But here’s the problem: I think Julia regards her condition as one of liberty. She is free—free to become the person that she wanted to become, liberated from any ties that might have held her back, whether debts to family, obligations to take care of aging parents, the challenge and rewards of living with a husband and father of her child, or relying on someone to help her with a business or with her care as she grew old. Would she call her condition “Serfdom”? I rather doubt it.What is serfdom, then? The author defines it thus:
Serfdom, to be accurate, is an arrangement whereby you owe specific duties to a specific person, a lord—and in turn, that lord owes you specific duties as well.This, though, is the same relationship that the Duke bears to the King. This is merely a feudal relationship. The difference between a feudal relationship and the relationship you have to the modern state is just this: whereas a feudal relationship defines your rights with regard to the duties you perform, the modern relationship assumes that rights and duties are disconnected and unrelated.
The feudal relationship is healthier in a sense, because it makes clear that we are able to maintain our rights only because (or if) we all pull together in mutual loyalty and friendship. As moderns we have been having a serious debate over the last few years over whether felons should be allowed to vote; in fact, we have some questioning whether the right should be limited to citizens. What's the difference, especially in a country in which many aliens have come to reside (however they have done so), and have an interest in how the government is run? Aren't they people too? Why shouldn't people in Malaysia or Pakistan vote on US foreign policy? Aren't they touched by it? Why shouldn't they have the same right as you to vote?
Having said that, the rest of the article is very much worth reading. The core problem is a key one.