THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 671, May 20, 2012
"Mitt Romney is just Barack Hussein Obama II
riding an elephant instead of a jackass"
Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
"You don't want the truth, because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall! You need me on that wall! We use words like 'honor,' 'code,' 'loyalty.' We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline! I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just said 'Thank you,' and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to!"
No. You do not provide freedom. You cannot provide freedom. Providing freedom would be like providing enlightenment. It cannot be done.
If you shine a light on the path toward enlightenment, you can sometimes help another person find their way. You can show them techniques, tricks, short cuts, ways of thinking that have worked well for others, but you cannot walk their path. There is no such thing as providing enlightenment.
Even if the Buddha were alive, and you met him, he could not provide you enlightenment. Thus the zen koan "If you meet the Buddha on the road to your enlightenment, kill him." Why? Because you are not searching for the Buddha, you are searching for your Buddha-nature, for your own enlightenment. What you need is not an external saviour, but an internal examination of yourself by yourself. Your path is not outside of you, it is within. Stay on your path. Light your own fire.
Similarly, I cannot free you. You cannot be freed. If you mean to be free, if you mean to have that inestimable value which has been so long sought by so many generations, you must free yourself. You must choose to keep going, even when you hear the dogs, even when you see the lights in the woods chasing you, you must free yourself. You must choose to disobey, you must break your own chains, you must break free, you must break away, if you wish to be free.
So, for all the Colonel Jessups out there: You do not provide. You do not provide security. All security is an illusion. All you provide is the threat of force. You do not provide freedom because freedom cannot be provided, it must be found, it must be sought, it must be chosen.
You will be asked to celebrate Memorial Day soon, in many North American cities. You'll be asked to remember the dead, especially those who died in war, who fought for "the flag," and "the country," and for "honour." You may even visit a cemetery and decorate some graves. For those who fought on the other side in the war for Southern independence, there is another memorial day, a Confederate memorial day, which is commemorated on different days in different places.
Maybe you thought you were fighting for such things as flag, country, honour, freedom, a constitutionally limited government, the bill of rights, but if you were, you were misled. Certainly, you failed to provide.
If you seek monuments to the failure of the military to uphold and defend the constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic, you have but to look around you. The president has asserted a false authority to execute Americans without trial, and has used it. The military operates indefinite detention centres. Habeas corpus has been suspended. The military inflicts cruel and unusual punishment, torture, through direct physical means, in flagrant violation of the bill of rights. Drones patrol American cities. Protesters are shot, tasered, clubbed, and beaten, despite their first amendment freedom to assemble, to petition for redress, to speak. Even the press, who seek only to document the militarised police in their brutality, are frequently attacked and beaten.
Where is the freedom of which you speak when you claim to provide freedom, Colonel Jessup? It is not anywhere near the walls you claim to defend. It is not anywhere near the government. Such freedom as may still be found in America is found where men and women choose to live free, despite the government, where you aren't noticing them.
You may ask, now, what is it that you do provide? Profits. You provide profits to the war profiteers, to the owners of major corporations such as Boeing, Lockheed, Halliburton, KBR, and others which use your loyalty and your discipline to inflict pain and suffering on other people, including civilians in your country, while taking home enormous salaries and profits. War is a racket, you are a racketeer.
You have been trained to obey. Your task is harder than the task of others who have not been trained to obedience. Your task is harder because you have been conditioned by the military to be a way that is not normal for people to be, but which has become second nature to you. Yet your task is the same.
Disobey. Your chains: break them.
Choose for yourself this day who ye shall serve. Serve your self-interest. Serve freedom. Choose to be free. Walk away from the servility of service and obedience. Be upright and proud.
You are a human being. You were born free. Arouse from your slumber and shed your chains that, like dew, had fallen on you while you slept. Wake up.