I feel like I’m confronting the challenges of existence pretty effectively, with the following exceptions: the inevitability of death, freedom and its attendant responsibility, existential isolation, and meaninglessness.
Notes from the Golden Orange
EppsNet Archive: Freedom
The video below shows documentary filmmaker Ami Horowitz asking Yale students to sign a petition aimed at repealing the First Amendment. Horowitz was able to collect more than 50 signatures in less than an hour in what he called an “unbelievable display of total stupidity.”
or why should my freedom be judged by another’s conscience? — I Corinthians 10:29
Let it be known: I did not fall from grace. I leapt to freedom.
I would rather die having spoken after my manner, than speak in your manner and live. — Socrates
Almost all of the projects of social reformers of these days are really liberticide.
Gov’t delays requiring rearview cameras in cars — Associated Press
Rearview cameras in cars seem like a good idea. Who wants to accidentally back over a child or a pet, right? It’s upsetting, not to mention whoever the child or pet belonged to is probably going to hold it against you forever.
Let’s make rearview cameras required by law.
In fact, let’s make rearview and frontview cameras required, because kids and pets can get under the front of your car too, and running over them is bad, no matter what direction you’re going.
I’ve seen TV commercials where cars can detect obstacles in their path and stop automatically to avoid a collision. That’s great. Let’s make that required too.
In fact, let’s make so many features required by law that you can’t even buy a car anymore for less than $50,000.
You know what else is a good idea? Freedom, which is the reason we started up this country in the first place. Let people buy and sell whatever they want.
EppsNet stands behind Joyce Carol Oates in this Twitstorm, in opposition to those who think that while raping women may be a bad thing, what’s really deplorable is freedom of thought and questioning theocracy. In solidarity, we publish a couple of previously unseen (because they’re terrible) photos of the two of us taken with Mark Twain in the Doe Library at UC Berkeley.
Frankly, one of our political parties is insane, and we all know which one it is. They have descended from the realm of reasonableness that was the mark of conservatism. They dream of anarchy, of ending government.
My fellow Americans —
I’ll tell you who’s insane: anyone who’s not dreaming of anarchy at this moment in history is insane. People forget that this great nation was founded by anarchists, born out of an armed revolution against a corrupt government.
As I said at the time, “Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”
I assure you, though, that regrettably neither current political party dreams of anarchy. They both dream of exactly the same things: self-aggrandizement and rewarding their most powerful supporters with political spoils.
The well-known liberal cartoonist Ted Rall wrote a book a couple of years ago advocating a new American revolution. Unfortunately, while popular uprisings do continue to occur around the world, I am not optimistic that it will ever happen again in America.
The great majority of our citizens now are far more informed about fantasy football and reality TV than they are about current events. They understand politics at only the most simple-minded level: Team Red vs. Team Blue.
I’m Team Blue! Let’s go, Blue! BOOOOO, Team Red! Or vice versa.
Notice, for example, that all of the things that Team Blue hated so much about the George W. Bush administration are okay now that they’re being carried out by President Obama.
Obama didn’t stop the wars or the torture or the spying. He’s just as cozy with Wall Street. Gitmo is still open for “prolonged detention.” Moreover, he’s killing foreign civilians, and sometimes American citizens, with drone strikes, and he’s eliminating whatever civil liberties you think you have left.
Torture and war and economic collapse don’t matter as long as they’re being supervised by my team! Go Blue! We’ll all be in a gulag in 10 years. Go Blue!
Some despotic regimes around the world rely on starvation and threats of violence to keep the people in a state of submissive compliance. Here in America, the same collective stupor is effected via mindless entertainments and gadgetry.
I should raise myself out of depression, paralysis and failure and resist this massive government/corporate dystopia — but I might miss my TV programs.
In 1776, we decided that being Americans meant being free men and women, not serfs and lackeys. We mutually pledged to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor to throw off the abuses and usurpations of the Government, and to secure the blessings of Liberty.
How soon they forget.
