‘Voluntary’ Does Not Mean What You Thought It Did

To The Reader’s Forum;

That’s an interesting idea that Vermont has and The Post-Journal supports (editorial December 9) for school district consolidation. Consolidate “voluntarily” or the state will consolidate the schools anyhow. Sort of like our current school budget options: vote yes or vote again.

There is a school of philosophy which says that a man always does what he prefers to do, and some would add, therefore should be contented and shut up. It is the circumstances of the choices available, however, that constitute the details where the devil dwells. Give me your money or you die. Obey or you go to jail. The happy victim makes his voluntary choice from the two available and all is well with the world. The fantasy of some hypothetical other choice does not apply. Obviously those who dominate society are of this philosophical school. I wonder if that is because they are the ones who get to decide ahead of time which choices there will be.

You might have thought you knew the meaning of “voluntary,” but thanks to government and philosophers, you now see how wrong you were. Does anybody remember the meaning of “Orwellian”?

Norman P. Carlson