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Giving Away Freedom

Northwestern Litho. Co, Milwaukee, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

For High Plains Public Radio Readers Book Club, I’m Shane Timson from Colby, Kansas.

I remember when I was a kid in the 1980s the first time I saw water being sold in a convenience store. It cost a dollar, and I remember thinking, “Who’s gonna pay a dollar for water when we can go home and turn on the tap and get it for free?” Turns out though, a lot of people buy water, myself included, and it costs more than a dollar these days. In fact, I occasionally buy bottled water, and I have a reverse osmosis water system in my home. Sometimes I’d rather just grab a bottle as opposed to fill up a cup.

Many of us are like that, so what I thought was preposterous as a child has become normal. In the book The Water Thief, everything is for sale: water, friends, and marriages. Yes, you can buy friends and you can buy your spouse. There is no love in this world; it’s all about money and power.

The money is called caps, a digital currency that is put on a ledger which everyone carries. That ledger has everything about you on it. In most cases, the people don’t have a problem with carrying these ledgers with them, but when Charles Thatcher gets in trouble with the corporation, the first thing they do is disable his ledger. It’s useless, as he can’t buy or sell anything. He steals someone else’s ledger as he’s escaping from Ackerman, the corporation for which he works. They want to put him to death, but they have to figure out what kind of death brings the best ratings, as certain executions bring better ratings than others.

This is a very intriguing, yet depressing book. Although this is a work of fiction, it is feasible to believe there are governments that would love to have this kind of power. People fail to see this danger in society.

An example from the book is when they’re trying to repair Charles. They repair a person by changing the thought process. A discussion in the book between Charles and the administrator shows the control of government when the administrator declares everybody wants to be ruled by the government. The administrator proclaims, “It’s my job to rule over you, to tell you what to do and what to think.”

The sad thing is that there are people who would have no problem letting a government or a corporation totally rule them, to tell them what to think or how to feel. I personally feel that part of the problem is that when people analyze politics, they look at it through the lens of Republican or Democrat, but after reading The Water Thief which I think should’ve been called The Freedom Thief .

Instead of looking at everything as Democrat and Republican, members of society should look at who is going to take away the most of their freedom. The only reason we still have freedom in this country today is because we the people do what we can to preserve our freedoms; however, if we give it away, the government will gladly take as much as we surrender.

If this book has taught me one thing, it is that my freedom is mine to keep or to give away. Unfortunately, over the years, many people have given away a lot of freedom.

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