Freedom's Paradox: Unmasking Autocracy

Freedom, the fresh air of hope that helps us go through life chained. We vote for freedom and desire for it, our yearning for money is in fact our yearning for freedom, where blue skies and endless beaches help us live life without constraint or worry. Freedom is no person or system dictating to us what we have to do, it is the ultimate human salvation to attain.

It is what we want for us and the people around us, the premise of politics is to ensure freedom for one and for all. Though in practice our experience of freedom (and the closest form of political organization associated – democracy) is enclosed in the system of organization of firms and corporations, where the dominant system is not democratic but quite the opposite: Autocratic. At work places, the system of rules are defined by a singular person (The Boss) or a group of people (The Board), who set aside for themselves the greatest part of the profit pie while treating everyone else as expendable. There is the promise of free speech and “innovation” but everyone knows that there's an invisible line that shouldn't be breached, that freedom of speech comes with its own caveats.

In such a system, how do individuals who rely on jobs, dedicating a significant portion of their waking lives to serving businesses, corporations, or institutions, foster democratic ideals? There seems to be a misguided notion that, since we live in a democracy, all our actions should be democratic. Yet, a considerable portion of our lives is spent confined to cubicles, following the directives of bosses and the whims of market forces. This is where the entire political theater of democracy unravels: our political systems enable the capitalist structure of regulated dictatorships, all the while attempting to whitewash us with the illusion of free choice.

The lines between formal and informal politics are often unrecognizable. If all acts are political (even the altruistic and mindless ones), then there is no barrier between what is expressed as formal and informal politics. Thus, what we see being represented is merely a sliver of the underbelly that props it up. While we celebrate democratic ideals and brainwash ourselves into believing that they are the end goal of political organization, the subliminal cues always point to something more sinister. Our brains, wired with a preference for super-tribalism, tend to seek a charismatic leader who will fulfill our political hopes. This trend is being revived from the US to India. Although freedoms exist on paper and on the ground, when questioned, we realize that they often come at the cost of ignorance. We are discouraged from asking too many questions both at our workplaces and our societies, and this dichotomy plays on the worldwide scale in the shape of fractious politics.

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