To Accept the Mainstream Narrative of Wars Past is to Threaten Future Stability

A glimpse at War and Films by Adam Alcorn

Historians and observers alike tend to seek out a clear and rational narrative to a sequence of events in history. This is not unique to war but is highlighted by the societal necessity for justification of such a violent phenomenon.  Through film, literature, the press, and in more recent times the internet, people have always been subject to a seemingly unquestionable narrative in regards to war and just what side of history the Nation is going to fall. Americans in the aftermath of 9/11 were in a state of fervor for war. This is not an unusual or entirely unjustified response to such tragic events. The unfortunate side effect of such fervor for war is an enhanced desire among people to seek a simple narrative to complex sequence of events. The narrative presented to the Americans over a several year period following 9/11 has been proven false, but it went unquestioned by the press. In the meantime, Americans started two extended wars followed by nation building campaigns in the Middle East. Wars and other social phenomena are usually complex sequences of events that cannot be explained by a single narrative and to accept a single narrative as the historical truth is dangerous in ways that Americans are begrudgingly learning today in the hills and valleys of Afghanistan and Iraq. This is also true when remembering wars through film.

The First World War has been long remembered as an unnecessary diplomatic crisis and a waste of so many lives.  In the decades following the war this narrative was presented in many ways. La Grande Illusion (1937) was a French film directed by Jean Renoir that expressed the folly of Nationalism and the ability of humanity to come together and avoid fruitless and violent conflict. In La Grande Illusion, Renoir expresses this sentiment by providing with his cast a veritable cross section of Western European society. The rich Jewish immigrant is portrayed as Lieutenant Rosenthal (Marcel Dalio), a member of the aristocracy is represented in Captain de Boeldieu (Pierre Fresnay) and an army officer of humble beginnings is Lieutenant Marechal (Jean Gabin). These men all represented different classes with different struggles, real struggles. The interesting twist in La Grande Illusion is that not only do these men coexist peacefully inside a German prison camp, but they get along with their German captors as well. German Captain von Rauffenstein (Eric von Stroheim) even cries alongside de Boldieu after he shoots him. This expressed the spirit that is so often associated with the First World War. La Grande Illusion was another part of the single, unquestioned narrative of the time. A narrative suggesting that humanity had evolved beyond petty Nationalistic disputes and that the futility of war was understood by everyone proved to be dangerous however. When viewed in the context of the coming Second World War, the lines between unhealthy Nationalistic fury and Patriotism begin to blur. As film critic Stanley Kauffmann said of La Grande Illusion “Today its pacifist intent, as such, seems somewhat less salient (though no less moving) because so many more human beings know how futile war is and know too, that no film can abolish it”1. The moral lessons supposedly solved via the enlightened narrative presented in this film suddenly became irrelevant as the world faced the potentiality of a Nazi empire.

Saving Private Ryan (1998) was directed by Stephen Spielberg and depicted another commonly unquestioned narrative for the events of World War II.  It was a gruesome expose on the brutality of war, in many ways an anti-war film. However, as Bodnar said in reviewing the film “Ironically, while the Spielberg film reveals the brutality of war, it preserves the World War II image of American soldiers as inherently averse to bloodshed and cruelty. The war was savage; the average American GI who fought it was not.2”. Not only does this support Kauffmann’s theory regarding the futility of anti-war film, but it also sheds light upon the true power of a single, unquestionable historical narrative, accepted as truth. People are willing to believe unbelievable things when presented with it repeatedly, and without access to the truth. The “good war” reputation of World War II has played no small role in the development of the United States of America serving as policeman of the world.

It is entirely possible that the unfortunate gambles taken before World War II with the policies we call appeasement were in part a result of the narrative proclaiming World War I as the war to end all wars and that we had evolved beyond frivolous Nationalistic disputes. There is no doubt that the unquestioned narrative of American involvement in World War II that portrays the U.S. as saviors of the civilized world resulted in the policies of “American Exceptionalism” that laced the news media before and throughout the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This cultural tendency towards accepting a single narrative as truth results in ignorance of our past that can often lead to a dangerous future.

