--I really don’t understand why you have bad things to say about the Republic. Don’t you appreciate the extreme freedom that it offers?
--Me too, sir. I am utterly aware of my complete freedom. I was born into a modest family, my father was a road worker. In other regimes, I would have been immediately assimilated as a slave, and might have become the property of some country gentleman. Instead, sir, even though I come from a poor background, I am born a free citizen. Instead of being looked upon as a beast of burden, I have freely chosen my profession. Or better, my father chose the boss, who was supposed to live off my work, for me. I was quite wretched, sir, in the material sense of the word; my wages were ridiculous and expenses were quite high. But when the evening came, I looked in the mirror and said, “Here is a free man”, and this made me proud. At the age of 18, I freely enlisted in the military force that I liked best, and I very much appreciated this freedom that allowed me to go on missions in foreign countries and earn this medal, which is my life’s honor.
I will not tell you the freedoms that were granted on those missions. The newspapers talk about it enough.
Since then, I have done nothing but bless the Republic. Now, I am a salaried employee, and I don’t earn high pay, but I know that I am an honest person and have the dignity of being a free citizen. In other times, under the empire, you’d be defrauded by a gang of aristocrats that sprung up from who knows where. But today we have the freedom to choose who to obey ourselves, and if we don’t like them, we can change them every four years. Don’t you appreciate this advantage?
--We have freedom to speak, to write, to drink, to smoke, even to get drunk, except, obviously, in circumstance barred by the law that is the contract that free citizens have freely accepted.
--Yes, but don’t you find certain freedoms to be less pleasant? For example the freedom to sleep under bridges if you can’t pay the rent…
He made an indignant gesture.
--Perhaps for vagabonds, the homeless, the jobless, misfits.
--But, in short – I replied, rather enraged – there are quite a few circumstances… for instance, disease, unemployment, that leave you with no freedom except that of croaking from hunger.
--Wrong, sir – he said, sententiously – honest people have nothing to fear from such eventualities. Where I come from, for example, there is no unemployment, and the people you are talking about are those who make a bad use of freedom.
--Excuse me, but you who go on and on about freedom, what do you do?
--I, sir, am a prison guard.