Friday, January 20, 2006

Free to be fried

With all the talk of freedom justifying any and all wars and depredations against perceived enemies of the state both outside our borders and inside as well (the latter case encompassing just about everybody these days), it is perhaps redundant as well as obvious to point out that freedom is not just a good idea, it's the law. One is now "forced to be free" (an idea Jean Jacques Rousseau thought was desirable, and which helped spawn the French Revolution). The Iraqis know what this feels like, and Americans are learning.

But leaving aside the political ramifications of the term for a moment, let us consider freedom as the law of the universe, whether one feels oneself free from relative entanglements in one's personal life or not. When he made us, God blew a bunch of bubbles and let them float off and each of us live inside one of them. We wave and signal to each other as we float through our days. Sometimes we have the illusion that we are actually communicating with each other. Then we float onwards and upwards. That is true freedom. Not a very enticing prospect: rather lonely and desperate. And yet, that is the condition of human existence. Lest this sound tiresomely existentialist, mustily redolent of yellowing paperbacks by Camus and Beckett, be assured that I have no intention of invoking the French (though I had to quote Rousseau in the last paragraph—seems that even when you try to get away from the French, you end up repeating their ideas—as when they renamed French fries "freedom fries.")

Those who are fried as we ensure their freedom may take consolation in their new status as the most appetizing of crispy critters in the eye of God.

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