Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The un-seen, un-wanted, work of Freedom, or, "what we can learn from the Israelites".

I grew up on vivid Bible stories etched brightly on my child's mind. Daniel hanging with the Lion in the Lion's Den; Jonah running from God's orders then ending up in a whale belly; horses, chariots and Egyptians drowned in a Moses parted Red Sea.

One story that makes me think of why “anarchy” is difficult, is one where the Israelites demanded a human king from God.

If you're sitting comfortably, then I'll begin.

Once upon a time, the Israelites were winning all their battles with other tribes. Their winning streak was coached by God. He never appeared as an old white bearded guy in a toga with jandals. He was usually a booming voice or a cloud by day, pillar of fire by night. Very versatile.

One day the Israelites noticed that all the tribes they were fighting, were led into battle by a King. A human King.

They said to God “How come they get led into battle by a King who is a person. That looks pretty cool. Their King hangs out with them. We want a King of our very own”.

“But you've got me”, said God, possibly feeling a bit hurt feelings “And might I remind you, we've actually won every battle, so it's actually working for you, you know”.

“But you don't really hang out with us and we can't really see you”, complained the Israelites.

“Look” said God “Believe you me, you honestly don't want a human King, I know what they're like. They charm you and everything, but then they get all power drunk and they will oppress and exploit you. They will make you suffer. You really don't want one, they are trouble”.

“But look how cool they are, and EVERYONE'S got one. We feel real left out, they hassle us that they have a cool styley King with mean threads, and we just have a giant puffy cloud or a burning fiery pillar that hangs around. Don't be such a party pooper God, please please please can we please have a human King?”

“Alright then...” relented God, cos he's often a good sort when he's not smiting people down “You will regret it though, and then you will come running to me, whine whine, complain complain, and I will have to say I told you so...”

“Yippee yippee, hurrah hurrah” rejoiced the Israelites, “I want to be King” “No I want to be King”.

And as they say, the rest is history.

What this has to do with us in this present day and age is this: Governing ourselves, ruling ourselves, self-determining ourselves is hard work. Anarchy is hard work. Freedom, “true” freedom is very hard work. Possibly put in the too hard basket for most people.

Maybe we would rather falsely believe that a Government really has our best interests at heart because we can't be bothered learning about water allocation, foreign policy and trade, building regulations, various health care systems for the elderly, disabled, mental health and surgery lists.

Listening to the radio the other day and hearing about the floated possiblity of schools being privatised. Where private businesses would be responsible for the premises and government/education board over content and curriculum. I hear a beer catch phrase coming on..
A spokesperson for school boards (which help govern schools) said that schools being privatised would mean less pressure and work for boards (which are often if not always voluntary and comprised of the parents of students).

It is hard work being by the people for the people. Many of us who work long hours for not a whole lot of money sometimes would choose “by someone else, for the people”.

To echo Spiderman's uncle, “With great power comes great responsiblity”. And then take power along with freedom, and Spiderman's uncle could have said “With freedom comes responsiblity”, and those responsibilities are pretty big. “Anarchy” and “activism” and “activists” need to remember the responsibilities of freedoms, and look at creating and constructing (amongst all our critiques and deconstructions) ways of sustainable workings that take into account holistical living in an interconnected world.

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