Do you believe you’re free?
Ask yourself how hard it would be for someone to enslave you – politically, emotionally, financially, physically, relationally, mentally.
Do you have debt? We may no longer have debtor’s prisons, but for all intents and purposes, you are one collection away from losing your choice.
Do you have compromised character? While you live a lie, you must beg for others to accept your version of reality (H/T to Ayn Rand). You have become their slave.
Do you give in to bullies or crowds? If you don’t stand up for yourself now, how long will you be able to resist when you face real pressure?
Do you work for someone else? How many paychecks away from dependence are you?
Do you spend wealth instead of investing it? Are you building a future of independence or a future dependent on continued luxury?
Are you borrowing someone else’s values and purpose? How will you stand for yourself in any relationship with others? You will be at the mercy of others.
Do you take things you haven’t earned? The bill from the benefactor comes due at some point.
Are you dependent? Will you keep what independence you do have when things get bad?
Are you unskilled? How will you be able to take care of yourself without turning to dependence?
Are you ignorant? How will you know you have been led astray if you cannot think and do not call on wisdom?
Are you shortsighted? You will not see the consequences that will leave you in chains.
These are all questions which come back to character. In the end – as great thinkers from the Romans to today have told us – it is what keeps us free.
“How hard would it be to enslave you” is the same question as “how virtuous are you, and how virtuous are you willing to be?”
Many of these are questions I ask myself. I hope they can be helpful to you.