Freedom is an old song by Richie Havens.
When you write books, articles, and essays that typically fall into the "radical" category, you take hits from the full range of the political spectrum. Right, left, or anywhere in-between, beliefs run deep and viewpoints die hard. Often, however, irate critics of all stripes lazily fall back on empty rebuttals. For example, when I posted an essay called "Why I Hate America" at the liberal blog, Daily Kos, it provoked this timeless classic:
"America is a terrible country," he/she snarked. "After all, how many other countries give you the RIGHT to write what you just wrote?"
Let's put aside the unintentional (?) tongue twister ("the right to write what you just wrote") and the fact that the obvious answer to his/her question-plenty of other countries do-destroys this line of reasoning (sic). The larger issue, as I see it, is how we each choose to evaluate our freedom.
Freedom is a new song by George Michael.
Hey, I'm not living in Pinochet's Chile or Duvalier's Haiti or Hussein's Iraq or Suharto's Indonesia (insert your favorite U.S. client-state). I know. But what are we talking about here? Is freedom just an issue of bigger cages and longer chains? Is it merely a commodity sold to the highest bidder? Must the majority of us sit by and drool while freedom fries on the grill of capitalist avarice?
Freedom was a professional tennis team from Philadelphia.
Speaking of grills, I was once eating lunch in a Virginia Beach diner when I heard a loud roar. "What was that?" I bellowed. The waitress smiled and replied: "That's an F-14...the sound of freedom."
Freedom is a taxpayer-subsidized killing machine.
To have more freedom than, say, a woman living under Taliban repression is not the same as being free. But it is the same as settling for less subjugation instead of demanding more liberty (or at least as much liberty currently guaranteed by virtue of the Constitution).
Being an American dissident usually results in marginalization and financial instability but rarely gets one jailed or disappeared. Still, the "it could be worse" excuse is no way to judge the quality and/or quantity of anything.
Freedom is, according to Rosa Luxemburg, "always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently."
Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at http://www.mickeyz.net.