All the World
Over it's so Easy to See
words of the 5th Dimension and George Bush, people everywhere just want to be
free. The point seems almost trivial: each of us wants to be able to do what we
want to do, and we don't want people stopping us.
But many events give me pause as I stand up to mutter my Bushy cliches about
the universal love of liberty. Here's one: when tens of thousands of people
gather to mourn the death of their beloved dictator. One might think it
would be difficult to regard the regime of Slobodan Milosevic - featuring war,
ethnic cleansing, rape camps, and other hijinks - with affectionate nostalgia.
And yet after his richly-deserved croak, people were sobbing on the streets of
In St. Petersburg, a group or Russian communists renamed a scenic
boulevard "Slobodan Milosevic Street."
This was sensible, as the Russian people themselves responded to the chaotic
Yeltsin administration with an explicit nostalgia for forced collectivization,
one-party elections, hilarious show trials, and the gulag. Now that they've got
a good strong leader in Vlad Putin, their desires are well on their way to
Lest one think that an enthusiasm for one's own subordination is limited to the
Slavs, let me assert that it is a universal feature of our admirable species.
Indeed, human history since the development of the political state is
incomprehensible on any hypothesis other than that people hate and fear their
own freedom. On the theory that everyone aspires to freedom, it is difficult to
explain why everyone is continuously subordinated.
In France, hundreds of thousands of students are protesting or rioting. What do
they want? Anarchy al la mode? No no no. They want the state to guarantee them
a job, no matter how badly they perform. The last thing they want is to be
responsible for themselves.
As Bush travels hither and yon paying his stirring tributes to freedom, he has
moved to institute a security state, to hold people without charge or trial, to
monitor pacifist groups and their subversive activities, to vastly increase
surveillance of Americans.
Mess with Bush and his program for universal liberty, and you're liable to be
bagged up and whisked off to a black site, where the agents of this or some
other government will satisfy your desire for subordination once and for all.
So that the Iraqi people might not feel too disoriented, we started
administering the country from Saddam's palaces and kept his torture facilities
in continuous operation. Everyone, it appears, in their heart of hearts, likes
a good Baathist, whether that Baathist be Saddam Hussein or Dick Cheney.
Since all the world over it's so easy to see etc., one would suppose such
policies would cause outrage and resistance. Exactly one man is unhappy about
it: Russell Feingold, who's not nearly Milosevic enough to make a satisfying
We want the government to guarantee our health, to deflect hurricanes, to
educate our children, to license us to drive, to tell us what to eat, what to
smoke, whom to marry. We are justly proud of the fact that no enduring society
has ever incarcerated more of its people. Noting that the policeman has a
pistol, a club, a stungun, a can of pepper spray, and a data base that includes
ourselves, we feel happy and secure.
Our submission is absolute: we want to be operated like puppets and provided
for like pets.
The terrorists hate our freedom. But we should be comfortable with that. We
hate our own freedom.