AN OCOTILLO CACTUS ON A MONSOON SEASON DAY
ARE HUMAN ADVANCES, SUCH AS THE LONG MARCH TO INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY, (THAT CURRENTLY LETS US DISCUSS POLITICS, RELIGION, AND SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC THEORY AND REALITIES) HAVE THESE CHERISHED LIBERAL VALUES JUST COME FROM MAKING NICE?
I like the cactus, its often lovely flowers, as a red-orange flame on top. It exist in this harsh desert environment, partly because of its thorns. Thorns of a sort protects most water caring individual cactus, from being plundered to death and extinction. Most all cactus fruit are edible
The current allegedly endless war on terror, is said to be necessary by conservatives of a sorts, because our opponents wish to plunder us and do away with such liberalism’s we enjoy. To do this endless job, we need, the argument goes, to draw back our freedoms (to defend them) and retreat into a quasi authoritarian state. Limit our freedoms, put them into conservative ideological hands, to save them from the enemy that hates them.
Liberals and libertarians who suggest that this is throwing the baby out with the bath-water are called terrorist appeasers. The most popular analogy conservatives of the pre-emptive force type offer, is how certain historical figures did not oppose the Nazis as they rose to power. Point taken, but taken to where?
NAZIS AS TAG FRAME
The Nazis used this very reasoning; developing a superiority complex ideology, targeting Jews and many others as the devil (evil), then pre-emptively attacking all who oppose them. But here comes my real point about points on cactus or bayonets.
The values we cherish under the umbrella of freedom, were not handed to us through history by the good will of the Hitlers, Stalin’s, or Mao’s of this world. They had to be convinced we would not forever live under authoritarian tyranny. Most all of us have some ancestor or know of someone who is putting down their lives to stand against the will of one, by living as a thorn for the will of all.
Forces in the world that control social and economic interest, are attempting to place their own barbs, on challenge to their sometimes invisibly imposed authority. They wish, for whatever reason, to hoard life to themselves. They are reactionary in that respect, against the will of the whole, against the liberalism of Christ, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. They count on us to be spineless; to be pointless, to meander in a make nice mentality, where our own fear of defending freedom and self responsibility, for the illusion of stability, surrenders it.
OF THORNS AND FLOWERS
Vibrant democracy, as vibrant discourse, can handle strong emotion. Freedom requires both expression of idea and need, and the will to keep it in the face or eroding “reasons”, that will leave a canyon between various aspects of the whole population.
Some may wish to live in a cult like atmosphere where no-one expresses their fears; where no-one shouts; I am hurt!; where no-one says you are taking from me and denying it by words and deed. The far rights vitriolic fear machine has many crouched in a corner, fearing a conflict if they stand up for truth and justice, or just a different point of view to theirs. They have done this even to the point of threatening to send their own private army to your door, oh dissenting one.
I can see the feeling to avoid conflict. Many of us would rather live in peace than conflict. I certainly would, but not by ignoring the truth that I know and must express freely. Many, as Hitler rose to power; thought their friends and neighbors would surely not turn against them. But many, by fears manipulation to survival, did.
I hardly believe freedom and responsibility are achieved and preserved without strong emotion. I see no evidence of this but in cults. Where the surrender of ones own will to the cults figure head, can hardly be called freedom or responsibility in any honest frame of reference. Democracy and freedom require vibrant debate, but they also then require extended respect, not threats to ones own freedom to express.
IDEOLOGICAL CIRCLE SIMILARITY
The far left and the far right end up at the same place–pre-emptive attack on the whole to preserve their ideological purity. Big idea differences but hardly any difference in behavior. Harm becomes a “good” to place on those other than yourself and tribe identity.
I am OK with those who sit out the pointed needs of our collective freedoms and responsibilities because they cannot take (or reject) the occasional pin point to their ego or identity. They are either ruled by fear, or absolute Good. And who am I to decide.
But those of us who debate and show some underlying respect; that we allow differing ideals, ideas and opinion, that we, as they once said; “I disagree with you to the core, but will give my life to defend your freedom to express your beliefs.” If this be our stance, then we will maintain democracies blessing. But if out of fear we say; “Sure. Take it all a way. Just leave me safe.” Then democracy will be taken down in the desert of humankind’s opportunist ability to be, cruel and unjust.
I live for the day humankind puts understanding before fear, places compassion and empathy before insecurity interest. But until that day of love and peace flowers, as it one day must if we are to survive, its fruits will not be known unless the path to understanding remains protected.