  1. Stanley Kauffmann, “Jean Renoir’s La Grande Illusion,” Horizon 14, Nr. 3 (1972): 49. Scholar.
  2. John Bodnar, “Saving Private Ryan and Postwar Memory in America,” The American Historical Review 106 (2001): 805-817. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2692325

- Adam Alcorn, @AdamBlacksburg, founder the Humane Condition. I can be reached at thcondition@gmail.com

“Break of Day in the Trenches” – Isaac Rosenberg. A Poets Case Against Statism…

“Introducing Will Shanahan as the newest contributor to the Humane Condition. This essay is entirely his work, please enjoy, like, comment, etc…!!!” – Adam

Rosenberg and the Case Against Statism: A Poet’s Rejection of Nationalism

Rosenberg

Nationalism and World War I were mutually intertwined.  Governments of all warring countries everywhere promoted Nationalism to their citizens in order to keep public support for the war.  The war itself gave rise to the poet-soldier, the military servicemen who told of their war experiences through poetry.  Officers such as Rupert Brooke, who did not engage in combat often, perpetuated the romanticism of nationalistic collectivism in their poetry.  However privates on the front lines, such as Isaac Rosenberg, did the exact opposite.  Rosenberg’s poem “Break of Day in the Trenches” is not just a pastoral take on a day in the trenches.  Close examination, along with historical context and criticisms, reveal that this poem is about individuality and peace.  Or rather, this poem is a reaction against nationalism, patriotism, and collectivism.  Rosenberg uses the trench lyric as a means to critique and ultimately condemn the nationalistic governments.  Furthermore, “Break of Day in the Trenches” can be seen as a poem that denounces government-run states.

Rosenberg “went to war not as an officer, but as a private” (David Damrosch 2138).  Kevin Tejada’s “Overview of WWI” and Kayla Howden’s “Encyclopedia Entry” are great for providing background context on the war itself, and what Rosenberg would have been facing at the time he wrote “Break of Day in the Trenches”.  Tejada writes, “World War I—then known as the Great War—was a four-year long conflict between the Allies (the UK, France, and Russia) and the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy).  In it, the Germans introduced the tactic of using poison gas, which was quickly adopted by both sides of the struggle” (1).  Not only did both sides engage in chemical warfare, they also “constructed elaborate dugout and trench systems facing each other” that “was a very passive form of war” that resulted in millions of deaths” (Howden 1).  This is the experience that the narrator of “Break of Day in the Trenches” was faced with.  Soldiers, such as Rosenberg and the fictitious narrator, were the “epitome for attrition warfare: each side slowly wearing down other until they couldn’t fight anymore” (Howden 1).  The war was essentially fought and won through the slamming of groups of soldiers against each other in order to gain territory.

People might wonder why millions of soldiers from all participating countries obeyed government conscription and went to war.  After all, “the war itself resulted in the deaths of approximately 65 million human beings; only 57% were armed forces” (Shanahan 1).  As I pointed out in my own essay, “WWI Propaganda and Government Representations of the War,” “government officials in all countries had to embark on a mass media campaign” (1).  These propaganda campaigns were necessary to wage war.  As historian, economist, and philosopher Murray Rothbard pointed out, “democracies invariably engage much more widely in deceptive war propaganda, to whip up and persuade the public” (1).  Government propaganda machines followed three basic principles.  They promoted emotion over logic, collectivized and demonized the enemy, and promised a war to protect democracy (1).  The propagandistic appeal to the collective would have surrounded and influenced Rosenberg before he even set foot on enemy soil.  Experiencing the propaganda at home coupled with battle at front is a crucial reason as to why he wrote a poem that promotes individualism.

To understand why “Break of Day in the Trenches” is a poem against nationalism, nationalism must be defined as something more than an abstract concept of geographical identity.  Nationalism, in practice, is the act of collectivizing a country’s citizens into one identity in order to promote some sort of agenda.  As Lynette Perez writes in “Patriotism During WWI”, governments promoted “a strong sense of nationalism, not only to excite the men for war, but to entice them to sign up” (1).  In other words, nationalism is the ends to which the means of propaganda aims to achieve.  That is, nationalism is the self identification of a society with their government.  Therefore, as I’ve stated in “WWI Propaganda and Representations of the War”, nationalism “automatically makes individualist thoughts the thoughts of a dissident.  To question the war is to question fellow countrymen, and sympathize with the enemies of the state” (3). The opposites of nationalism and statism are individualism and cosmopolitanism.  Individualism goes against the collectivism of the nationalistic identity while cosmopolitanism contrasts with a homogeneous society.  Therefore, Rosenberg’s appeal to both individualism and cosmopolitanism can be seen as rejections of the state.

