After years of thinking, I may have figured out which aspect of life makes a person feel un-free. It’s the frequency of having to perform submission rituals.
When a feudal lord rides by peasants and they have to kneel in the mud to show respect, that’s a submission ritual. It’s little different from dogs rolling over to expose bellies to the leader of their pack. In our modern life, a typical submission ritual is turning on the dome light and putting hands in plain view when stopped by police. It’s standing with legs and arms spread for the TSA. It’s being polite to abusive bureaucrats from IRS, INS, ATF and every other abusive Federal and State agency who aren’t being polite back to us.
The aversion to rolling over for others is why some people prefer to live in remote areas. Few officials venture into the bush. Less connected threats, like dangerous wildlife, can be dealt with without fear of bringing the rest of the mafia down on you in retaliation. Others, content to live in cities, avoid regulated activities to minimize their interaction with controlling organizations. The greater the amount of effort required to live unmolested by the authorities, the less free a society is. United States does not look good in that respect…unfortunately, neither does the rest of the world.