Our Cry For Liberty
I ask you: Are you free?
I say we are slaves. All of us.
I ask you: Are you different from the many who secretly feel like slaves -- slaves to their jobs from which they
cannot escape, slaves to a government that no longer serves them but to which they have become hopelessly
indentured, slaves to a life that is beyond their control?
"Are you free?" I asked a woman pounding at her computer. She was one of hundreds who occupied small
cubicles that covered five floors, each floor larger than a gymnasium, acres of humans each at a small desk. She
didn't look up when I spoke to her.
"I haven't got time to talk to you," she said, still fixed on her screen. 'This computer records everything I do. If I
stop it, tells on me. If I slow down it squeals on me. If I go to the bathroom, it makes a record of it. If I don't make
my quota for the day, my name goes into the red zone. If it stays there a couple of days, someone else will be
sitting here instead of me. I got kids. Am I free? Go away," she said. Then, as I left, she hollered after me.
"Everybody in this country is free but me."
"Are you free?" I recently asked a secretary working for the local telephone company.
"I hate my job," she said. "Since the big downsizing, I'm doing the work of seven. Whatever anyone asks me to
do I have to do, and I have to do it now, even if I am days behind in my regular work. Sometimes I'm so tired I
want to fold up on the floor and cry."
"Why don't you quit?" I asked. "This is a free country."
"I can't quit," she said. "I only have seven years to retirement. And they can even fire you before your pension
vests. Last week they laid off Melinda, who had worked for the company two years longer than me, and yesterday
they hired a young girl right out of junior college to take her place." Then she said, as if she had said something
wrong, "But this is the best country in the world."
"Are you free?" I asked a worker at the cement plant. He shook the cement dust off his coveralls and pushed up
his goggles. "Yeah," he said, "I'm free. But we haven't had a pay increase in four years. Working longer for less.
Hard times in good times," he said.
"Why don't you quit?"
"Can't," he said. "We got our home here. Couldn't get our money out of it. Used to be a good town, but now it's
gone to hell. Kids are in school. They don't want to leave. Wife's got a job. We probably couldn't find better jobs
anywhere else. Besides, this is all I know." Then he pulled his goggles down and picked up his shovel.
"Are you free?" I asked the manager of the hotel.
He looked surprised. "What do you mean?" he asked. Then he said, "I like my work. Only thing is, I get
moved around a lot: Last year they sold the company again, and I was sold along with it. Been in three cities in the
last four years."
"Must be hard on you," I said.
"You get used to it," he said. "A person shouldn't complain. But it's hard on my wife. And the kids are always
being yanked up by their roots."
"Why don't you refuse to move? You're free, aren't you?"
"I'm just another piece of furniture. I get sold with the hotel, the beds, the linens." He shook his head. "But I
like my work."
"Are you free?" I asked a government social worker. She wanted to make things better for the poor, and she
wanted security for herself.
"I'm as free as you," she said. She was spunky. "But we have to follow the regulations. Sometimes I feel like a
robot. No room for spontaneity. And they're always cutting budgets. And besides that, we have a new director
about every other year, and they are only interested in politics. Politics. Politics. It's disgusting. But one thing: I
"So does the polar bear in the zoo."
"Don't be funny," she said. Then she looked at me strangely for longer than was comfortable. Suddenly she
said, "I feel like the polar bear."
"Are you free?" I asked a college student who was taking a course in business.
"Sure," he said. "I take whatever classes I want. I'm free to choose my own career. "
"Why are you taking business?" I asked.
"Business is the thing nowadays. Good market for business majors in the corporate sector."
"Does that mean you are preparing a product that you can sell on the open market?"
"Yes. You are the product. Do you think you will enjoy working for a corporation?"
"I think so," he said. "They have a lot of benefits, and I'd like to run a big corporation someday." He cocked his
head from side to side. "I want to be a big shot." Then he put his hands in his pockets and strode away in long
"Are you free?" I finally asked the CEO of a large food store chain. He was on the board of directors of three
other major corporations.
