“You see, governments and corporations, they are all about one thing: control. That’s all.” He pauses to take a sip from his drink.
He continues. “They want to decide what you’re going to watch, what you’re going to eat, and what you’re going to drive. Whatever happened to choice? You know what I mean? This world wants you to fit into a box. And you don’t choose the box. No way, man. The box is just given to you: you’re forced to crawl inside this thing — some cheap little suburban mansion — and play your part. And you know what your role is? Be identical to all your neighbours. The whole thing is about conformity, you know? Makin’ us all the same. They want you to think that you have options, but man, really, what they actually want is for us all to use the same phones, go to the same stores, drive the same cars, eat the same food, and buy the same crap. The entire system has one agenda: to make us homogenous consumers.”
He takes another swig from his beer. “Hey, where’s your drink?” he asks.
“Oh, I’m not drinking tonight,” I reply.
“Why not?” he probes. “Are you the designated driver or something?”
“No, I walked actually,” I say. “Just not drinking tonight.”
He responds with a set of rapid-fire questions: “Why not, man? You have some health issues or something? Or are you following some kind of religious thing? Or are you on a budget, or what? Oh, I know, your wife must’ve cut you off, eh?”
I try to explain to him that I am simply exercising my choice not to have a drink tonight. He continues to insist I have a beer. It is almost as if my lack of conformity to the norm of the party is an insult to him personally. Despite his tirade against the ills of social conformity, he seems mindless of his own double standard in regards to my decision about alcohol.
Utterly baffled by my unwillingness to comply, he eventually wanders over to another table.
Inwardly, I smirk at his foolish hypocrisy. How blind he is to his own allegiances! But then I catch myself. How often do I deceive myself with my own destitute duplicity?
Like the guy at the party, I, too, love to preach about the importance of individual choice and personal freedom… and in the next breath I hear myself bemoan other people’s naive unwillingness to be like me.