Essay | Remembering Liberty
By Henry Nicolle - 2008
There is an aphorism which goes "all politics are local". "Local", of course, is a flexible term - "local", like between you and your boyfriend, or "local" like here on this planet of the "local" solar system.
"Local" includes a temporal aspect. "Local politics" as a descriptive term is meaningless without including the moment of observation. The political view from 1960 of Seattle's Sinners is hardly recognizable today as a view from the same window.
Politics equals Liberty! Do you have them both or not? I suspect that you do not, but that you truly believe that you do. You were born into a time and place where liberty is not Liberty and so nobody wants to be political. It is a construct that politically creative people have defined as the "kind of liberty deemed acceptable and allowed in this time and for this place". It is not Liberty as I would define it.
I also believe that both Liberty and Freedom are singular terms, because if you lose one "Freedom", how can you claim to be free? If you lose one aspect of Liberty, how can you claim it at all? If you willingly bend your neck and submit to another human's will, can you be even human? I'm not talking about giving up your bus seat to a cripple or an expectant mother with kids in tow or individual rape, pillage, plunder and murder. I'm talking about allowing someone no different than you to command you when and under what conditions you may enjoy Your Individual Liberty. Whose Liberty is superior to yours? Do two people have more Liberty together than you do alone? Does society have more liberty than you or I do as individuals? Now, think about it!
Let's even out the comparison. If you are stronger, smarter and have more stuff than a hundred other of your fellow humans, is your Liberty superior so that can you define and enforce your idea of their Liberty? Can they decide that their group Liberty is greater than yours and so they can take your stuff and tell you what to do?
If we are free individuals, we would enjoy our Liberty, unconcerned for other opinion. This is a rare idea.
Since servitude is all you know and all you have ever known, it is "Liberty" real and true to you. I am from a different time and place. I know it to be servitude. I have never known true Liberty, but I have lived a lot closer to it than most. I know servitude by the stink of it in my nostrils.
Our governments have one single purpose and function. To preserve our individual rights. They have failed with great deliberation and efficiency. Our rights are none.
Can you imagine a country, a state, a city, a town or neighborhood where people were actually free? A moment in which one could rise or fall in business, society or politics on the strength of their ability and character? Where we each held the means of life and death in our own hands, for the defense of our own liberty and property?
I can already hear the screams for someone to call 911 and remove this anti-social aboriginal before he hurts himself. Yes... not before he hurts someone, but before he hurts himself. We are so civilized. So civilized that we cannot leave our dwelling without multiple permissions - permission to be in public, (Let's see some I.D.!) - permission to own property for traveling (Let's see your Registration, Drivers License and Insurance) - Uh Oh - an involuntary contract! Is that part of Liberty, or is it part of submission to some superior Liberty?
You don't consider your chains. You've been castrated, but the benefits outweigh the burdens. It never occurred to you that you had no voice in the decision to alter you, your Liberty and your human capacity.
In another time, in the same location, you would have defended your Liberty to the death. Today, you are more willing to die than to speak other than "Yes, Sir" and "No, Sir". "Yes, Ma'am" and "No, Ma'am". "May I make payments?" "May I go to traffic school?" "May I have work-furlough?" "May I have some more, please?"
I am sympathetic to the evolution of our state of mind. I am appalled at our ignorance and apathy. I am outraged at the cowardice and acceptance. But who am I? Like you, Liberty Lost. The difference is that I care and I am fighting to regain what I have lost and for that portion I never had. There is but one Master in my life and that is me for mine. Try to change that. I dare you.
Leonidas to Xerxes demand to surrender arms and Liberty: "Mol'n labe!" (Come and take them.)