Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Let freedom….

A few weeks ago a great old friend from my childhood traveled up from Florida to NY with his family and together we barbequed with my family in the backyard.  Talk of Independence Day reminded me of how my friend was a fireworks aficionado.  When we were kids, in the late sixties, he would often remind me that 1976 was gonna be the big one.  I remember him foretelling of an all night celebration with crazy amounts of rockets everywhere.

My father was a fireworks heckler.  One year when I was a teenager, perhaps it was 1976 (though full clarity escapes me on this), my father remarkably agreed to let me shoot off some firecrackers in front of our house.  But there were rules.  I could only do one at a time—and what fun was that?  

Well…he devised some sort of pipe that he angled into our front garden.  Again, like the single at a time rule, he was opting for maximum control.  Oddly enough, each crack was magnified and sounded like a mini cannon.  If I sit quietly I can still hear the ringing in my left ear.  I’m sure the resulting effect was not what my father had planned. 

Over planning has its own set of pitfalls.  When overdoing something, I sometimes think about Isaac Newton and what he said about every action having an equal and opposite reaction.  Then I begin to think of moderating the course of action a bit.  Not that I can promote moderation as having any glitz or special attraction, I can’t.  But when thinking about equal and opposite reactions, and without knowing a time frame, avoiding the outlying choice of gluttony and the opposing choice of deprivation seems to be wise.  Gluttony let to run amuck can be about as devastating as deprivation winding up to backfire.  

When a government feels entitled to gather all the metadata it wants and the people just shrug their shoulders I see both gluttony and deprivation in play.

When not enough people favor closing the loophole on background checks and too many people think the second amendment simply grants hunters the right to own a gun I see gluttony and deprivation in play. 

When the NYPD thinks there is no need to independently monitor their stop and frisk tactics and some people get detained on a regular basis I see gluttony and deprivation in play.

When one day, instead of a salad, I may want to order bacon, egg and cheese on something hydrogenated and I might not be able to wash it all down with a Big Gulp….I will think of gluttony verse deprivation.

Prohibition didn’t work for good reason.  We need to learn for ourselves.    

Is that easy?  Of course it is not.  And as a society it requires great cooperation because we need to balance my freedoms, his freedoms, her freedoms and their freedoms.

Perfect and pure can be thrown out the window.  They will never reign. 

It is disappointing though to see how often we work to chip away and gnaw off one another’s freedom.  Especially for a nation that tops off a building’s spire at the 1776 foot mark to celebrate its freedom.  

Someday it may be hard to read the whittled away bottom line.  Perhaps as difficult as it would be to read the bottom of the bent and battered license plate of an old pick-up truck driven through the dirt back roads and rugged terrain in the White Mountains of New Hampshire for several years.  

We may have to get down on our hands and knees with a magnifying glass in hand in order to read about what we build towers to proclaim ….”Live Free or Die”.

I hope that never happens.  If it does, then all those grand pyrotechnic shows will ring out just about as loud as a single dud.

© 2013 Christopher’s Views


  1. A wonderful, insightful post as always, Christopher, thank you for your thoughts. I , too, hope that never happens.


  2. You're right! Freedom has an ironic ring -a hollow ring to it - in the light of so many scandals, especially the latest one with Snowden... Freedom really is just an illusion if we don't react.

  3. Maybe people shrug their shoulders at the government's gathering of "everything about everyone" because they aren't surprised; they have been used to their personal data being accessed by others for such a long time.

    Our (the German) chancellor has promised "rückhaltlose Aufklärung", where Germany and its citizens are concerned. That literally means "total clarification", with no holding back. How serious she is about this, I don't know. None of our leaders wants to risk the (more or less) good relationships to the other leaders over this, not even Putin.

  4. amen man...esp on when our freedoms rub up against each other...entitlement is the word that comes to mind...we feel entitled to our personal and selfish freedom more than a nationalist freedom and that will come back and bite us on the ass...

  5. Without question one of your best Chris!!! The gluttony/deprivation dynamic (on the money their man!!) you identify is self perpetuating. We all know where this will go...unless we don't want to learn from history or from current global events (Thank you Librarian!!).

  6. FYI Chris that Anonymous is me. Your post made me think that may be the way we will need to operate but on a much more secure level! "They" know it's me. Gotta work on that!

  7. I'm with Brian, here. Entitlement is all!

  8. Freedom? What’s freedom?

    We are persuaded by manipulators (governments, the media, advertising) that the ‘freedoms’ we are given are the freedoms we want. Like sheep we believe and follow.

    Whistleblowers are hunted down and locked up.