We call it ‘freedom’ when we talk about it, but never specify what we mean by that. We all seem to take for granted we know to what the speaker refers, but, when the speaker is a politician talking about freedom while trying to rope us into a scheme that involves infringing on somebody’s rights, it becomes obvious we do not.
When our nation’s founders talked about “all men were created equal,” they were referring to our rights, and presenting as fact that we all—not ‘deserve’—not ‘can earn’—but that we do possess the same rights as everybody else. We need to exercise those rights the same as any body function, or we will get lazy and they will go bad. That predators prey upon the weak includes political predators, too, who look for the weak-willed to not heed warnings against them. To those compliant persons they issue undeliverable promises—abstractions, like Heaven, freedom, happiness, bliss, such as we all must find on our own, from within our own natures—if we will just give up the right to…
It never, of course, gets proposed so directly. That would spoil the predator’s game. His target would catch on to anything too obvious and not go along with the prank. Like a cat torments a mouse before she kills it, he must inspire misery, fear, anger against circumstances for which the predator has contrived to lay blame elsewhere.
In a nod to the natural flow of events, once the mouse has been killed and consumed, its body becomes part of the cat. Its self-identity lost to the process, it no longer exists as a mouse. This appears to occur with all prey/predator events, including the political. The prey becomes the predator and, having lost its own identity, acts in complete sync with the predator’s will.
Rather than scoff with your deterministic insistence that self, identity, and will do not really exist, recognize how the metaphor stays strong and accurate if recognized as such. Accept that and be done with it.
Those rats who fall into the politician’s trap also lose their autonomy to the politician and fall into step with his or her agenda. They no longer “think differently” nor express original thoughts of their own. Like other predators, preying politicians do not care what targeted prey might think. They attack people, not ideas, and that habit makes them identifiable. Perk up your ears and focus your eyes when you notice a political figure naming names and pointing fingers. Ask yourself, “Is (s)he on the attack or acting in defense?” Predators populate both sides of the aisle, so don’t take on a load of guilt when you discover guilty people in your own party. Just always be certain to know from where your own thoughts originated, and that they truly are your own.