The following was written for myself in 2014 but occurred to me when recently reflecting on the reactions to the current pandemic. I went and re-read it and was surprised to see that I found it quite relevant to the current discussion on preventive lockdowns vs. freedom of action in dealing with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. So with only very minor edits in formatting, I publish it here.
I live abroad, but I’m a proud Canadian. No, not in any nationalist sense just because “Canada!” but because of the values it stands for, which I believe to be good. I immigrated to Korea 17 years ago and make it my home, and I am happy to think the values and culture I bring with me are a boon to Koreans who deal with me (to the extent I understand and represent them well!). And as with my writing here, I hope to influence the culture for the better by sharing them.
The following was written for myself in 2014 after having finally got around to reading a classic, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and what occurred to me as I was fascinated by various depictions of slavery in the pre-Civil War American South. Having recently thought about the issue of freedom versus our current political and intellectual status quo, and given freedom’s indispensable role in human flourishing–with some clarifying additions, I publish it here.
A popular image of slavery is a cracking whip driving droning, listless workers to some laborious or inhuman task in abhorrent conditions against any will of their own, sucking the days from their lives as if they were of no worth but that of a draft animal. Indeed, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s classic novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin offers vivid images of the villain Simon Legree’s plantation and the manner in which he considers and treats his slaves.