More and more, it begins to look as if my friend Claire and I might just be one more example validating the “great minds think alike” hypothesis.
It’s true. We’re most free when we can just take our freedom for granted.
But you see the problem there, of course. Our not thinking about freedom leaves control freaks free to pursue our enslavement. Then by the time we’re aware of what they’re doing, it may be too late.
In theory, it’s possible to set up bulwarks that operate more-or-less automatically against government-gone-mad (constitutions, decentralized political structures), but in practice few of them work very well or very long.
Now, living an age of despotism whose manic growth we’re compelled to witness during 24/7 news cycles, we have to be on constant watch, right down to a fight-or-flight biological level. Because even if we’ve chosen the course of maximum freedom we still need to know, and move in response to, what’s coming at us.
HOW we move in response is up to our discretion, and I think most of us realize that political action — other than on the most local levels — is just playing the game Our Glorious Rulers want us to play.
Later this year, barring some more dramatic form of manipulation, we’ll cheer as the R-party broom sweeps the D-party dust out of office. Pundits will pund. Hands will be virally wrung. The End of Democracy will come ’round once more. On the winning side, cheers will be cheered. Promises will be promoted. Freedom will be rung. Swamps will be threatened with draining.
And not a damn thing will change. Except a few cosmetics, which the next power turnover will bring back.
Still, we will watch the coming turnover and want desperately to be happy about it. Because the alternative is…
Plenty more left to take in here, every word of it Gold Medal-winning quality, spanning several categories: Reasoning, Composition, Logical Cohesiveness, and Analysis. What I’ve come to really enjoy over the years Claire and I been reading each other’s work is that at times, each of us seems to be channeling the other’s thoughts. We’re almost always in complete agreement with each others’ conclusions, and then we toddle off to write about the topic of the day in very different styles, rhythms, and phrasing.
This interplay between the friction-free synchronication of our intellectual gearworks, juxtaposed with our operational variances of style and craft just intrigues all hell outta me. I’ve been noticing our odd same thoughts/different words relationship for a goodish while now, and it tickles me good. I consider it both strange and wonderful, as the reformed KGB goon/hot dog cart operator said of America towards the end of Moscow On The Hudson.
Some shrink really oughta write a book about us, I believe. Anyhoo, back to the esteemed Miz’riz Wolfe* for the closer.
The Crazy—and the Crazies—will not win. In the long run, they can’t win because the world operates on realities, and realities always reassert themselves. Kipling knew. Everybody with a grasp of how reality operates knows.
The Crazies can do—and are doing and will do—a whale of a lot of damage in the short run. And the short run could last a painfully long time. They’ll blight a society and perhaps even bring it down. They’ll provoke a backlash that could lead to a Nehemiah Scudder or worse.
Havoc they will create. Suffering they will impose. Confusion they will sew. A million individual tragedies they will have to answer for. Tyranny they are already grimly advancing. But win? No, they will not. Because reality always triumphs in the end. And in that battle the Crazies are by definition on the losing side.
Havoc they’ll create, suffering they will impose? Not if we stop them with all the mail-fisted BANG, ZOOM!™ we can unleash on their empty heads, they won’t. The one and only reason their tyrannical agenda has grimly advanced as far as it has is because Our Side has sat passively back on our soft, flubbery haunches and allowed it to happen without so nuch as a token gesture of pushback from us. That speaks quite poorly of Real Americans, a real-world example which soundly rubbishes all their puffed-up gasbaggery declaring how very, very much they love “Muh freedumbs!!” Sorry, Cletus, but I’m afraid I’m gonna need to see some viable, no-shit proof of your rock-solid commitment to individual liberty before I’ll be willing to swallow any more of that empty, chest-thumping flummery again.
The link Claire helpfully provides in the above excerpt, in case you hadn’t guessed already, is to Rudyard Kipling’s seminal poem The Gods Of The Copybook Headings. The choice to bring up this particular work is only meet and just, seeing as how Gods… is one of Kipling’s many timeless masterpieces that somehow never offers a single hint of the stale aroma that typically wafts off the outdated, the irrelevant, or the no longer applicable. You can love him, you can hate him, but you can’t gainsay his insight, the solid truth behind it, nor his powerful way of expreesing it. Same deal with Claire Wolfe. Any poor soul foolish enough to contradict her does so at his own risk.
*When I was a wee grade-school tyke, there was a black kid in the same class with me who couldn’t pronounce “Mrs” for the life of him, folding, spindling, and mutilating it into the closest approximation he could gargle out: “Miz’riz.” Which, interestingly enough, may not be as goofy and incorrect as it first appears. See, “Mrs” was originally used as a contraction for “Mistress,” and is almost never seen in fully spelled-out form. Actually, there IS no standardized, officially-approved spelling; it was always just plain old “Mrs,” and that’s it