"Can freedom become a burden, too heavy for man to bear, something he tries to escape from?"
       —Erich Fromm, Escape From Freedom

"Nothing has ever been more insupportable for a man and a human society than freedom. Man is tormented by no greater anxiety than to find someone quickly to whom he can hand over that gift of freedom with which the ill-fated creature is born."
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"In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, 'Make us your slaves, but feed us.' "
       —The Grand Inquisitor, in Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov

"I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
       —Thomas Jefferson

A Vision

Mr. Jones, your basic normal average typical red-blooded twenty-first century American white-collar middle-class unthinking citizen is standing on a low pedestal with his hands handcuffed in front of him and chains padlocked around his ankles. Thomas Jefferson is standing in front of him reaching up, handing him the key that will unlock his handcuffs and chains. Mr. Jones refuses to take the key, even though Jefferson is practically begging, explaining that he’s offering him the key to his freedom. Mr. Jones keeps shaking his head, turning away as if in agony, terrified of the thought of freedom, knowing that it would also require responsibility. His own personal responsibility. An almost involuntary shriek escapes his lips: “No, no! Give me my shackles! Let me keep my chains!”

Somewhere in the distance a radio plays the eerie organ and piano chords of Bob Dylan’s ‘Ballad of a Thin Man’ but Mr. Jones doesn’t even hear it, much less grasp the irony of the song’s application to him.

William Blake and Henry David Thoreau have now appeared and are standing beside Jefferson, imploring Mr. Jones to set himself free, telling him that everyone has to make the same choice sometime. But behind Mr. Jones is the whole Silent Majority itself, millions strong, standing mutely, all in chains too, staring at him, not making a sound. Mr. Jones feels the weight of their disapproving eyes on him, and cannot bear to set himself free. In despair he turns away from Jefferson’s outstretched hand, is helped down from the pedestal, and merges back into the teeming Silent Majority.

Someone else from the enormous crowd is now helped up onto the pedestal in chains, to take his turn at refusing freedom.

     —Zimmerman Skyrat, 101Bananas.com