There’s this beautiful line in Neal Stephenson’s The System of the World: “Jack did not feel the weight of his chains unless he attempted to move.” In our own lives, we can only feel the presence and weight of chains if we attempt to move in unpredicted and unprecedented ways. We cannot know that our autonomy is being curtailed unless we try to become more autonomous. We cannot know that the available media is censored unless we try to walk through the fields of the bizarre and the fringe. We cannot know that our options are being gamed unless we explore the range of possibilities.
We can argue about slavery, about the restrictions of rights and freedoms, or we can test for its presence ourselves. But to do the latter, we have to move. After all, a slave discovers his bondage only when he tries to be free.