The appeal to the nationalistic is necessary to every government run state.  This is because governments are nothing more than monopolies of force over given regions of land.  Or as Rothbard writes, “Each state has an assumed monopoly of force over a given territorial area, the areas varying in size in accordance with different historical conditions” (25).  Seeing how only individuals can act, government officials must justify the decisions they make in regards with their use of the monopoly of force.  This is why governments, or rather individuals in control of governments, must promote nationalism to maintain the support of the public.  Nationalism is promoted in a number of ways.  Some do not appear to be malicious, such as giving citizens the ability to vote and “participate” in governmental affairs.  Others, such as propaganda campaigns, seem far more insidious.  Ultimately however, these functions all serve the same goal, the complicity and self identification of the citizenry.  Therefore, nationalism and statism can be thought of as inseparable.  Once these citizens see themselves as extensions of the state, the only threats to government monopoly of force are other states.  Mandatory conscription and battles over sea, among other things, can break the patriotic hold over individuals.  Rosenberg’s service in the trenches shattered any nationalistic sympathies that he held.

The first two lines of “Break of Day in the Trenches” perpetuate the idea of a stateless society.  The lines, which read “the darkness crumbles away–/It is the same old druid Time as ever”, invoke the mortality of governments compared to time (1-2).  The use of the word “druid” draws the reader back to the pre-Christian era of history.  It also calls the reader to realize that the darkness had “crumble[d] away” many times in that very location where the narrator is currently entrenched.  The connecting of the battlefield location with the druid era causes the reader to realize that governments and their respective states have changed, evolved, and ended over that course of time. It causes readers to think about the actual fluidity of states over time, which automatically calls nationalism into question.  Nationalism is called into question because nationalistic person is a person who self-identifies with the state.  The nationalistic person is someone who would say “we are the government”.  The tracing back in memory of other governments that have occupied that same territory brings this line of reasoning under question.  After all, how can nationalistic readers identify themselves with the druid period if the government that they self-identify with did not exist?  Therefore, these two lines can be seen as an attempted break from the patriotic lens that readers might originally view the poem through.

Now that Rosenberg has broken the nationalistic lens, he can translate his experience of the state induced horrors of the war.  He uses two particular symbols to make his case against the state.  The symbols are the rat and the poppy.  Rosenberg invokes these symbols in the poem when he writes “only a live thing leaps my hand–/ A queer sardonic rat–/ As I pull the parapet’s poppy/ to stick behind my ear” (3-6).  Author’s Nils Clausson and Robert Hemmings wrote about these symbols in their respective essays, “Perpetuating the Language: Romantic Tradition, the Genre function, and the Origins of the Trench Lyric” and “Of Trauma and Flora: Memory and Commemoration in Four Poems of the World Wars”.  Clausson sees these symbols as an evolution of the Romantic lyric, writing “The distance between Rosenberg’s experience and that portrayed in the Romantic lyric is signaled most emphatically by the rat, which replaces the daffodils, nightingales, skylarks, and darkling thrushes of earlier lyrics” (123).  She also notes that these, specifically the rat, are symbols of death in the trenches, stating “Since they fed on the corpses, which provided a never-ending supply of food, rats were a constant reminder of death” (124).  Hemmings makes the same argument about the poppies, stating “here Rosenberg not only links the poppies with the blood of dying soldiers… he does so botanically by noting that the flowers’ roots are literally nourished by the fertilizing nutrients of soldiers’ blood” and “this emphasis on the botanical invokes… mortality, since flowers, fertilized by dead soldiers, also drop or are plucked, as by Rosenberg’s speaker, and so die” (745-6).  In other words, both authors argue that Rosenberg used these symbols to represent death in the trenches.  They believe that since both the rats and the poppies feed off of dead soldiers to sustain themselves that these symbols have an inverse relationship with the soldiers.

