Every year, we presume that the world is becoming a better place. When it comes to personal liberty, however, the opposite is true. The majority of studies demonstrate that humanity is now less free than it was a few years ago.

We had a decentralized Internet and a somewhat unconstrained banking system 20 years ago. Apple and Google now filter content and apps on our phones, while Visa and Mastercard restrict what we can pay for.

Every year, we pass over more power and influence to a few unaccountable corporate executives whom we did not elect.

The majority of us willingly carry tracking devices — our phones — and allow firms to utilize our personal information to target us with low-quality entertainment.

Unlike 20 years ago, we are now surrounded by surveillance cameras, which use artificial intelligence (AI) in nations like China to ensure that no one can hide.

In 2017, China surpassed the United States as the world’s largest economy by purchasing power, demonstrating to the rest of the world that individual liberty is not essential for economic progress.

As a result of China’s success, more countries are becoming authoritarian, restricting basic human rights including freedom of expression, movement, and assembly.

Who will be the one to mend it?

Our generation’s most active and creative minds are too preoccupied with playing in the quickly decreasing sandbox known as “free enterprise” or creating digital content to keep the rest of us glued to our devices for longer.

The remainder appears to be too preoccupied with the plethora of low-cost digital entertainment to evaluate the trend objectively and take action.

As I watch this, I’m curious as to what our generation’s legacy will be.

Will we be remembered as the people who allowed free societies to devolve into dystopian nightmares?

Or will we be known as the defenders of the liberties for which past generations battled so valiantly?

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