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L. Neil Smith's
Number 713, March 24, 2013

"Nobel Peace Laureate with a Kill List"

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Musings on Freedom
by Neale Osborn

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Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

I just wrote this, in response to a forum on the 1st Amendment, and some people's claim that America was never free, and cannot be.

We do happen to live in the greatest experiment/country mankind has tried so far. We started out with the highest ideals. We started out flawed, with slavery and a limited "citizenry", but we created the mechanism to correct those flaws. Some we corrected relatively painlessly, others took bloodshed and a huge chunk of time. Many here have told me "If you don't like the way things are done here, you damn anarchist/libertarian/republican/whatever, move somewhere else!" (usually, they want me in Somalia, because they think Somalia is a volunary anarchy..... but I digress). my response is always the same. "No. America may not be perfect, but unlike any other country in the world, we have two things going for us. We deliberately set this country up so that We, the People, providing we want to work at it, can change the direction of this country at any time.

And the other thing we deliberately did was ensure that We, the People, had the physical power in our posession to forcibly change the direction of that government should that government ever became so tyrannical that it decided to ignore our voices."

I believe this with all my heart, soul, and intellect. I believe that we have lost our way, but the path is not that far away or too hard to reach. It will take some work. Some pain (not from violence, but rather from self-discipline causing us to deny ourselves some things until we can afford them without debt), Thus, I will never abandon this experiment. I will fight, with thought, word, and example, for the restoration of that dream of our forefathers. The dream they were too flawed to see completed, but laid the groundwork for. It is why I am so damn extremist in my defense of our right to keep and bear arms. It is why I speak my mind, and explain what I think and feel, and even more importantly WHY I think and feel that way. It is why, with rare exceptions. I will argue with some people till my face turns blue, rather than walk away from the fight. Because I believe that only by doing so can my country, flawed though it is, still be the shining beacon it has always been. People do not illegally enter ANY other country in numbers of over 1 million a year because America sucks. The freedoms we bitch about being diminished are so much more than most of these "illegals" ever had. Some bitch about illegals "taking our jobs', while ignoring the fact that they take jobs no American wants to do. These "illegals ARE the American dream. They ARE our future, if we can only stop fighting over them, and learn from them what America is really about. Freedom.

People want our guns. To be able to take our freedoms away. People want to restrict our speech. To be able to take our freedoms away. People want to force upon us a "politically correct" form of speech. To be able to prevent our disagreeing with their taking our freedoms away. And they can only succeed if WE, the PEOPLE, surrender those freedoms. They cannot take them without our co-operation. We must be convinced to don the chains of slavery voluntarily. We must give up our final, dreadful, defense against tyranny in order for them to succeed. We must decide to stop fighting ANY oppression, even oppression that purports to be for our own good, our own safety, our own convenience. This is something we cannot do if we wish to remain free. We must KEEP these freedoms in order to be Americans.

Freedom isn't necessarily comfortable. Freedom MUST include the right to fail. To starve. To make bad choices. To do bad things (and to defnd AGAINST those who would do bad things!) To succeed beyond our wildest dreams, and keep what we earned. We must be free to be human beings. Flawed, but ever-striving to change. To grow. To be better. Or fail in the attempt. Freedom isn't free. In fact, it isn't even cheap. It can ONLY be achieved by sacrifice, pain, and sometimes failure. It can hurt. And it is the most wonderful thing in the world to be free. I am free. No man, no government, will ever take my freedom. The most they can do is kill me. Again, I say that beautiful phrase, that so many have told me is trite and outmoded. But it is true "To this, I pledge my life, my fortune, my sacred honor."

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