Die-hards who favor capitalism and it’s ugly step-sister, democracy, often give crazy examples of how free people are:
If I’m poor, I can choose to miss a few meals and buy a guitar if I want. That’s freedom.
Such statements say more about how completely snookered the speaker is than anything about freedom. It’s 50 shades of delusion. People who say such things feel free, but that feeling and the real thing are distinctly different. This example doesn’t illustrate freedom at all. It represents a restricted, two-choice dilemma. Wondering how free you are? See how many restricted, two-choice dilemmas you face each day.
A restricted, two-choice dilemma is a predicament where only two options exist, both undesirable. In this example eating and buying a guitar are mutually exclusive. Good guitars cost a lot in America, unless you get lucky at a garage sale or on Craigslist. “Missing a few meals” to afford a guitar actually means “going hungry”. I would not enjoy going hungry to buy a guitar, no matter how much I enjoy playing. Restricted, two-choice dilemmas always end up in compromise. Compromise means making concessions. Making concessions is not freedom.
Isn’t it absurd to think a free person must choose between getting a guitar and eating? Real freedom eliminates nearly all restricted, two-choice dilemmas. With real freedom you can have a guitar. Eating has nothing to do with it.
Do you disagree? What restricted, two-choice dilemmas do you face? What would it feel like to be able to make either choice independent of the other? I’d love to hear your example.