Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 621, May 29, 2011

"Anything less than freedom is not freedom, but something else."

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Did They Fight and Die For Our Freedom?
by Susan Callaway

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Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

The red face, shaking finger and loud voice was bad enough, of course, and the attempt to make me feel guilty for objecting to the police state America has become was, naturally, insulting to my intelligence. But the most horrible part was the fact that this old, grizzled veteran had lived most of his life truly believing that the death and destruction he and so many others had suffered and witnessed in America's wars was the only thing that stood between us and the loss of America or American liberty.

He honestly thought that he, and all the others, had been fighting to preserve and protect the freedom and prosperity of Americans, and to some extent, the rest of the world. Heartbreaking.

I get emails quite often, usually around "patriotic holidays," that start out with something like: It is the VETERAN, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.

Has a certain ring to it, maybe, until you realize that neither wars NOR preachers "give" us freedom of religion. No constitution or government entity of any kind can give us the right to live and worship as we want, any more than they can grant us the right to think or breathe. Those things are simply a natural part of being human, and can never be legitimately controlled by anyone but the individual who does the worship, thinking and breathing.

But an awful lot of people will never stop trying, it seems. And, God help them, far too many people seem to think that they should try.

Ok, you might say, but if the communists (or the bogeymen of the day, the Muslims) take over, all of our freedom will be taken away from us... so we have to fight them to prevent it, don't we?

Fight them where, how and why?

Does that mean we must send thousands of young men and women across the sea to attack their homes and farms, kill or maim anyone who gets in the way of that, and restructure their governments to suit ourselves?

If anyone were to invade the US with such intentions, I don't suspect anyone at all would object to fighting them by any means necessary. The whole body of the people, the real "militia," should be ready, willing and able to respond to any such actual threat.

But, didn't that attack occur on 9-11 in NYC and the Pentagon? Maybe, and maybe not. The controversy over that is far beyond the scope of this article. There's probably more questions than answers on this subject than most others I could think of.

We can't settle those questions here, so let me ask you something. Did any of the things the US government did then or is doing now in response to that event honestly increase or protect your individual liberty to live your life as you see fit - as long as you don't aggress against others? Can't think of one? Neither can I.

You might give some thought to what these advocates for liberty and justice have to say about it.

The idea of soldiers "fighting for freedom" is an Orwellian-like concept riddled with self-contradictions. To begin with, wars have always reduced individual liberty, not only during but after the wars. The American Civil War was conducted not to free slaves, but to aggrandize state power, thus restricting liberties. Lincoln has earned the disrespect of those who value liberty for having laid the foundations of the present Leviathan state. The Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, the Korean and Vietnamese Wars, escalated the powers of the nation-state over the lives of Americans. In case these earlier episodes of organized barbarity are too distant for you, recall how quickly and easily the Bush administration was able to greatly expand the American police-state with such measures as the Patriot Act, the creation of a Department of Homeland Security, and the arbitrary holding—without trial or contact with family or attorneys—of virtually anyone the state wishes held.
—Fighting for Freedom, by Butler Shaffer

Little did they realize those sacrifices, no matter how heroic, were not made in defense of this country. They gave no one more freedom or guaranteed those freedoms currently held. What it succeeded in doing was taking away the right of that individual to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Soldiers die for empire, and to enrich the corporate bottom line of campaign donors; they do not die for freedom.
—"A Nation Afraid To Be Free", by Michael Gaddy

I'm very grateful that some people train and sacrifice a significant part of their personal lives to stand ready and willing to defend others against invasion and attack. There will always be a need for a few to help train and guide the whole body of the people - the people who will always have the final responsibility for their own safety and freedom.

Until the whole body of the people accepts this responsibility, and refuses to participate in aggression anywhere, they can never truly experience liberty and justice for all.

First published at "The Price of Liberty"


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