I wrote the first draft of the short story “Stasis” back in September 2013. Since that time, news reports about certain trends and comments from government officials have been sending chills down my spine.
On 2/4/2014 the White House’s response to the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) report concerning the impact of ObamaCare on full time employment gave rise to new chills.
The CBO reported that ObamaCare will cost 2.3 million jobs. The White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to the report by stating, “…Americans would no longer be trapped in a job…and would have the opportunity to pursue their dreams.”
One report summed up the White House’s other responses, such as: employers are not laying off workers. Rather, Americans are choosing to leave the workforce and ObamaCare is empowering them to make that choice.
See the spin? The more government intrudes and takes over your life, the more freedom you gain. Notice the feel-good phrases like “pursuing your dreams” and “empowering,” contrasting with negative phrases, like equating a job with “being trapped”.
Don’t worry about the government taking over a third of the economy, and allowing them to make all of your personal health decisions, because now you’re empowered to pursue your dreams.
What does all this have to do with “Stasis”? The story depicts a society where citizens are denied the freedom to choose even their clothing and food, because the government has decided what was best for them and made all other choices illegal. Yet, the people believe they are free. A small speech from the character of Mr. Fetor (a low-level-petty-bureaucrat who ruthlessly commands his neighborhood) demonstrates that sentiment. It surfaces during an exchange with Kurt Williams, the Libertarian hero of the story.
Kurt looked around the room. “And all of you put up with this? You’re nothing but a bunch of pathetic little drones.”
No one would meet his eyes, except Fetor.
“No, you’re the one who’s pathetic,” Fetor snarled through clenched teeth. “You relish human suffering. We’re free, I tell you! Free from toil and labor, free from want, free from sudden death, free from economic oppression. Free from all of the ills of history. The Government knows what’s best for us.” He folded his hands as if praying and intoned, “From cradle to grave we are saved.”
“Don’t forget about free from being free.”
Fetor pointed at Kurt. “Stop poisoning everyone with your subversive ideas.”
Kurt and Fetor’s eyes locked on each other.
Don’t be fooled! Although we’re still far from the society depicted in “Stasis”, we’re well on the way. Later in the story…
Kurt’s voice lost its raspy tone as a rush of adrenaline revitalized him. “How did it ever get this bad?” he asked Cheryl.
“Gradually. Like your eyes adjusting to darkness.”
The sentiment currently being pushed by Big Government as empowerment and liberty represents another candle being snuffed out. How’s your eyesight? Are your eyes adjusting to the darkness?