This often conjured idiom has been thrown around quite liberally ever since, ironically, the US government felt the need to advance unjust wars in the Middle East. It is used as a sign of gratitude to the military servicemen who “risk their lives” so that we can “remain free”. Aside from the dubious assertion itself that somehow the mass slaughter of the people of Iraq and Afghanistan secures our liberty, the phrase itself rings along the lines of a Third Reich slogan crafted by Goebbels. It is often used by those who care nothing for the inherent bedfellows of this “freedom”, that is Justice, Righteousness, and Liberty.
One cannot insist that “freedom” is being defended when the aggressor is that state which is depriving others of freedom. It makes no sense. I cannot storm into my neighbors house, rape his wife and kill his children, and proclaim that I am defending my freedom by doing so because he poses a threat to me. Indeed, if a sufficient threat exists, one consults an authority who can readily diffuse the situation and find a way to ease whatever conflict there is.
On a global level, we call such an authority the United Nations.
Freedom isn’t free? Really?
And yet it was Thomas Jefferson who insisted that man has the “inalienable right” to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. These are God given rights, he asserts, and not rights handed down or allowed—nor defended—by a federal government. Certainly the principle that our nation operates under is the “idea” of freedom, but to what extent this actually manifests itself is certainly doubtful. Rather, we are assessed taxes, fines, conditions, and licenses in order to pay homage to federal and state authority. We are, in a sense, charged for whatever allowances our government makes for us, and our taxes seem to be paid in assurance that the government will leave us alone. Is this what is meant by “freedom isn’t free”?
Of course not. As much as it is evoked as a gratitude to sacrifice by the military, it conversely is used as a hammer against those who would argue the justification for continued wars of aggression, as if these people were ungrateful for the military. Worse still, it implies that my own day-to-day exercise of my God-given rights I somehow owe the military for. If I drive my car down any road I choose, I should thank the military for this? If I shop where I choose, eat what I please, read what I prefer, or think whatever thoughts I feel like, this is something I could otherwise not do without the armed forces?
The role of the military in the context of “Freedom Isn’t Free” thinking becomes removed from the reality of the situation. The situation is this: that the armed forces, the Department of Defense, are the very muscle behind the power of the federal and state governments. The threat of the use of force is evident and has been displayed on numerous occasions. The Bonus Army was none too quick to assert that “freedom isn’t free”. They knew damn well it was, and no one should say otherwise. So when the military came charging in, guns blazing, and drove these pensioners from Washington, D.C., it was clearly not the freedom of those men that was being secured.
The military is the guard dog of the government, which is, in turn, the hand-puppet of big business. To attempt to say that really the military is here to defend our own rights and liberties is to completely misunderstand the entire history of the United States. The American Civil War, for instance, was not fought to end slavery, though that ran a close second. The Civil War was fought to deny the freedom of succession to the Confederacy. In most cases in US history, the military is employed for the purpose of undermining, restricting, denying, and eliminating the freedoms of people, especially those people who resist the US business model for the world(see Philippines, Nicaragua, Panama, Vietnam, Mexico, Cuba, et. al).
Let us be clear, when calling on God and calling out “freedom”, that if freedom isn’t free, it only exists because of the taxation of millions of American workers. It is paid for by the sweat of the construction worker, the blood of the fisherman, the toil of the miner, the steelworker, the assembly line hand, the cook, the cleaner, the doctor, the lawyer, and every individual who must involuntarily surrender a percentage of his earnings to the State, Federal Government, Disability, Unemployment, Social Security, and Medicare. If freedom isn’t free it is because it is on the backs of the protesters, the defiant dissidents, the poets, the philosophers, the social workers, and the free presses that research the truth, record the facts, and preserve an unseen, unacknowledged history that lives beneath the bloated rhetoric of bureaucrats, bigots, and buffoons in business suits and Congressional campaign committees.
The sacrifice is that of the common man and woman whoes courage is getting up everyday to mundane and unfulfilling labor, to traffic jams, to police cars, crowded streets, cold eyes, and incompassionate multitudes. They sacrifice for the love of their children, the sanctity of their households, the security of their persons, and the betterment of their lives. Yet we find that government surveillance, satellite monitering, internet spying, and general suspicion by the very system we are paying for is targeting us everday as well. Where then is the gratitude? How can the DoD expect our thanks on one hand but be collecting data on us on the other? Are we the enemy? And if we are, how then do we owe any gratitudfe at all to those who sacrifice in order to allow this Beast to continue violating the very rights these soldiers are supposedly protecting?
No, my freedom is my own. All men are created equal, and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If the paltry infringments by King George were enough to drive the colonists to open revolt, what is it today that is taken from the common man and given to bankers, corporations, and conglomerates? My freedom is my own, as my body is my own, my thoughts are my own, and my life is my own. I owe no soldier for my existence, nor will I be brow-beaten into believing so.
Freedom IS free!
It always has been.
One need only express it to see whether or not the authorities actually believe in it.