Monday, March 26, 2012

Sometimes you just gotta lighten up.

Brava, Claire!

Love and Freedom
Yes, our freedom is imperiled. Every person reading this is well aware of that. We could all list hundreds of threats to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And of course, if we actually cherish freedom, we’ll be doing something(s) to keep it.

But if we actually cherish freedom, we’ll also enjoy what we have of it. And what we have of life. And we’ll balance the “fighting” side of our lives with the “living” side.

Right now. Not in some imaginary future when all the politicians and bureaucrats have gotten out of our way and the handful of remaining laws (if any) are to our personal satisfaction.

But NOW. Because if we can’t embrace our freedom now, when can we?

Hard as it may be to believe (HA!) I was once just this side of a candidate for the funny farm. Seriously, I was paranoid as all hell, to the point of hiding in dark places with a loaded shotgun. Love freedom? Yeah, I loved freedom but it was like the kind of love you feel when you see the object of that love turned into a gory smear on the Interstate. I was ready to die, and all I asked was that I get to take some enemies with me.

That's no way to live. And it took a long time to ask myself the question Claire asks us all,
Why do we choose — and it is a choice — to be so freaking grim? Why do so many of us feel that if we’re not at some psychological watch-post 24 hours a day we’re somehow failing in our duty to ... freedom?

George Herbert, whoever he was, said "Living well is the best revenge." I have found that true. So many people, too many of whom have Internet pulpits from which to scream, have not quite grocked that simple fact and spend their time hollering about "lines in the sand" and such. That has its charms, and I've done it myself, but what does it really accomplish? If the enemies of freedom are really evil, in their effect if not their stated intentions, what good does it do to structure your whole life around hating them for it? That only makes them important and importance is, after all, exactly what they want. Yes, activism has its place - god bless the activists. But a good belly laugh is also an excellent answer to their depredations. The one thing a bully - especially one who's bullying you for your own good - can't STAND is to be ignored. Or noticed only to the extent of laughing at them.

At some point, if you really want to be free, you need to just get on with being free. If you wait for the world to free you, well, let's face the fact that neither you nor I will likely live that long.

Don't just dream about freedom. Don't just wish the world were free, and for god's sake don't spend your days and nights railing helplessly about all the ways your freedom has been stolen. Be free. Go out and DO freedom.

Does that mean breaking the occasional rule? Oh, hell yes. That's the fun of it. Ride your motorcycle without a helmet. Pour copious amounts of salt on your non-FDA-approved hamburger. Buy your kid a Happy Meal. Carry a gun without a permit. Hell, build a house without a permit. Braid somebody's hair without a license. Get your favorite rifle a barrel with a bayonet lug. Blow something (not yourself or innocent others) up. Do it just because it annoys people. Or it would, if they knew about it. It's not necessary to tell them.

It's the only life you're ever going to have, so have more fun! Who ever said life has to be a life sentence?

I know I've said it before, and judging from the comments when I say it I'm pissing into the wind but that's okay: Nobody can make you free. Nobody can give you your freedom and nobody can take freedom away from you. All anybody can really do is make you more sneaky. Freedom, in this world at least, isn't a set of established liberties that everybody has agreed to respect. It's an ATTITUDE, and you need to take it for yourself and LIVE it. You can be free on a private floaty island of your own, and you can be free in the deepest dungeon. A slave is someone who waits for others to free him, so don't be a slave.

And if you need the words of a philosopher to make it all okay, then I give you the enlightened words of the Divine Ms. M (NSFW):



Anonymous said...

You're not pissing into the wind today, Joel.

Freedom is NOT free, but it sure can be FUN.

Thank you.


MamaLiberty said...

Yes indeed. That's exactly why I left California and moved to Wyoming. A lot more free... and I'm enjoying it. :)

Craig Cavanaugh said...

Unfortunately, Freedom gets you arrested around here. Gotta get me a place outten da hills like you got. Then I can be Free. Until then it's utility bills, registration and insurance, traveling 10 miles and paying 10 bucks each for the "privilege" of shooting my guns, laying out exorbitant sums just for gas to travel back and forth for wage slavery. Wife + children = slave of the state. Or I could live in my truck while paying child support...

Kevin Wilmeth said...

Love this, Joel. I saw Claire's article earlier, and am happy to see that you added your own distinctive stamp to the idea.

A good reminder all around, and there's great fodder both for the prurient, agitator-side of me:

The one thing a bully - especially one who's bullying you for your own good - can't STAND is to be ignored. Or noticed only to the extent of laughing at them.

Good point! And you've also got something for the "eyes on the prize" side which should always dominate the proceedings:

Nobody can make you free. Nobody can give you your freedom and nobody can take freedom away from you. All anybody can really do is make you more sneaky.

Ah, amen. Now, to make sure that I remember that message, myself, first.

(That's more important to me than it may sound. I have two girls to live up to, and I want them to notice the part that's fun, first.)

Thank you for the reminder.

Nathan said...

Nicely put.

Dad (who was not generally wont to curse, but who was, after all, a veteran of the Big War against the goose-steppers) used to say, "Fuck 'em all, the long and the short and the tall."

It was my privilege to grok that from an early age.

Joan of Argghh! said...

Awesome post! It took a whole day out working on my old sailboat to remind me that, in spite of current difficulties, the freedom of having a little something to thrust back into the face of adversity is a rare and treasured thing.

(sent here from Tam's porch.)

Ken said...

Very well said, sir, and timely too. Life is short, and liberty matters a lot (and thus, opposing those who seek to claim some or all of our lives), but other things matter too.

Joanna said...

CraigCavanaugh up there has officially Missed The Point Of This Post. Paying rent and utilities and (generally) following Da Rulez doesn't make you a slave any more than wearing a dog collar makes you a dog. It's your attitude toward those things that determines whether you're a slave or free. Take ownership of your life, your condition and the choices you made that got you there, and you'll be freer than any mountain man living out in the bush.

Cormac said...

The first time I stumbled (or staggered) across, I read this quote:
"Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. - MaxedOutMama"
And realized that being offended, and being able to offend and outrage others, is a beautiful thing. So, now, even as my blood pressure rises, I can smile. :-)