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Freedom is not Free


By Michael Aun


The average age of the world’s great civilizations is just over 200 years. That is but a speck on the backadrop of time.

History tells us that most of these great civilizations progressed over the course of time in the following fashion:

· From bondage to spiritual faith…

· From spiritual faith to great courage…

· From great courage to liberty…

· From liberty to abundance…

· From abundance to selfishness…

· From selfishness to complacency…

· From complacency to apathy…

· From apathy to indifference…

· From indifference to victim-hood, blame and denial…

· From victim-hood to dependency…

· And from dependency back into bondage again!

All within the short span of 200 years. That is quite an indictment on great civilizations that once had it all and eroded into nothing in two short centuries. How? More importantly, why?

Freedom is not free and yet the latest generation of Americans, known as Gen Z, think differently. Members of Gen Z were born between 1995 and 2015, making them currently between four and about 25 years old. 

The best statistics tell us there are about 74 million of them. They were not born into victim-hood  thinking so how did they acquire it? The brain-drainers have come up with some interesting explanations, i.e. they receive pity and attention because of their misfortunes in life. They get pleasure from it.

These same experts tell us that the classic “victim behavior” revolves around not taking responsibility. They are not overtly saying “I am a victim.” Instead are acting the role of martyr.

Another interesting characteristic is they seem frozen in time and have accepted their lack of progress as someone else’s fault, never their own. Until they begin to make small behavioral changes, they will never be accountable to others or, more importantly, to themselves.

An interesting by-product of  victimization is the grudges onto which they hold. They bring them up anytime accountability is involved. They need to let go and move on if they are ever going to be free.

They also lack legitimate assertive skills. They repeat the same patterns of submissiveness and passivity, despite the detrimental effect to their self-esteem and personal development.

They feel and act powerless and will rarely, if ever, trust others. Why? They assume others are just like they are – untrustworthy. Worse yet, they do not have the slightest clue to when to say, “Enough is enough!”

This narcissistic behavior is why they want to argue with everyone who does not agree with their “plight in life. They plod along feeling sorry for themselves and constantly compare themselves to others.

They see life as always “shorting them.” Even when something good happens, the victim will seek out what is lacking or what is missing. The victim will complain about complaining and then complain that they cannot stop complaining. It is a deadly cycle.

Victims love to anoint themselves as critics. They think they are perfect and are willing to sacrifice the people in their lives who love and care for them.

As we look at the course of history’s great civilizations unfolding over time, we cannot help but think that we are plainly stuck on victimization. How do we keep from progressing to dependence and then back into bondage again?

This week our country turns 243 years of age. No individual or nation shall be so quickly humbled as that individual or nation that comes to rest on its laurels. For those that come to rest on them will surely come to rust on them.

Take a walk through our nation’s capital to Arlington Cemetery. There… the good, the faithful, the pious, the proud, the ruthless and the indifferent will all come to realize that the world’s sins of greed, hate, fear and treachery have not been washed away by earth’s red drops nor heaven’s tears which have moistened the soil.

Hopefully, we as a nation are stronger than that. Hopefully, people will come to their senses and will conclude that the cycle must be broken and fixed. After all, freedom is not free.

Michael Aun, CSP®, CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame® is the author of Marketing Masters (Royal Publishing)