Those of us who look back on the Good Old Days are often accused of seeing it through rose tinted spectacles.

But are we?

One vital aspect of life which has changed drastically is freedom.

Half a century ago freedom was the norm.  The only people who worried about the law were criminals.  If you were an ordinary citizen, the law left you alone to life your life as you wished.  You were considered to be intelligent enough to live your life without any outside interference.

Half a century on, the scene has changed radically.  Everyone now is a potential criminal, as the law impinges on virtually every aspect of our lives.  We are governed by rules and regulations to the extent that it is difficult to leave one’s home without breaking some petty edict.

Walk down virtually any urban street and count the signs.  There will be signs telling you where you can park and for how long.  There will be dozens of No Smoking signs of course.  You will be told where and when you can cross a road.  Any building site, no matter how small or innocuous will be plastered with signs telling you what you can or cannot wear.  And to make sure you obey all these laws you will be under constant scrutiny by the ubiquitous CCTV cameras.

Even our private lives are under threat.

There are those whose fervent wish is to ban smoking in our private homes.  The EU is already dictating what light bulbs we can use.  We are told what breed of dogs we can have.  We are breaking the law if we don’t “register” our septic tanks or our property.  Soon we will be told what foods or drink we can buy.  Our Minister for Justice is even suggesting what we should pay for an engagement ring or what value car we should have.

This unrelenting march of control gets worse by the day.  It is supposed to be “for our own good” but in reality it’s all about control.

Times were hard back fifty years ago.  There weren’t the medical advances [but now that our gubmint “controls” the health system we were still probably better off].  Relatively speaking we were poorer.  Not every home had a car, telephone or television, but because we never had them, we didn’t miss them.  And that is the problem now.  The modern generation never had the freedoms we used to enjoy, so it doesn’t miss them. 

It has reached the point where I am glad I am the age I am.  I feel sorry for the modern kids as God knows how they will be regulated in another fifty years.

And I really don’t want to be around to see it.

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The passing of Freedom — 20 Comments

  1. You couldn’t have put it better my friend. I’m only thirty-eight but I dread the thoughts of what this country (heh!) will be like to live in even in twenty five years.

  2. And a quote from that first link you posted above:
    “Now that 100-, 75- and 60-watt bulbs have already been eliminated, as of Sept. 1 the smaller 25- and 40-watt bulbs will also slowly disappear from the lives of 500 million Europeans — without any of those citizens having ever been asked about the ban. Nowhere is the bureaucratic influence of European government agencies as powerful as in the delirium of energy efficiency.”

    How very true.

  3. I would love to transport a few kids back fifty years just to see their reactions!  Mind you – they would hate it as their mobile phones wouldn’t work!

  4. We are all just Serfs, though, not all of us recognise this fact. We are told what to do, where to go, what to eat, when to sleep, how to go to the bog, where to go to the bog and how often we’re allowed. We are told where to live, what to live in, what we can afford, what we cannot afford.Then how much it will cost and the myriad ways we can pay for it all.

    The only difference between now and Mediaeval times is there are modern and more efficent ways of controling us and extracting our money.
    Freedom is a rich mans commodity.

  5. Slab – Very depressing but true.  The problem is that because most people have lived with this creeping control, they don’t notice it.  Probably in fifty years time some old fart will be reminiscing on-line about how free we were back at the start of the twenty first century!

  6. You’ve captured it succinctly Grandad.

    I have been a big ambling loaf most of my life, happy in my simplicity with enough to eat, tobacco in my pocket and the prospect of a few pints as a treat from time to time. Now, ‘You can’t do this’, ‘You dare not try that’, and ‘Don’t even think about the other thing’ When they were all just sins, patrolled by the clergy, you were free to commit them. Now it’s a costly business to put a toe out of line and it gets worse every year. I am sick shit of it !

    We Irish have become so thick-shit, we almost deserve Enda.

