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On freedom - Something cheesy this way comes [The Franchise] [Sarah] [Ari EB] [Elanit] [ALG] [Alon] [Yutopia] [Code Monkey Ramblings]
July 4th, 2006
10:42 am

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On freedom
It's Independence Day, and I'm very happy about that. Not so much because of the day spent not working (Sarah's still not on her feet yet, so the actual difference between today and a typical Sunday isn't that much), nor because I have any particular animus against the UK or her Monarch (sorry mom), but rather because I'm of the opinion that the place we live in, the USA, is a one-of-a-kind experiment never before seen in the world.

This country's dedication to passionate freedom is qualitatively different from every place seen before in human experience. Here's an example: when has any other country been criticized for acting in its self-interest? We hold ourselves to a higher standard, such that our self-interest isn't a sufficient causus belli, for instance. For all the complaints about American "imperialism," in exactly how many places around the world do American soldiers take up arms against the local population? (answer: 2, and in both cases the local government wants us there for now). Compare that to the British Empire, which was quite civilized for its day, and their brutal supression of locals (Ireland, China, India...). Further compare our behavior to that of the Roman Empire, that sine qua non of empires, and our behavior becomes all the more shocking in its pacifism (illustration: how many languages have a word for "killed every tenth member of a population"? Latin does: "decimate").

Here, we have the freedom to be mostly left alone - yes, there are busybodies on the right and the left, who have utopian aspirations, but the sensible middle generally doesn't let them get too much traction. (example: instead of banning violent { music | movies | games } we have mandatory labelling/ratings so that individuals can make more informed choices. Not exactly the Orwellian type of censorship, eh?). This is a place where we can live and let live, guided by and mindful of the inalienable rights granted to each of us by our Creator - that we are all created equal, and we all have the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (interestingly, the original slogan was "life, liberty, and property" which makes the modern willingness to deprive people of their property either through excessive taxation or outright takings [c.f. the Kelo decision of the SCOTUS] all the more disquieting).

Are we perfect? Of course not. Are our ideals and goals far, far higher than any other nation? Hell yeah. Do we, in striving for such lofty goals, do right most of the time? You betcha.

So lift a glass of an American beverage (Coke, beer, wine, whiskey), and be thankful that a bunch of patricians in Virginia and New England had the foresight to see a world where the freedom to challenge the government was the norm, and fought like hell to build it.

Current Location: not in one of the 50 States
Current Mood: hopefulpatriotic
Current Music: Psychefunkapus, "Slut Child"
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