It’s a difficult trick, but our would-be rulers think they make us think we’re free while they take away our freedom. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
If you live in one of the so-called free democracies of the western world, the worst mistake you can make is to buy into the hype. To believe you are a free individual in a nation that respects and protects your freedom and individuality.
Whenever I broach this subject I always get a deluge of objections along the lines of, “Well I’d much rather live where I live than under an authoritarian regime like in Iran or China! You would never be allowed to criticize your rulers the way you do if you lived in one of those places!”
And I always want to ask them, what do you think drove you to make that objection? Why are you falling all over yourself to defend your country and the people who rule over you, while condemning foreign countries that your own government happens to dislike? Could it be because that’s how you’ve been trained to behave from a young and impressionable age, and that your objection is arising from the same place as a cult member’s objections to criticisms of their cult?
Because that’s ultimately what holds power structures together in the US-aligned nations of the global north: indoctrination. The same thing used to program religious extremists and cult members. The only difference is that rather than scripture and religious leaders, the means of indoctrination is school, mainstream media, and Silicon Valley algorithm manipulation.