The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Thoughts on America

This is, of course, a rant... nothing more.

I have been to a few countries, courtesy of my rich Uncle Sam's metal clad and armed "yachts" of course. I have learned a bit about people and governments on those cruises. I am, of course, a veteran of the Vietnam War and that meant I spent some time in the wonderful waters of the Tonkin Gulf. Unlike the "brown water" sailors (the crews that plied the rivers, deltas, and shoreline in fiberglass and plywood boats), I was not at great risk of injury or death. The only danger I was ever in involved rough seas and having to be on the open deck. Minor stuff compared to being shot at.

In the Philippines, I learned that even free countries are not so free. The police patrolled with Thompson submachine guns, tossed people into dirt floor cells for weeks at a time, and liked to put the occasional sailor in something we called a "tiger cage." This cage was slightly larger than a phone booth, had steel bars, and was open to the elements (not even a roof, if I recall correctly). Any sailors we picked up there while we were on  Shore Patrol were very happy to see us.

In Taiwan, the people were pretty much afraid of the government. Chiang Kai-Shek was still alive and in control then. And control was the operative word. A few of us took a train ride from Keelung to Taipei to see the sights. While we were there, a convoy of large black official cars went by in a procession. A sailor (not one of our group) took a picture. He was surrounded almost immediately by some Taiwanese army soldiers who took the camera out of his hands, tossed it into the street, and crushed it under their boots. It was fortunate that he was in our Navy and not theirs.

Hong Kong was much freer but the People's Republic of China loomed large nearby.

Of course, being in the military is like living in a dictatorship.  You wake when they tell you, eat only when it is allowed, and you have no freedom of speech. Anything you say can get you in Big Trouble. Trust me, I learned the hard way. Your ability to go anywhere is severely restricted. Out at sea, it doesn't much matter. There's nowhere to go anyway and everyone is in the same situation. It's in port that you feel it most.

Returning to the States means just a little more freedom but you are still subject to the whims and orders of others. And you cannot just walk off the job.

I recall these things because I do wonder that some people think we are the evil of the world and that we are oppressed. My love of country is such that I cannot take that position. My love of country is more than appreciation for its landscape or the fact that I was born here. It is based on knowledge of our Constitution and that there are enough others who revere that document and defend it against our own government.

We have a great country because we have that document, we do not have that document because it is a great country.


Torggil said...

I hear you. You have said some very interesting things, but I wonder how far the government will go there, before the public gets up in arms about freedom restrictions. The no fly list could be the tip of a much larger iceberg. I worry about the political landscape there. I am happy that Obama got another term in some ways. But I'm worried in others...

Douglas said...

I am especially concerned about the NSA and IRS scandals... and sometimes I worry about agencies simply having too much power.

Inspector Clouseau said...

One's view of life, along with the Universe and its contents, is dependent on where one has been, what one has learned or experienced, and what one is open to receive in the way of new information and experiences. I know that at the end of all of my trips, I'm been relieved to be back home, with all of its attendant sense of security.

Douglas said...

That is the key, isn't it, Inspector? Home, wherever it is, means security... even though it might not offer any.