Dreams of the Ordinary Citizen

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November 14, 2006

At a certain point in our lives, usually in our late teens, we dream of what our future will hold. We look forward to a life filled of adventure, eschewing the commonplace and banal. We want to be able to express the creativity in us through our work, and be rewarded for what we do. We want to live a life of abundance, and share that with our families, and enjoy the best that life has to offer. We desire responsibility for our own lives and want to make the choices that will suit us, living in dignity as an adult and bearing the consequences. We want the time to savour life, learn new things, see the world and spend with those that we love.

In short, we dream of happiness and fulfillment.

In material terms, our dreams may differ. One person may desire a Ferrari and a mansion, another is content with a Ford and a home in a small town. However, there is one thing in common ' the dreams are our own and no one else's.

Then we grow up and our dreams slowly die. We mourn their death, and slowly come to terms with our loss. As Thoreau wrote, 'The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation' ' that is the aftermath of our dreams. The system was not quite what we expected ' merit and hard work are not rewarded.

We end up working as a corporate drone, working long hours, barely making ends meet, and our family grows up while we are wasting time at work. We spend an hour a day in traffic to and from work, inching forward to get to our slavery. We never see the sky or feel the breeze on our faces at work ' you don't get a whole lot of that under the fluorescent lights in a little cubicle.

When you look at your payslip, there isn't that much left for anything. This is hardly the Ferrari in the mansion's garage you dreamed of. Income tax takes a lot, but does that help you in any way? You are told it does, but you see no evidence of it. But it seems to help a whole lot of other people.

At work, you are treated like a school child ' slaves are not expected to show any creativity--just do what you are told. It is a power game, and a few people do OK out of the game, but not as well as they think. They are the ones driving the better cars in the rat race on the freeway, but they are still rats. They are not living their dreams either, but they have compromised and let them go and even lost their principles. They still think they are getting somewhere, but are like the hamster on a treadmill ' going nowhere fast.

Your creativity is still there somewhere, but since it is unexpressed, it is slowly dying.

Every day there is a new regulation 'for our own good.' The government must expect us to do silly things to hurt ourselves. When someone else does that, there is a way of getting money for being so stupid ' they just file a lawsuit against you. Since you are obviously an oppressor of a 'victim,' you must pay.

To do something ordinary ' get approval for a home extension, give a child a property, buy a share or open a savings account--seems to involve quite a lot of your time being wasted, waiting in government lines, filling out forms and talking to bureaucrats (both government and corporate). And there you were, thinking that you would be calling some shots in your own life some day. Instead, you end up dying a death by a thousand paper cuts.

The government 'educates' our children, either directly in a state school, or indirectly by setting the curriculum. The word 'educate' is used loosely. Previously, that meant to help impart literacy, numeracy and critical thinking to live an independent, dignified life. Now it is an effort to impart just enough to make another compliant drone and a good consumer. Your children are not allowed to have their own dreams ' they are already told what to believe, and what their limitations should be. And of course, they are not expected to be successful. That might make other people feel bad, so we'll give everyone an A+ on their report card. Bring them all down to the same size and make true achievement unimportant. 'We're all the same, and all winners, right?'

Your dreams start dying when you learn 'don't step out of line' and the rules that go along with that: Be afraid of your boss, who might cut off your income. Obey all laws (even if immoral or unreasonable), pay your taxes, do what you are told, don't choose your own life, die for your country (even if it is a cause you don't believe in). Watch TV when not slaving at work. Be a good consumer. Have no ideas or life of your own. Create nothing. Don't have a private life, expect every aspect of your life to be monitored, processed and made public (when it suits "them").

The big question to ask is, 'Are you living your dreams?' If not, what in the 'system' is stopping you? Is it the absurdity of the tax system? Is it the constant bureaucracy? In fact, it is anything that keeps you as a slave, unable to benefit from your own labour and kept back by others in power.

You won't start living them by 'hacking at the branches.' Incremental change around the edges, like changing your job or address, will not bring your dreams back to life. Simple, unfocussed rebellion will not result in change. Changing your vote to get someone else into office will not change the system.

If any of these things worked, they would have worked by now. Only by 'striking at the root' causes will you be free to live your own dream. The root of this problem is a system that regards you as a pawn to be used for the ends of the power-hungry. It is time to walk down the road less traveled and take back your life.

It is firstly a change of mindset where you no longer see yourself as a part of a government, country or corporation. You firstly regard yourself as a sovereign individual, responsible for your own destiny, having first claim on your own production, able to think for yourself without a bureaucrat or boss telling you what to do.

See the government for what it is ' a system to bring the best of us down to the level of the worst of us, a way of exercising power over the governed by the elite. Understand that paying taxes does not benefit you ' you are not 'society' ' you are an independent person.

There are specific steps you can follow from there to bring your dreams back to life, but the decision to be your own person comes first. I wish you well as you start to relive those abandoned dreams again.

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John Locke (a pseudonym) is an Australian IT consultant, free market enthusiast and investor.