"Since you mentioned it, freedom at the top is bullshit," he said. 'The people who work here think I can do
whatever I please. But I have stockbrokers to please. I have Wall Street to please. I have the fuckin' media to
please. If they get on your case they can drive your stock to hell, and you go with it.
"If I fire an incompetent worker, the government is on my ass for discrimination. If I fire some old bastards
who have lost all incentive to do an honest day's work, I'm charged with age discrimination. You can't close the
door in your office while your secretary's in there for fear you'll end up being hit with a sexual harassment suit. I
have an open door policy: open door whenever there's a female around." He laughed. "Yes, I'm a slave -- the
biggest fuckin' slave in the company."
I say we are slaves. All of us. And in bewildering ways, our bondage is more pernicious than the slavery of old, for
the New American Slave embraces the myth of his freedom as he would a dead puppy and, with all affection,
speaks to it as if it were alive.
Our nation was built on slavery, a house torn down by the great Civil War. But this new house, a house of
mirrors, of secret rooms, of hidden passages -- indeed, a vastly more subtle and deluding structure -- has been built
on the same malignant foundation. And today we live in this house, and we are all still slaves. Hear Goethe's
warning. "No one is as hopelessly enslaved as the person who thinks he is free."
And if we are the New American Slaves, who is our master? The New Master is an entanglement of
megacorporations on the one hand and an omnipowerful national government on the other, each stuck to the other
like a pair of copulating dogs, each unable to move without dragging the other behind it, each dependent upon the
other, hating the other, but welded to the other in a dissolute enterprise.
The New Master, a political and economic hybrid that was not invented to serve a free people, is driven by a
gluttony unparalleled in human history. The power it produces is incalculable. Utterly fabricated to generate profit,
it feeds off the people, digests the people, and excretes the people in a game of world domination in which profit is
virtue and money is god. The New Master is mad.
Like any unabashed heretic, I have an agenda. As I see it, we are in this together. I wish us all to be freed. But
before we can free each other, we must first free ourselves. And how?
In this book I offer recipes for our personal freedom that will invest each of us with the power to break out of
the zoo. We shall discover how the mind constructs the cage but also opens the gate. We shall discover how,
experiencing our new liberty, we can never be defeated. And we shall discover how to create a new paradigm for
success, so that success is based not on the accumulation of great wealth, but on the acquisition of great
But to free ourselves is not enough. I propose radical reform to reclaim America: We must take back the
airways, the voice of the people, and create a new constitution for the twenty-first century. I propose a
revolutionary method to finance elections. And, to save ourselves from the lies, the cheating, the unholy sellouts of
self-seeking candidates, I propose the eventual abolishment of elections altogether. To replace them, I outline a
means by which we can draft our representatives by lot, and by which we can create a Senate composed of the
nation's finest minds and most evolved citizens, a pristine government to lead us at last to the promised land.
I shall show how, in the New Free America, we can convert our corporate master to our willing slave. At the
same time we shall discover how to retrain our lawyers to serve the people and how to select our judges so that
they are no longer beholden to those who have elevated them.
In the latter pages of the book, we shall revisit the looming threat of a new, fascism, the eerie shadow of which
already darkens this great land. Yet, aware of that danger, and having been empowered to free ourselves the cry of
Martin Luther King, Jr., can still become our cry: "Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
What I have to say will surely anger many. Indeed, within these pages one should find something to anger
everyone, else I shall have failed. But my intent has not been to anger. My intent is to tell the truth as I know it,
realizing that what is true for me may be blasphemy for others.
This book, then, is a manual for freeing the self, and an invitation to join with one another in creating a new free
nation for the twentyfirst century. It is a cry exhaled out of love for the walking dead. It is a battle plan for a nation
anesthetized under promises long ago proven fraudulent, a call to Americans to awaken and rise, up from under the
decaying shrouds of myth and to one day inhale the bright, brisk air of liberty.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming