The Price of Freedom

Warning — I avoid talking politics most of the time. It upsets people.  This is one of those times that I can’t help myself.  If you’re likely to get upset, paticularly at an outside view of America, then don’t read this post. You’ll just burst a blood vessel or something.

You ever see the movie “Men in Black” ?  There wasn’t an incredible amount of intellectual substance to that movie, but it was entertaining. There was one quote from it however that has stuck with me and proven to be true over and over again.

“A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky animals and you know it.”

This is true. People can be smart. I work with smart people every day, I went to uni with a lot of smart people.  To say Australians are stupid, or even Americans are stupid, would simply not be true.

But people are dumb. Despite the smart individuals that make up Australia and America, people are dumb. We’ve let John Howard and George Bush into power. Dumb. We let them overtax us (in Aus’ case) and make us look like assholes to the rest of the world. Dumb.

And now, America has shat all over the geneva conventions. Not even honestly, they havnt come out and said “We now condone torture and prisoner of war internment camps.”, instead they redefine what torture actually is.  I’m reminded of the South Park movie, where Canadian’s were rounded up into “Happy Camps”.

I don’t want to go on at length about this Military bill thats been passed into law now, lots of places are making the implications very clear.  We’re not a whole lot better over here, John Howard has expanded ASIO’s allowances until no-one is really sure what they can do. Probably kidnap me in my sleep and hit me with rubber hoses, just like over at Guantanamo.

I had a point.  American’s (as a people, not individuals. Remember, person smart, people dumb) don’t seem to show a lot of respect for other cultures as a whole. The average American is far more interested in what previous Americans had to say than previous or current foreigners – and theres something to be said for that.

Well, it was Thomas Jefferson who said ” The Price of Freedom is eternal Vigilance.”

It occurs to me that George Bush would love that quote, and would tie it up in tales of watching terrorists and being ready for them.  You have to remember though, particularly from the founding fathers point of view.  They all still remembered what happened back in England. They’d seen governments who cared nothing for their people.  Eternal Vigilance has to be against your government as well – or even foremost. For it is your own government, not some mythical terrorist, who will take away -your- freedoms.

Benjamin Franklin said it best, and I think he would cry to see America today.  “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither, and lose both.”


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