The rat and the poppies do in fact, symbolize death.  However, they take on much more meaning and depth when seen as the death of nationalism and self-identification with the state rather than the soldiers themselves.  If the health of the rat is inversely connected with the health of nationalistic thought than its relationship with the narrator takes on a powerful meaning.  For example, the narrator would have been propagandized just as much as any other soldier.  However, when the narrator recites “only a live thing leaps my hand–/ A queer sardonic rat” he experiences a moment of enlightenment.  The rat takes on the same role of inspiration as the Romantic and Victorian birds.  It represents the narrator’s freedom from the nationalistic self-identification.  Rosenberg writes that “droll rat, they would shoot you if they knew/ your cosmopolitan sympathies./ now you have touched this English hand/  you will do the same to a German” (7-10).  The rat necessarily has to represent an opposition to state nationalism.  Its ability to transcend the national boundaries and touch different soldiers implies that it cannot be symbolic of patriotism.  And if the German soldier has the same reaction as the narrator, a reaction of dissolution of state nationalism, than the rat must be a symbol of individualism for all soldiers who embrace it.  Furthermore, it creates a second war between individualism and collectivism.  However, this war is fought in the minds of soldiers rather than the trenches of France.

This war between the nationalistic and the individualistic is further developed in the next few lines where Rosenberg writes

“Soon no doubt, if it be your pleasure

To cross the sleeping green between.

It seems you inwardly grin as you pass

Strong eyes, fine limbs, haughty athletes

Less chanced than you for life,

Bonds to the whims of murder” (11-16).

 

The narrator, speaking to the rat, notes that it has the power to go where it pleases.  This rat, when looked at as the essence of individuality, ultimately wins against the collective mentality in this passage.  For instance, the “strong eyes, fine limbs, haughty athletes” that the rat passes by represent nationalism.  After all, these soldiers are bound “to the whims of murder” that the state has obligated them to.  These soldiers, representative of the collective, have “less chanced than [the rat] for life”.  In other words, Rosenberg seems to be suggesting that the idea of individual thought will outlive the nationalistic experiment.  Furthermore, these soldiers represent the outright rejection of individualism which is implied by the rat passing by them.  Whereas these soldiers are doomed to the collective, the narrator has been liberated.  Although he still faces mandatory service, the rat paid him a visit when it crawled on his hand.  In other words, the rat inspired the narrator to reject patriotic loyalty.

The poppies carry the same anti-state implications of the rat.  The narrator states that “poppies whose roots are in man’s veins/ drop, and ever dropping; but mine in my ear is safe, just a little white with the dust” (Rosenberg 23-6).  The juxtaposition of the poppies brings out powerful depth in this poem.  After all, the imagery of these flowers growing out of corpses lines up with Hemmings view of the inverse relationship between poppies and soldiers.  The very plants are nourishing themselves on the fallen warriors.  However, the poppy behind the narrator’s ear represents a much different death.  This is the death of his self-identification with the state.  Or rather, this poppy is symbolic of his turn away from collectivism and rejecting nationalism.  This also gives a double meaning to the “poppies whose roots are in man’s veins” (Rosenberg 23).  They’re not only representing those soldiers who died in the name of collective thought.  These poppies also symbolize the death of the national identity that soldiers experienced when they were de-propagandized by the hardships of wars.

The nationalistic collectivism versus individualism can be further developed when “Break of Day in the Trenches” is coupled with “Dead Man’s Dump”, another war poem by Rosenberg.  Specifically, the second stanza from this poem shows why nationalism will always fail against the individual and the cosmopolitan.  This stanza reads

“The Wheels lurched over sprawled dead

but pained them not, though their bones crunched,

Their shut mouths made no moan.

They lie there huddled, friend and foeman,

Man born of man, and born of woman,

And shells go crying over themselves

From night till night and now” (Rosenberg 7-13).

 

The true nature of national and collective wars is outlined in this passage.  The battlefield is covered in dead soldiers, “friend and foeman” alike.  These soldiers died in the name of nationalism yet are now more cosmopolitan than ever before.  The irony of the nationalistic experiment is that even battles fought in the name of nationalism lead to cosmopolitan results.  The dead soldiers on both sides of the war are now occupying the same territory in harmony.  The poppies that will grow out of these soldiers will live up to the meanings of both the symbol of dead soldiers and the symbol of the death of nationalism.  After all, the resulting poppy field will have found roots in soldiers of either side ultimately making that field one without national identity.  This is also important because it echoes back to the druid time of “Break of Day in Trenches”.  Government monopolies of control over geographic regions do no last.

