for the White Rose (just kids, really) resistance in Nazi Germany. They painted slogans like “Freedom!” on the walls – and paid for it with their lives.
Free men do not beg permission. They insist that their rights be respected. Come what may.
But before anyone can insist that his rights be respected, he must understand that his rights exist because he exists. Not because his rights were written on a document. Not because the state acknowledges them formally. Rights just are. And once he has such understanding, he will resent like hell ever having to ask permission to exercise them.