What would you have? The government has freed us from the dependence of serfdom--and many thanks to it! but the habits of slavery are too deeply ingrained in us; we cannot easily be rid of them. We want a master in everything and everywhere; as a rule this master is a living person, sometimes it is some so-called tendency which gains authority over us.... At present, for instance, we are all the bondslaves of natural science.... Why, owing to what causes, we take this bondage upon us, that is a matter difficult to see into; but such seemingly is our nature. But the great thing is, that we should have a master.
Ivan Turgenev – Smoke (1867)
Turgenev made the point almost a century and a half ago but it still stands today. Many people appear to be uninterested in political independence as long as they are free to consume. It has become painfully obvious that the global drift towards total government is no accident, no quirk of political circumstance.
Neither does it feel like a planned assault on our political freedoms because we are freely giving those away. Here in the UK we are handing them over to the EU and a complex web of global agencies most voters seem barely aware of. In the US, voters seem likely to be faced with a choice between Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump for their next president. Neither seems likely to halt the slow American slide towards total government.
By 2020 UK voters may be faced with a grisly choice between Conservatives led by David Cameron and Labour led by Jeremy Corbyn. Of course it is possible that neither man will weather the events between now and then, but is any other choice likely to be more appealing?
What would you have?
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