"It is incredible how as soon as a people become subject, it
promptly falls into such complete forgetfulness of its freedom
that it can hardly be roused to the point of regaining it,
obeying so easily and willingly that one is led to say that this
people has not so much lost its liberty as won its enslavement."
by:
Estienne de la Boétie
(1530-1563) French judge, writer, political philosopher
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Reader comments about this quote:
So very sad but true. ". . . all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." (Declaration of Independence)
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    I sometimes wonder if the truly apathetic prefer slavery to liberty. Liberty, after all, requires more work on the part of the individual.
     -- Justin, Elkland     
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    I like M. La Boétie's use of the pronoun it for those willing slaves, though I'm not sure if he intentionally implies de-humanization or if the use of neutral pronouns to denote groups of mixed gender was a common convention of the time. Does anyone know which may be the case?
     -- Justin, Elkland     
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    I think & know La Boetie is right when he said "Just say no!" We are Free because of Rights given by GOD at birth,that no man can give or take away, except by FORCE! Which is what GOV. is. A SLAVE is a SLAVE regardless of use of pronoun. Thanks
     -- john, belpre     
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    The only reasons or excuses for our"enslavement" are apathy and a lack of education. Many people don't even know what their rights are, only that they are free to do what they will. The People need to wake up and educate themselves, become active in preserving their rights or we will be like the insects caught in a venus fly trap; unsuspecting until it is too late.
     -- Carol, Georgia     
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    That's 'tolerance' for you. ;-) Obviously history will continue to repeat itself. I wonder what it would have been like to be an American right after the Revolution... maybe I'll have a chance in this lifetime!
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Archer (-: hmmm, maybe ;-)
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    When people first feel the effects of slavery it's kind of like a blanket of comfort that, while the effects last, such as when the money keeps rollin in, the good ole government is the sugar daddy that keeps filling the money jar. However, when the tap begins to run dry through government waste, pork policies, bribery, graft and every other vile crime under the sun, the people have to give up more to make the crime machine keep running. Sorry to say, we're all on a machine that's eventually, if not already, falling apart and so now all are convinced we'll all have to fight it out between each other, or any of a dozen different ways it could go down, In any case the safety blanket is gone and even your own home has become a true life hose of horror because people are hungry, At least some people will have a chance.
     -- Anon     
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     -- Abigail, Newport      
    Anon, the system/machine of oppression sucking the lifeblood of the people is not broken -- it is working! I think we have to stop speaking of our bloated government as 'not working' or 'falling apart' -- quite the contrary, it is churning along as planned by those that have hijacked it. The idea that government is 'failing' does not address the INTENTIONAL breakdown of the economy -- the system is designed to do just that and every 20 years or so the bubble bursts and another chunk of property and labors gets confiscated and the people's debt continues to grow. Obama, GWB, Clinton, GHWB -- all of their apparent failures are actually glowing successes -- the new world order hasn't screwed up in a long time and their machine has been humming along without interruption. It is time to stop thinking that the government is screwing up -- they are doing EXACTLY what is wanted of them by those that really 'own' this country. If we truly want to break free of these chains, then we will have to admit that the Emperor Has No Clothes! And wrestle this dragon to the ground -- and it ain't going to happen by a 'vote' for the other dragon... The People are waking up, that is absolutely certain, but the enemy is indeed 'the system' not the puppets that are used to distract us. I think the single most effective tool We The People have is to insist upon our local and state businesses to accept gold and silver as currency again -- if an entire state can transform its trading medium to hard currency, it can avoid the crash of the federal reserve note known as the 'dollar' which is in fact an interest-bearing promissory note. This single act of defiance of the iniquitous money system, and in support of the Constitution I might add, will bring out the brown shirts and all the armed federal gangs and demonstrate to the People that we are intentionally kept with a needle in our arm and a yoke upon our neck. Americans will not be saved by the 'system breaking down' -- the system is NOT breaking down, it is breaking US down. Stop using Monopoly money and their 'game' will be truly compromised. There are not enough 'good' politicians to save us -- we have to act en masse and trade independently from the fiat money system which if left in tact will continue to steal 95% of a person's labors and property throughout their lifetime. It is amazing what we are able to do with that little 5% -- imagine if we had the rest -- instead of them...
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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