Isaac Rosenberg’s war poetry was not just a reflection on the dangers of life in the trenches.  His poems tell his story of rediscovering individualism and rejecting the English nationalism he had been subject to.  Rosenberg draws heavily on the use of the rat and the poppies to signify the death of his own self-identity with England.  He realized that statism never wins; soldiers either reject the government collective for individual mentality or they rot in “cosmopolitan” graves.  His poems serve as a reminder that people are in fact, not the government.  Rosenberg ultimately condemns nationalism, a tool necessary for the survival of a state.

 

-          Will Shanahan, Contributor, the Humane Condition

A Machiavellian Administration

I have Machiavelli on the mind, but instead of discussing “The Prince” in relation to our current administration, I will instead do everything I can to get Machiavelli off of my mind before I attempt to go to sleep. Upon reading through it for the eleventy-twelfth time, the hairs on the back of my neck continue to react as if I were only just discovering it. It is likely more cringe inducing with the current state of American politics in mind.

Obama The Prince

Niccolo Obama

Okay, okay, that wasn’t exactly the best way to get Machiavelli off my mind, so let’s go ahead and put an end to this with one final quote:

“…It being my intention to write a thing which shall be useful to him who apprehends it, it appears to me more appropriate to follow up the real truth of a matter than the imagination of it; for many have pictured republics and principalities which in fact have never been known or seen, because how one lives is so far distant from how one ought to live, that he who neglects what is done for what ought to be done, sooner effects his ruin than his preservation; for a man who wishes to act entirely up to his professions of virtue soon meets with what destroys him among so much that is evil.” – Machiavelli’s “The Prince”

Wait…wait…wait…

A virtuous ruler, must not live up to his professions of virtue, lest he be destroyed amongst the evil that surrounds him?

Okay…Well that is understandable considering the source, Niccolò Machiavelli. Here in “The Prince” is seemingly the foundational stone of the axiom upon which Machiavelli derives that the ends, do in fact justify the means. If you were a Ruler. We associate this amoral1 perspective of political theory as synonymous with that of Machiavelli himself.

And since this is such an easy task… And while I’m at it…  Let’s compare this to our very own Prince Obama, eh?

Just as it was hard to measure the true effect of Machiavelli’s “The Prince” in its own time2, it is equally hard to determine just how much influence it could have over any one person today. What we can do however is just take a glance at correlation, keeping in mind it does not always guarantee causation. So, let’s do it.

It’s too damn easy to find perfect examples so it’s hard to decided which is worth writing about. (If only the MSM had that problem.) Okay I figured it out, we’ll go with the most underhanded example of Prince Obama’s Machiavellian tactics.

The Affordable Care Act shares the spotlight on the wall of shame with the PATRIOT Act as egregious  examples of legislative tomfoolery. We all know the problems with both of these unconstitutional usurpations of our rights, but let us examine how Machiavellian this administration really is. “Obamacare” was sold to the American people as a leap forward in the progression of human rights. In fact, this was so widely believed that it was portrayed as merely the United States catching up with those civilized Europeans…(see: Greece, Spain).

This can’t help but remind me of an article that the late Senator Nelson Aldrich4 wrote in October of 1912. This particular article was entitled, “The Need for Currency Reform” and the relatively close timing of its publication and the passage of the Federal Reserve was not a coincidence. In part of his attempt to persuade the public that our banks need to be reformed, he said “No system in any country has a system as antiquated as…the United States”3.  And what did they say about our healthcare system again?

Ahh yes, it was antiquated I believe.

The centuries go by, the manipulation stays the same. We were given a Federal Reserve system to stabilize the economy, and we get Obamacare to “fix” healthcare? They must know it will only further expand the deficit, and that it will make it harder for the average person to get healthcare. And they do, and that is what makes this an underhanded, and Machiavellian administration. The only *government* answer to skyrocketing healthcare prices and artificially low inflation is to Nationalize the entire industry. This is Prince Obama’s Machiavellian plan. There is no doubt that a fully socialized healthcare system is the ends to his means. His means just happened to include further destroying an already broken system to detriment of all Americans.  He may well honestly believe that his desired ends are in the best interests of us all, but that becomes irrelevant when the free market is understood. Socialized healthcare will fail, no matter the intentions of those who impose it on us.

