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Passion Played Out
Essay by Henry Nicolle


Deadlines for life’s little events come and go with little fanfare. We’re born, we live and we die. That’s life in the real world. How long and how well we exist between birth and death is a matter of deadlines. There is a short period called infancy during which we are totally vulnerable and dependent upon strangers.

This is particularly true for first-born, because the caretakers are usually first-time parents, young, ignorant and inexperienced. I am surprised that so many of us live through this period at all, even more so that we generally arrive at childhood unscathed, un-scarred and unbroken. But, we do. And that is good.

What is not so good is that the experience instills an unwarranted belief that age, education and experience (and violent imposition) automatically produce good life decisions and caretakers worthy of presumptions of authority and tolerable violence of power. Is it not a better thing that people with knowledge gained by education, age and experience should guide the circumstances of our lives and order our individual conduct to a successful society than to allow ordinary citizens to stumble through life willy-nilly, without guidance other than their own ideas and self-interest, unmarked by any specific goal of good for society? Where would we be if we all went our own way?


Well, I, for one, believe that that’s a really, really good question.Where would we be, exactly, if we had been left to our own self-determination and did not have to overcome the massive and repetitive (murderous, in fact) burdens of our violence-imposed social leadership? If self-determination is so bad for society, why did we found a nation on the premise that individuals are born with inherent rights and liberty and that their (our) society should prosper or fail as the sum of efforts of self-determined members of the society?

When did we decide to give ourselves over to a ruling class? Why do we not recognize our gift squandered as the deadlines of our lives swiftly approach and pass? Why do we not recognize that our own knowledge by education, age and experience better prepare us for our own self-expression than any expert with a whip or prison or bayonet? Whose life do we live, anyway? It is the only one we have, as you and I must agree. Why do we give it away so freely to other people who demand it of us? If our lives are given at the threat of violence, is it because we prefer to give up our lives upon demand in order to live without violence? What do we gain, if our life is not ours, except to avoid the violence invited by our preference to live our lives for ourselves?

I know... I get it! We are willing to give most of our lives to people who want it for themselves because they want it for themselves! How cool. How generous of us. Our lives, lived for our own purposes would be mostly wasted in idle frivolity. The people who take our lives do not demand all of it, at least not most of the time. And the benefits of submission are tangible... unlike the unmeasurable benefits of idle frivolity.

Our lives are taken and used by people with ambition for great works and their great works can be seen and appreciated. They were not our ideas, not our desires for the expense of our lives, but by golly, we played our part! Don’t be shy... you’re a part, aren’t you? It cost you a quarter of your life and your children will pay with their lives as well, but ain’t it grand?

This was an essay without a real start and without a finish. It is a never-ending tale of woe, transposed into an epic of historic proportion. It must be. It will be. It can be nothing other, until we perceive and respect the value of our own initiative and profit for our individual selves. It is not a selfish thing to be self-respecting and self-determining. It is the highest capacity possible at the expense of our life between birth and death.

The heart and soul of a living society is woven from the tears and sweat, laugher, joy and sorrow, the creative and friendly, voluntary cooperation of a free association of men and women each seeking the best for themselves. The mortal enemy of social prosperity, liberty and happiness of society is achievement by violence, domination and coercion for the “benefit of society”! It is a temporary, living death.

Our third war for Liberty is at our doorstep. Soon, we will decide if our lives will be ours to live or a gift to our rulers.

Liberty is never Easy, Safe or totally Free!


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