June 17, 2016

Free To Consume, Free To Unconsume

Our much touted freedom in so-called democratic countries is an illusion. It is an over hyped lie. Except for one area - we are free to do as much consuming as our bank accounts will allow.

Where else is the freedom?

Are we free to protest without harassment? Free to travel a world without restrictive borders? Free to live anywhere we want? Free to quit work and live off the land?

Are we free to put into our bodies what we want, or keep out of our bodies those things we don't want? Free to marry whom we wish? Free to use the bathroom we feel most appropriate for our gender situation? Free to read about the truth in the mainstream media?

Instead of gaining any freedoms, we are increasingly being stripped of any vestiges of liberty that we have left. In some parts of the world you are not free to harvest rain water, or grow a garden where you neighbours can see it, or without being taxed for the privilege of putting a bit of distance between you and the system.

Our system is broke. Unless you are rich, in which case you are more free than those less monetarily blessed. In today's world money is the way to freedom, not the ballet box. And if you don't have money you don't deserve to be free because you just aren't trying hard enough.

Now whole countries are being forced to accept the freedom to be plundered, privatized and pirated. How are you enjoying all that Western capitalist consumeristic freedom Iraq? Libya? Syria? Honduras? Brazil? Argentina? Egypt?

Are you feeling it yet, all that juicy freedom? When we stop the violence, you can go shopping.

Robin Mathews, author of “The Trans Pacific Partnership: Canada and Imperial Globalization”, describes our current situation:

"A characteristic of Imperial Globalization is criminal manipulation of people and events for the profit of a few. It includes massive ‘disinformation’ about equality, benefits, social development, law, improved standards of living, etc. 
The disinformation is spread by ‘authoritative’ news sources. In the hands of gigantic, wealthy, private corporations, globalization is a process which works to erase sovereign democracies and replaces them with ‘treatied’ sub-states, economic colonies ruled by faceless, offshore, often secret, unaccountable powers."

You see, it is all about enriching the few as a result of the consumption of the many. Have money? Want stuff? This new world was made for you. Your dollars will buy you the freedom to consume, plus a bit more, depending on how much cash you have. More cash - more freedom.

I don't know about you, but that is not a system I am interested in joining or supporting, and I will do everything I can to ensure that I am doing nothing to contribute toward this dismal distortion of our infinitely good and abundant planet.

Freedom can not really be bought. Or given. Or forced. It just is, and we have to actively live it for ourselves. After all, consumption is not legally mandatory. Yet. We still have a choice.

I am free to consume, but, well, no thanks. Consuming is enslaving us all. Therefore, I see unconsuming as the answer. As always, simplicity yields true freedom, and if more of us adopted such a lifestyle, we could negate the power of the criminal manipulators, and turn this thing around.

I'm not buying anything. Not their stuff, or their bullshit, for I am free to unconsume.


  1. The things I want to un-consume the most are all the insurances I have to pay for. Health insurance (gotta have it, it's the law), dental insurance, home insurance (which we have but can't afford the wind and hail add-on at over $1000 a year), termite insurance (gotta have it in the south or you're SOL if you get infested), and auto insurance (again, it's the law). And fees. There are fees tagged on to so many things... processing fees, registration fees, handling fees, fees upon fees. And then of course taxes which are insane. I feel like a living ATM, except that I'm not living. I'm working...all the time...to pay for all this stuff that doesn't sit on a shelf or go in a box, hang in a closet or fill my refrigerator. I have decluttered, disowned, simplified and all that...but I still have all this intangible crap I have to pay for with what little life energy I have left. I'm close to 60 and I could conceivably live another 20-30 years. I have no idea how I can sustain this way of life for that long.

    1. They need us to be desperate so they can manipulate us further. If the choice is work, or be destitute, well, that is not much of a choice at all, is it? We have been captured and will be used as fodder to fuel their greed and corruption in pursuit of the almighty buck.

      We do not have home insurance. Our vehicle insurance is the least amount we can legally get away with, and with a high deductible. Because we live in Canada our health care is provided by the state (although it is in crisis at the moment). We don't have dental insurance, but not having it is pretty pricey, too.

      Conservatives are all about "no new taxes", so they call the things they introduce "fees" or "service charges", or some other euphemism for taxes. The big banks here just increased their fees and charges, further milking savers that are getting less than inflation in savings accounts.

      Many, including Linda and I, are wondering - "what will hold out longer, my lifespan, or my cash?" Tough times ahead, folks, and there are no easy answers for any of us. Personally, I am getting sick of reading the MSM only to hear that "things are getting better" and are actually "better than they have ever been".

      I call bullshit again. That is not what I am seeing with my own two eyes.

