Sunday, July 3, 2011

Live Free or Die

With all the hullabaloo over who is a better patriot than who, or what makes a patriot, I figured I write a little piece about patriotism and what have you.  I don't want to be redundant though, as I've already written a post about what I think makes a patriot.  So today, the day before we celebrate our nation's independence, I figured I'd talk a little bit about something we all enjoy a whole hell of a lot:  liberty.

I know, the word sometimes seems a bit tired.  We've always got asshats trying to tell everyone that it's going away, that we're all getting shit on by the Big Government Colon or the Big Business Rectum, but the truth is that none of us alive today, except for those who were oppressed pre-Civil Rights, really has any god damn clue as to what it's like to not be free.

I mean think about it.  We've got the time to sit around and write about whatever the hell we feel like, and we know that no matter what we say we're likely to not have any secret police bust down our door.  I can sit here on this beautiful afternoon and say that Obama is a cocksucker that's fucking shit up, and that Michele Bachmann is a stupid cunt whose syphilis has probably driven her insane by now.

If I were in China, could I say that same shit about Mr. Jintao?  How long would I live if I even breathed a word of discontent about Ahmadinejad if I were blogging in Iran?

Now there might be those that want to take some freedoms away from people, or keep people from gaining the freedoms that they rightly deserve.  There are some liberal douche bags out there that want to ban private ownership of guns altogether.  They either don't care about, or are not well read enough on Natural Rights theory.  Of course, in their heart of hearts they think they're only doing what's best for the people.

We've also got a lot of conservatives that want to keep gay marriage or same-sex unions from being officially recognized by whatever the fuck state they live in.  Freedom of choice is only valid if it's the choice that the Conservatives themselves would make.  Of course, they think that they're only doing what's best for the people.

The truth is that Liberty is often something that few people want to actually be a part of every American's life.  Most people don't seem to understand that liberty means that people are free to live their lives as they see fit so long as they're not causing any real, measurable harm to others around them.  So that means we have to let gays marry each other.  That means we have to let people own their own weapons to protect themselves and their property, because you can't have Liberty if you have no property, and you certainly can't have Liberty if you're dead.

"Live free or die," sounds like a bit of a harsh phrase.  The whole quotation comes from John Stark ca. 1809, and the rest of it reads "Death is not the worst of evils."  I'm sure some of you have read about how some of the Africans caught on the slave trade would commit suicide, throw themselves and their children over the side of the slave ship because they'd rather be dead than live life as a slave.

How many of us understand Liberty in that light?  How many of us would rather die defending it than live without it?  Some brave men and women have paid the ultimate sacrifice either directly for our Liberty or for that of another people, and because they did so in our stead means that we need to honor that sacrifice.  Even if you think the war they died in was unjust or some nefarious machination of Big Whatever, they still volunteered to put themselves in harm's way so that you don't have to.

But they're not the only ones who keep us free.  It's up to all of us as a free people.  Whether you're a soldier, sailor, marine or airman; whether you're an elected representative or a community activist; whether your a blogger or member of the press; all of us are responsible for upholding Liberty, that one quality that makes us distinctly human.

Never take for granted something so precious.  If that day should come where the ultimate sacrifice is required of you, just remember: Live free or die.

4 comments:

Silverfiddle said...

@Most people don't seem to understand that liberty means that people are free to live their lives as they see fit so long as they're not causing any real, measurable harm to others around them.

If we could get both parties to sign up to that, we'd be much better off.

Stupid Git said...

Beautifully stated Jack. Thanks.

Jack Camwell said...

Thank you both for the sentiment. I was feeling awfully inspired when I wrote this one.

Harrison said...

Freedom is kind of a sliding scale, isn't it? You might still be free to vote or write a letter to your editor but what if you could open carry a firearm and now can't? What if your taxes went from 20% to 30% or 40% would you not have lost some freedom?

While I agree with what you wrote, freedom is something that, even in losing it by small degrees, makes us feel a loss.