George Walford: The Noble Savages

The noble savages did not live the sort of life Rousseau imagined for them. Far from being free to live as they wished they were immovably bound by custom; what seems to be freedom is better understood as an unawareness of restrictions, arising from their inability to conceive of any life other than that of their own little community.

But at least they had physical freedom. With no need to worry about passports or national borders they were free to wander where they wished. They had freedom of movement.

Did they? In Britain today all but a few can raise the coach fare between London and Edinburgh, making the journey in a few hours. Great numbers of ordinary people are able to fly, occasionally at least, to Spain, Switzerland or America, and increasing numbers to Russia, China, India, Australia. If the noble savages wanted to get anywhere they had to walk.

Who has the greater freedom of movement?

from Ideological Commentary 37, September 1989.