I bid you God speed,
Thomas Jefferson, anarchist
everything is permitted
absolute freedom of movement
that is, without leaving the cage
2+2 doesn’t make 4:
once it made 4 but
today nothing is known in this regard
nd now, do You see those stones in this parched and barren desert? Turn them into loaves of bread and men will follow You like cattle, grateful and docile, although constantly fearful lest You withdraw Your hand and they lose Your loaves. . . . You thought, what sort of freedom would they have if their obedience was bought with bread? You replied that man does not live by bread alone. . . .
So, in the end, they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, “Enslave us but feed us!” And they will finally understand that freedom and the assurance of daily bread for everyone are two incompatible notions that could never co-exist! . . .
They will marvel at us and worship us like gods, because, by becoming their masters, we have accepted the burden of freedom that they were too frightened to face, just because we have agreed to rule over them — that is how terrifying freedom will have become to them finally! . . .
I tell You once more that man has no more pressing, agonizing need than the need to find someone to whom he can hand over as quickly as possible the gift of freedom with which the poor wretch comes into the world. . . .
We have corrected Your work and have now founded it on miracle, mystery and authority. And men rejoice at being led like cattle again, with the terrible gift of freedom that brought them so much suffering removed from them. . . .
They will tell us the secrets that most torment their consciences, they will tell us everything, and we shall solve all their problems, and they will trust to our solutions completely, because they will be rid of the terrible worry and the frightening torment they know today when they have to decide for themselves how to act.
I don’t have a problem with someone using their talents to become successful, I just don’t think the highest calling is success. Things like freedom and the expansion of knowledge are beyond success, beyond the personal. Personal success is not wrong, but it is limited in importance, and once you have enough of it it is a shame to keep striving for that, instead of for truth, beauty, or justice.
- the use of more words than are necessary to express an idea; redundancy.
- an instance of this, as free gift or true fact.
My fellow Americans —
“Offended Muslims” — there’s a pleonasm for you!
The embassy in Egypt, hoping to pacify the attackers, issued a statement opposing “continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”
DISAGREE! We should be APPLAUDING efforts to offend religious believers. We should be STEPPING UP efforts to offend religious believers.
My friends and I risked everything — including our lives, that’s how important it was to us — to ensure that Americans could speak their minds without interference from government.
Religion is all horseshit anyway. There’s no God. There’s no Allah. It’s all a bunch of made-up bullshit. Fairy tales!
As John Lennon — an Englishman, but otherwise a good bloke — used to say: Imagine no religion . . .
What the market does is to reduce greatly the range of issues that must be decided through political means, and thereby to minimize the extent to which government need participate directly in the game. The characteristic feature of action through political channels is that it tends to require or enforce substantial conformity. The great advantage of the market, on the other hand, is that it permits wide diversity. It is, in political terms, a system of proportional representation. Each man can vote, as it were, for the color of tie he wants and get it; he does not have to see what color-the majority wants and then, if he is in the minority, submit.
It is this feature of the market that we refer to when we say that the market provides economic freedom. But this characteristic also has implications that go far beyond the narrowly economic. Political freedom means the absence of coercion of a man by his fellow men. The fundamental threat to freedom is power to coerce, be it in the hands of a monarch, a dictator, an oligarchy, or a momentary majority. The preservation of freedom requires the elimination of such concentration of power to the fullest possible extent and the dispersal and distribution of whatever power cannot be eliminated – a system of checks and balances. By removing the organization of economic activity from the control of political authority, the market eliminates this source of coercive power. It enables economic strength to be a check to political power rather than a reinforcement.
Town of Onondaga, NY — A Parish man who was participating in a motorcycle helmet protest ride was killed this afternoon when he went over the handlebars of his motorcycle and injured his head on the pavement, state police said.
Posting this for the irony, not because I think helmet laws are a good thing.
Should we require people to wear crash helmets in their cars? It would save a lot more lives than motorcycle helmet laws.
Hard-working Americans should not be forced to protect themselves from fatal head injuries.
We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s own attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficial. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greater dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.
Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
Libertarianism rests on two bedrock beliefs: human freedom is a great good and the public sector tends to screw things up. The first belief is based more on faith than empirical result; the second derives from millennia of human experience.