  7. 50 years ago you would have been locked up for being Gay, divorce was not available, contraception was not available, single mothers couldn’t keep their own children, married women were required to stop working, good Healthcare was not easily available

    Fuck 50 years ago 

  8. John – This ain’t just Ireland.  I don’t know too much about the States, but the rest of Europe is just as bad.

    Desiegee – Granted.  Huge strides have been made, but those strides are not dependent on loss of freedom.  Just the opposite.  All those points you made were solved effectively by taking a more relaxed attitude.  As for good heathcare?  Are we any better off?  Health care, maybe, but health service?

    tt – So society progressed and then regressed.

  9. But why does Ireland take every regulation literally? Is it a Catholic guilt thing?

    The French seem to have a healthy disregard for anything that smacks of authoritarianism. 

  10. GD – we’re probably the same age – early 60’s. 
    As a child – and we were a large family – we had, firstly our parents’ love and care.  We had food on the table – mostly home cooked.  Clean clothes (a darned patch on the knee or elbow was considered a must) and the freedom to be ourselves. Brought up in the country we had square miles in which to develop our skills and imagination. Our parents went without if it meant we needed something.
    We had fire and brimstone politicians in Wales at that time who stood up for the working classes without the ‘luxury’ of the media control they have these days. Almost seems light relief when a prick like Romney – born with a golden spoon in all orifices, cocks up big time and struggles to justify the balls up ( yeah!!).  Makes you feel thankful that you weren’t brought up in the same grain.
    However – what became of the rank and file who were so ready to challenge authority and say ‘No’?  They were spayed by government in the late 70’s and 80’s. On this side of the water – it was down to Maggie Thatcher and her ilk.  She fucked us over big time.  But educating the ‘poor’ has contributed greatly to our readiness to conform – it’s given us the niceties of life which people don’t want to lose – so they no longer kick up against the traces.  We conform and are therefore made to conform.  Too many of our politicians have come from soft, cossetted backgrounds. Too many millionaires telling those on the breadline that they need to pull in their belts, whilst eating caviar and drinking champagne.
    Ballocks – should have been a preacher.

  11. It has come to our attention that your postdated September 19th, 2012, and titled “The Passing of Freedom” is in violation of the following ordinance:

    647(f) P.C.- PUBLIC DEFIANCE
    Any person or persons who knowingly extoll the virtues of freedom in any public place, via any means, whether written, electronic, a combination of the preceding or any further confabulation thereof; regardless of claims of mental or emotional duress, or being under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, controlled substance, or toluene; regardless of claims that extolling of the virtues of freedom was “a joke”, “a jape”, or “I was simply having you on, Officer!”.

    Having been found guilty (or will be found guilty; you will be tried in absentia and informed by post of the results, though our statistics show upward of 99% of cases are adjudged “GUILTY”) of being in violation of 647(f) P.C.  

    A pair of officers will be around to collect you directly. Please remain calm and in your place of residence. All will be explained to you then, including the maximum probable length of your incarceration. You next of kin family will also receive a list of probably detention facilities; you may not settle into your final “home” for several months… 

  12. Ian – So much for the rebellious Irish!  Enjoy France!  😉

    Cardi – Indeed Early Sixties covers it very nicely.  Like yourself I was brought up on home cooking [were the ingredients were invariably home grown].  Free time was just that – out the door in the morning and home again when we were hungry.  We often came home battered, bruised and bloody having been up to mischief somewhere and no comments were passed.  We learned the hard way that concrete is hard and that it’s quite a good idea to have brakes on a bicycle.  Any kid trying the same these dyas would not only be in severe trouble with the law but so also would the parents!

    Doc – You working for the EU these days?

  13. I agree with everything you say and I too am glad I won’t be around to see it, though who knows maybe there will be a reaction against all this control and pc nonsense, I remember only too well when I trusted Drs., police and LOL politicians, don’t trust anyone of them now. Just wonder what sort of world my little grandchildren will grow up in and my son, being an older dad allows them more freedom than most. I go write for hours about this but what’s the point, it won’t change anything.

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