The Commodity of Free Time

Access by appointment only

Free time is a mark of privilege, rather than an equal right. Instead of chasing an unrealistic concept of meritocracy, we should be striving for equity. –Dries Buytaert from The privilege of free time in Open Source

DrupalCon is underway in Seattle at the moment, prompting me to pay out some of my free time to explore what Dries has been up to lately. His recent essay about diversity and equity may include insights relevant to other fields.

He is talking about the prestige and merit that accrue from participating in open source software development, not the factors that lead to success in college admissions, job hunting, political candidacies, managing personal finances, shopping for food that is not junk, immigrating to a new country, or obtaining good healthcare. No doubt the light he is sharing flashed in fields adjacent to his own, since that is one of the ways we successfully disseminate knowledge and innovation.

Without a high score on the privilege scales, dear reader, your options in many lucrative endeavors are largely illusory. Discretion to spend time and money (which the US Supreme Court ruled is a form of speech that yearns to be free) are core privileges that activate the right to participate in education and employment, etc. 

Kevin Ayers asked, “Does the wisdom of your heart / Show you how to play your part?” Wise or not, do we all have the freedom to play a part? Feeling lucky?

Luck is the factor, not merit, that you need when you set foot into a rigged system. Hopes and prayers seldom petition for merit.

Like, luck not merit is what you need to prevail over addiction to whatever evermore potent black market pharmaceuticals (e.g., opium, morphine, cocaine, heroin, amphetamine, crack, methamphetamine, fentanyl, etc.) may pulse through the economic and regulatory hurdles to perform the role of America’s most wanted and most efficient pain-killer.

Luck not merit is what you need to survive military service or the prison industrial complex.

Luck not merit is what you need to walk out of a casino with more assets than you had when you walked in.

Luck not merit is what you most need to survive homelessness or, it seems, to get your child into college.

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