"The most common characteristic of all police states is intimidation by surveillance. Citizens know they are being watched and overheard. Their mail is being examined. Their homes can be invaded." ~ Vance Packard
Column by tzo.
Exclusive to STR
The subjects were not happy. The royalty of the land were taking ten percent of all the voluntary exchanges made by the subjects, and then to add insult to injury, the subjects were not even allowed to complain about this injustice for fear of being kidnapped and thrown into a dank prison or perhaps even killed. This overt tyranny was quickly becoming intolerable, and something would have to be done about it soon.
And sure enough, a group of subjects in a colony far removed from the main body of royal forces decided enough was enough, and they revolted. They fought fire with fire and defeated their oppressors through force of arms and banished them from the land. They then set out to reform the tyrannical structure of control under which they had recently been yoked.
They appointed a new type of royalty to operate under a new set of rules. One of the first and foremost caveats was that the subjects would forever be free to speak their mind without fear of reprisal. The new royals would have to get used to allowing the criticisms of their subjects to ring in their ears without resorting to violent retaliation.
Very pleased indeed with this positive result, one could commonly overhear fine sentiments on the street such as "Though I disapprove of what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
And so the tyrannical monster had finally been tamed in this new land by a simple yet clever trick, the incantation being committed to ink on parchment for perpetuity. If the royalty wished to enact legislation that the subjects found to be not to their liking, there would be a great wailing and gnashing of teeth that the dismayed royals would be powerless to prevent. The field had finally been leveled.
This, then, was the key to freedom for the newly empowered subjects: They were free to speak their minds on whatever they wished, whenever and wherever they wished. The royals had been dropped down a notch, such that the betters had to bear the criticisms of the inferiors, right to their very faces if necessary, and could not cudgel them as they might a disobedient cur.
And so they all lived happily ever after in this fine new society. The royals took fifty percent of all the voluntary exchanges made by the subjects, but the subjects were perfectly free to complain about it.
Perfectly free. What more could one want?
The royals said, “Let there be freedom,” and there was freedom.
And they saw that it was good.
Coming next, Chapter 2: Exodus
Coming soon, Chapter Last: Revelation