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Sunday, December 29, 2013

THE EROSION OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOM

no_holds_barred
Ironic is it not that you lost your rights and freedom the day you decided to organise yourself as a community in the interest of protecting these same rights and freedom?
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
To understand how and when your rights and freedom began to get eroded we need to do a study of the history of humankind.
Of course, if you were to believe in the Bible, then you would probably also believe that humankind lost its rights and freedom even before we came down to earth; while still living in Paradise to be exact. God had imposed certain rules on Adam and Eve and when they violated these rules they were sentenced to a life on earth that results in eventual death.
So, when Adam and Eve came down to earth, they were already subjected to laws, God’s laws. Hence there was no real freedom or freewill from the very beginning. Humankind had to live by the will of God, which was full of rules and restrictions, from Day One.
Scientists, however, say that early humankind lived a nomadic life as hunters-gatherers and was not encumbered by rules and laws. Families lived off the land and moved on once that land could no longer sustain life.
They did not own property so there were no fights over land or territory (which is what most wars are about). No one was jealous of each other since no one owned anything; hence there was no conflict. You did not need any language because you did not need to communicate about anything whatsoever. And the less people talked (and talked too much) the less chance of quarrelling. There was no government so there was no tussle over power (another source of conflicts and civil wars).
Basically, it was a state of anarchy, a state where no governments and rules exist, and it was a very peaceful state not driven by lust or greed for power, position and wealth. (And anarchists still believe we should return to that state where peace can be achieved and governments/rules can be abolished).
Eventually, the family unit grew bigger and bigger and after many generations it was no longer possible to migrate to a new territory every time the land you lived on could no longer sustain life. There were just too many people to move and all other territories were already occupied anyway (so there was no unoccupied territory to occupy).
And that was when the nomadic life of a hunter-gatherer no long suited humankind. So people had to settle down wherever they happened to be living at and the life of a settler replaced the life of the nomadic hunter-gatherer.
Since people could no longer migrate in search of food but had to settle down, they had to learn how to cultivate the land and rear livestock to continue to feed themselves. It was no longer possible to forage for food. You had to practice agriculture and animal husbandry to replace the life of scavenging.
These settlements soon grew as the population increased and in time neighbouring settlements began merging with each other and many small settlements became one large settlement and developed into townships.
In the days of the nomadic hunter-gatherer, the head of the family was the patriarch so there was no confusion as to who was the boss. He made the rules and everyone followed these rules, which was almost non-existent anyway. But their needs were very basic (food and sex) so there was very little complication in managing this family unit. As long as you satisfied your lust for food and sex everyone was happy. And since no one owned anything (not even spouses) there was no need to quarrel.
But when humankind transformed into settlers and settlements grew there were now many family units living as one community. So things began to get complicated. And that meant they needed rules so that everyone respected the rights of others.
You now owned land, houses, wheat fields, vegetable plots, livestock and whatnot. And the women now belonged to you and not to the entire community and the children were yours and no longer from unknown fathers. So they had to ensure that what belonged to you remained yours and that no one could rob you of what belonged to you.
However, once you have rules and laws then you need to ensure that people complied with these rules and laws. Having rules and laws but not being able to enforce them was useless. So they needed a way to govern the community so that people did what they were supposed to do and did not do what they were not supposed to do.
So the people chose from amongst their community certain people to govern over them, implement these rules and laws, enforce these rules and laws, and make sure that people followed them (plus punish those who did not).
Eventually, those who had this power became very powerful. They could decide who lived and who died and who should be banned or exiled from the community when they committed an ‘illegal’ act. And eventually other people also wanted this same power so a power struggle soon emerged and people fought each other for control over the community.
To protect your position of power and to prevent others from ousting you, those in positions of power needed to act tough against their challengers. Rules and laws needed to be tightened and the punishment for those who violated these rules and laws needed to be draconian. And this eventually developed into draconian dictatorships where opposition and dissent would not be tolerated.
To be able to claim the legitimacy to rule over others, you had to have the divine right to rule. Your authority did not come from the people you ruled over (like in an elected government) but from a divine power. Hence you had to create this divine power and hence, also, you had to create the concept of a divine being, meaning God or Gods. And with this concept of God(s) came the concept of the religion of God.
And anyone who questions the divine right of the ruler to rule over others would be questioning God and hence would have to be punished with God’s law, meaning death for questioning God.
Soon the path to power was through the path of religion. To attain and retain power and to ensure that no one questions your power or tries to take this power away from you, you need to hold on to power by the grace of God. Hence you had to have control over religion to be able to rule over the people.
And this was how religion was invented as the path to power. When you question me you are questioning God because I rule over you by divine right and by the will of God. Hence if you challenge and offend God then you must die as decreed by God and according to our religious belief.
Is it not interesting to note that religion came about because you needed a ‘vehicle’ to rule over others and to be able to decide the fate and future of others with you as judge, jury and executioner by virtue of the power that God gave you?
And that was when your rights and freedom as a nomadic hunter-gatherer anarchist disappeared; when you became a settler and adopted a system of government with rules and laws.
Ironic is it not that you lost your rights and freedom the day you decided to organise yourself as a community in the interest of protecting these same rights and freedom?

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