  2. Anonymous6/17/2016

    Powerful post - thank you. -- Mary

  3. Great post Gregg, and it makes me more determined to consume as little as possible.

    One area of consumption that upsets me greatly is technology. Not so many years ago we didn't need it - kids could go to school without it, businesses ran without it, there was a phone box on every corner. Now my kids cannot do their homework without it, and I need a mobile phone so I can be reached in my studio at school in case the kids are sick or injured at school ( which has happened more than once, thus I've kept the phone!) And for various reasons I now need to use a computer for work.

    The most upsetting thing about the technology is that it breaks so easily. I have a 2 year old photocopier that is playing up and my phone and computer chargers are both on the way out. I imagine it is the same over there, you cannot do your banking or pay a bill without a computer - and so it costs us money just to be able to pay the bills - crazy!

    In Australia if you continue to receive paper bills or want to pay with cash or cheque - it costs you more! I'm relating to what Clamco said above - a lot of money is going out, but not on the consumption of stuff, it's on intangibles. I'm not allowed to teach in schools unless I pay for my own business indemnity insurance and believe it or not, I have to pay for my own 'working with children' police check even though the school has invited me to teach there!

    So when I post the quarterly budget on the fridge and think, how can we cut back even more.....there's often not a lot I can cut. Once I don't have the kids to drive around (country town, not many buses especially at night) I am really wondering if I can manage with just a bicycle. That way I avoid insurance, petrol and maintenance costs.

    So I find myself enslaved more than I want to be because of the 'system' I'm a part of - I'm a part of it in order to put a roof over my head and food on the table. Oh, and I have a mortgage - major enslavement! Rental costs are so high here you would be crazy not to work towards owning a home - unless you want to be homeless when you're older. In fact, my beautiful cousin has launched a fundraiser for the homeless, focusing on women over 45, a big, invisible group of people struggling to find affordable accomodation in this country. Many are ending up homeless. She (with many others) are going to sleep outside on the street for a night (it's Winter here) to raise money and awareness for the homeless.

    One positive change is that going off grid here has never been cheaper - so eventually one can stop being enslaved to paying energy bills.

    Sorry, long comment today, how I'd love to share a pot of tea with you and talk further!


    At least today I have the freedom to tend my vegetable garden, share tea and home baked cake with friends, and enjoy the sunshine :-)

    1. A cup of tea would be wonderful. I imagine we would have a whole lot to talk about.

      I agree that you reach a certain point where it is difficult to find ways to cut any further. A simple life in a "developed" country can be very expensive if you are trying to go it alone. One way to make life easier and less expensive would be to join a housing cooperative where many of the costs are shared.

      Having said that, cooperative living brings a whole new set of challenges, speaking from experience. But it is definitely less expensive within the non-profit sector.

  4. There are so many ironies built into the system. It costs extra to be poor. You have to have a good credit score to get a job. If you don't have access to the internet you can't get assistance or apply for a job.

    1. Simple living is not so simple... or cheap. Unless you go REAL simple, as in living on the street. But even then you need money for things like dental work. Living with an abscessed tooth, or without teeth, is no fun at all. That is the problem with our system - there are no viable alternatives that will be allowed by those perpetuating the status quo. It is "work for us, or whither away in destitution. It is a good motivator to work for the dark side, whether you like it or not.

      Where is the freedom in this equation?

  5. Anonymous6/18/2016

    Neo Liberalism is legalised criminality, an excuse to asset strip and exploit. The west has managed to maximise profits by stagnating wages since the 1970's and reducing the cost of imported 'stuff'. This reduction of cost is done by exploiting developing countries workers and environment. This trick has made the corporates very very rich.

    I'm in two minds regarding the rise of tech. The old media (newpapers, television and news etc) have for too long dominated the arguments and have always managed to muddy the waters in order to confuse. Yes I dislike aspects of social media - why would anyone make a film about Mark Zuckerberg and not Linus Torvalds, I will never know, but it has given a voice to the traditionally voiceless and in the UK and the young are changing:

    Yes, the rich can keep on inflating the asset bubbles and the young can start to live communally, reject alcohol and adopt veganism. Then the 1% and the corps can be rejected.

    Life is about living and loving others, feeling part of something bigger than ourselves and sticking up two fingers to this horrible corporate machine.


    1. It's all gangs now. Corporate gangs. Political gangs. Police gangs. Billionaire gangs. War gangs. Mercenary gangs for hire.

      No one plays by the rules any more. Corruption is the new normal. The end must be near for this monolithic failed experiment. It could crumble in a moment - best to be prepared.

  6. Thought provoking post and I agree with the other commenters. The only debt I have is a very reasonable mortgage, but the cost of insurances, utilities, homeowner fees, etc., adds up to a lot every month. Simple living shouldn't cost this much.

    1. I agree that it should be cheaper if you are choosing to opt out of pretty much everything. You quickly get to the point where you can't cut any more. Then what? I am looking forward to a nice, comfy retirement living in my van. If I am lucky to have a van in the future.


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