Sunday, December 11, 2005

"The Impossibility of Imposed Freedom" by Lew Rockwell

Many times I've used the word "stunning" to describe Lew Rockwell's writings but his latest piece, "The Impossibility of Imposed Freedom," is especially so:

We flatter ourselves into believing that our central planning mechanisms are imposing not socialism but freedom itself, with Iraq as the most obvious example and the reductio ad absurdum, all in one. Here we have a country that the US invaded to overthrow its government and replace it with martial law administered by tanks on the street and bombers in the air, a controlled economy complete with gasoline price controls, and handpicked political leaders, and what do we call it? We call it freedom.

And yet some 15 years ago, when Saddam invaded Kuwait, threw out its leaders, occupied the country and attempted to impose a new government, the US president called it an aggression that would not stand. He took us to war to send a message that the sovereignty of states must be considered inviolate. It seems that everyone got the message except the US.

Iraq is hardly the only country. US troops are strewn throughout the world with the mission to bring about the conditions of freedom. Ads for military contractors emphasize the same theme, juxtaposing hymns to liberty with pictures of tanks, bomber’s eye views of cities, and soldiers with gas masks on. Then we wonder why so many people in the world bar the door when they hear that the US government is going to bring the blessings of democratic freedom to their doorsteps.

We have developed some strange sense that freedom is a condition that can be imposed by government, one of the many policy options we can pursue as experts in public policy. But it is not real freedom of the sort described above, the kind Jefferson claimed was to be possessed by all people everywhere whose rights are not violated. Rather it is freedom that conforms to a particular model that can be imposed from the top down, whether by the US government domestically or by US troops internationally.

Please do yourself a favor and read the whole piece.

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