This method is in many ways reflective of a Machiavellian approach, but there is one very important difference. This difference lies in the final sentence of the earlier quote from The Prince, Machiavelli says “a man who wishes to act entirely up to his professions of virtue soon meets with what destroys him among so much that is evil.”

Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli

Obama most certainly did not live up to his own professions of virtue, but would Machiavelli see Prince Obama as justified in his actions? Take note of the qualifier in Machiavelli’s statement above, “among so much that is evil”. Machiavelli is referring in this passage to the troubles facing a “New Ruler” of a recently conquered land, in which there are many powerful political organizations seeking to dispose of the new ruler. Does Washington D.C. fit that criteria? I have heard some terrible things come out of that city, but the evil that pervades the world of Machiavelli’s Prince is not present for Obama.

Obama faces a much different sort of danger. For our Prince, is subject to election, and a slightly free, but compliant press. Obama must do no more than save face to maintain power, and he can’t always do that right. This “danger” does not justify the underhanded tactics that Prince Obama has undertaken in his destruction of our healthcare system, that is according to Machiavelli. Does that make our Prince Obama more tyrannical than “The Prince” of Machiavelli’s fantasies?  Let’s consider that.

So we’ve established the familiarity between one of Obama’s tactics, and the tactics suggested in “The Prince” by Machiavelli, but there must be more. It is only fair to give our Prince Obama another shot so he may not appear so cruel. Let’s take a look at something else Machiavelli’s Prince would be advised to do.

“Upon this, one has to remark that men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge.” – Niccolò Machiavelli The Prince

How do you think this relates to anything the Obama administration has done? Comment below and we can work on this together. It obviously brings Mr. Anwar al-Awlaki  to mind. After that, maybe I can get to bed ;-)

 

  1. Amoral – Lacking a moral sense; unconcerned with the rightness or wrongness of something
  2. Lecture Notes – “Era of the Reformation” – @AdamBlacksburg 2/28/13 – p.6.
  3. Rowe, L.S. Aldrich, N. Burton, T. Andrew, A.P. Roberts, G. “The Need for Currency Reform” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (1911) 1+3-32 JSTOR Web. 19 Oct. 2012
  4. Father-in-Law of John D. Rockefeller Jr., (D) Senator

 

Comment Below or E-mail me at THCondition@gmail.com

Tyranny is No Threat…

Napolitano     The honorable Judge Andrew Napolitano composed the most persuasive and well written piece in response to the recent liberal gun grab threat. Guns and Freedom had it all, from the unalienable right of self-ownership to how that translates to the right to bare arms. In the typical Napolitano eloquent verbiage he provides more information and thought provoking assertions grounded in fact than you can find anywhere else in the media today. While the entire article was fascinating and persuasive, I want to take a few minutes to focus on a couple of paragraphs:

“The essence of humanity is freedom. Government – whether voted in peacefully or thrust upon us by force – is essentially the negation of freedom. Throughout the history of the world, people have achieved freedom when those in power have begrudgingly given it up. From the assassination of Julius Caesar to King John’s forced signing of the Magna Carta, from the English Civil War to the triumph of the allies at the end of World War II, from the fall of Communism to the Arab Spring, governments have permitted so-called nobles and everyday folk to exercise more personal freedom as a result of their demands for it and their fighting for it. This constitutes power permitting liberty.

The American experience was the opposite. Here, each human being is sovereign, as the colonists were after the Revolution. Here, the delegation to the government of some sovereignty – the personal dominion over self – by each American permitted the government to have limited power in order to safeguard the liberties we retained. Stated differently, Americans gave up some limited personal freedom to the new government so it could have the authority and resources to protect the freedoms we retained. Individuals are sovereign in America, not the government. This constitutes liberty permitting power.” – Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

The essence of humanity is freedom, Napolitano says. The nature of liberty as experienced by the majority of human history was only as much as reluctant rulers have “begrudgingly given it up”. This separates Americans, who have enjoyed freedom established and preserved, by ‘The People’. The United States government, created to protect our liberties was only given a discretionary authority of certain expressly agreed upon liberties. This has never happened before in the history of the world.

We can be surely disappointed that in reality, the nature of our freedom has come to matter very little. As made so pointedly clear by the recent gun control debate, tyranny is no threat to the modern liberal agenda. It is the agenda.

-AdamBlacksburg, the Humane Condition.