Monday, January 4, 2010

Tyranny of Convenience

It seems the whole world is falling apart at once but that is only because one tyranny is always built upon another. If you pay for something 'manufactured', as opposed to growing or building it yourself, you pay the manufacturer a certain profit margin. What you are actually paying for is not necessarily 'value added' but convenience. You don't have to learn the process, gather the material, use the time, or put forth the effort to make it yourself. Because you're in a hurry, you've accepted the point of view that such labor is a waste of your time. Yet, if it were really a waste of time, it wouldn't be profitable to the manufacturer either.

The manufacturer is not as interested in your convenience as much as in his profit. So he cuts corners, using inferior materials or designs that require you to buy more of what is convenient sooner and more often than you'd like. The manufacturer uses propaganda to make you think his inferior product is somehow superior to all others and, therefore, exactly what you need. He tells you, "It will make you feel better" implying that if you don't buy it, you'll feel worse.

The basis of all convenience is time. We're deceived into thinking the way we use our time (our work) robs us of the better use of time. So we pay someone else to do what we could and should do ourselves so that we can use our time more efficiently. Our laborsaving devices, for which we pay so handsomely and for which we often go into debt, are supposed to give us time for recreation, time to watch TV, and time with family. But what we fail to realize is that they engender hidden liabilities.

Having someone else to 'do it for us', we lose our minds and the ability to think creatively or logically about the value of the process. Having someone else gather the material for us, we become ignorant of its source and its real value in human effort. Having someone else use their time and effort, we engorge ourselves on more sedentary 'recreational' pursuits and then handsomely pay the gym or the doctor to help us regain the fitness we could have maintained through simple manual labor. In our great industrial hurry and by our lack of effort, we allow ourselves to become fat, broke, and ignorant and then wonder why we are so consistently unhappy.

Eventually, in order to pay off our debts, to de-stress our lives, and to cover the medical bills resulting from our lack of diligence, we concede to labor longer hours for less real benefit. What we fail to realize, under the weight of the accompanying liability, is that our wisdom, our understanding, our discernment, our health, our prosperity, our relationships, and our joy all suffer.

Health depends on nutrition and exercise. Nutrition and exercise depend on agriculture. Modern agriculture depends on industry. Industry depends on profit. Profit depends on efficiency and propaganda. Efficiency, which is the timely use of resources, and propaganda depend on exploitation. Exploitation depends on ignorance. Ignorance depends on education. Education depends on government agendas. Government agendas are generally built on its lust for power. The lust for power always results in tyranny.

At its core, tyranny is always based on ignorance, deceit, greed, and force. But it is the tyranny of convenience that allows these vices entrance into our personal lives. We allow ignorance because we want a quick education. We allow deceit because we do not want to put forth the effort to research facts, evaluate truth, or exercise discernment for ourselves. We succumb to greed because we hope that it can somehow redeem our efforts, making them either more profitable or less unbearable. We tolerate force because we do not want to suffer the inconvenience of doing what is right.

Tyranny begins in the hearts of lazy men and women who do not want to earn what they gain with honest labor. It is the offspring of the convenience to which we become accustomed and eventually addicted. If we continue at this pace, when the mechanism that provides these conveniences for us becomes prohibitively expensive, mankind shall either succumb to the tyranny of slavery or to the tyranny of death.

The only alternative to the tyranny of convenience and its lethal consequences is the redemption of our work ethic and of our relationship to God and our fellow man. In my view, the best venue for such redemption is on the family farm. That is not to say that there is no room for industry or specialization, only that its responsible pursuit is more family-sized than factory-sized. Genuine community is rarely built by industry. Rather, it is built by families who have chosen to reject the tyranny of convenience in favor of the blessings of working together.

Michael Hennen