Live Free or Die?

I’ve wondered for some time what that New Hampshire slogan really meant.  On the surface it seemed to have the wrong people dying.  “Leave me alone or die”, I thought, would make more sense, or “live free or kill”, but the meaning of the slogan is something different, as Walter Williams reports.  He goes through some development before getting to the New Hampshire bit;

[Mark] Steyn points how it might seem bizarre to find the progressive left making common cause with radical Islam. One half of that alliance is pro-gay, pro-feminist secularists and the other half is homophobic, misogynist theocrats. Steyn argues what they have in common overrides their differences, namely, “Both the secular Big Government progressives and the political Islam recoil from the concept of the citizen, of the free individual entrusted to operate within his own societal space, assume his responsibilities, and exploit his potential.”

I never thought it bizarre at all.  I’ve referred to Progressives and radical Islam as somewhat kindred spirits for years.  They both hate capitalism, both hate liberty in general, both want to control the individual, both hate the very fact that the U.S. and Israel exist, and both thrive on chaos and hate prosperity.  I could go on for quite a while, but you get the point.

“Live Free or Die,” which graces New Hampshire’s license plate, are the words of John Stark, New Hampshire’s Revolutionary War hero. He uttered those words decades after the War when he was 81 years old, the complete sentence being: “Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.” Steyn says these words should not be interpreted “as a battle cry: We’ll win this thing or die trying, die an honorable death. But in fact it’s something far less dramatic: It’s a bald statement of the reality of our lives in the prosperous West. You can live as free men, but, if you choose not to, your society will die.”

This weekend as we celebrate the Declaration of Independence and the successful revolution that resulted, lets keep that in mind.  To pledge one’s life, fortune, and sacred honor to the overthrow of an over-reaching government that possesses the most powerful military in the world is as serious as it gets, and many of those who did so faired rather badly during the war.  We owe them a lot of respect, and only way to do that is to keep from throwing away that which they have given us.

How many Americans could even describe this country’s founding principles without getting sarcastic, to say nothing of being able to defend them?  Try asking some of the people you meet this weekend and report back.  I’m curious.  Something like this; “Can you define this country’s founding principles?” and then, “What would you say to defend them if someone told you that those were outdated, inflexible, and dreamed up by some radical, violent, old, paternal, dead, white slave owners?” (use your own words)


3 thoughts on “Live Free or Die?

  1. “Both… hate capitalism… hate liberty… want to control the individual”.

    Yep. Two peas in a pod.

    But I disagree that “both hate prosperity”; rather, both fail to understand prosperity in similar ways. Both basically hate people. They think that if you’re not constantly forcing people (people other than them, naturally!) to do things they don’t want to, everything will go to hell. The punchline of course is that the actual product of all their coerced “virtue” is Fallujah under al Qaeda, or the USSR under the communists: Their brand of “enforcing good behavior” really does make everything go to hell, faster and harder than any other known method.

    Besides, progressives don’t hate prosperity. Without prosperity, tenure wouldn’t be worth much. And they only like chaos when they’re young, or when it happens to somebody else. Preferably somebody brown, picturesque, and very far away.

  2. They like both chaos and decline when it happens to someone else because it gives them the chance to claim the ability to “correct” things their way. As state employees or state employee wannabes, they consider themselves largely immune. Their superior intelligence or their service to the state will somehow save them, though I doubt many of them have thought it through even that far. True believers rarely examine their beliefs so critically.

    “Never let a crisis go to waste” is the famous quote from an American Progressive, and I’m sure the jihadists can come up with reasons why a crisis is Allah’s just punishment for the infidels. The enviro-fascists, a subset of progressives, would like chaos and decline for much the same reasons, but additionally because they think humanity is a stain on an otherwise pristine Earth. Their “solutions” come from the belief (and strong desire) that we’ll be punished for our insolence with climate change, which, interestingly, is something they’re hoping will happen anyway, just to show us.

    Anti capitalists thrive on chaos for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that they imagine that for once they’ll have some relevance when the uppity, manipulating capitalists, as they see us, have been taken down, leveling the playing field for them. “The quest for relevance” is a phrase I’ve used for years to describe leftists– the desire for a smaller pond in which they imagine being a relatively bigger fish. “Post Apocalypse Fantasizers” (PAFs) is another description that has come to mind from seeing so many post apocalypse scenarios in books and movies, and from listening to some of the more hard-core “survivalists”. A lot of people must have done a lot of fantasizing about that. We’ve all seen the fantasy art, depicting the young, rugged hero-warrior, over-sexed woman-slave at his side, standing amidst the decaying ruins of a modern civilization that (inevitably as they see it) destroyed itself. Some version of that image lives in the minds of many, and carries with it a longing. Longing for the “simpler time” as they see it, of the Middle Ages, is a variation fantasy embraced by the renaissance fair hippie progressives. People lived like that once, and it could be just as magical and wonderful and clean again, if not for our “greedy, materialistic, exploitative, modern industrial society”. Sure it’s completely insane, but the dream, the insanity, is very real.

    The rad Shi’ite Muslims, IIRC, have been told it is their specific duty to bring chaos, so as to trigger the coming of the Twelfth Imam who will then set the world right. Christians have their “end time” chaos theory as well. So did the communists of the 19th and 20th centuries. The Soviet Union, among others, actually created a real chaos/mass death scenario of their very own. The idea of peace, “justice” and prosperity coming after a time of chaos, and the mass death of the unclean, is etched in the human psyche and it’s very powerful. It need not make any sense at all– the desire, the deep longing even, for mass death is clearly there.

    That’s a long-winded way of saying that a lot of people are motivated by intense hatred for their fellow Man.

  3. “How many Americans could even describe this country’s founding principles without getting sarcastic, to say nothing of being able to defend them? Try asking some of the people you meet this weekend and report back. I’m curious.”

    Interesting you should ask. At my house the resident boy scout and I volunteered to help with cleanup at the 4th of July festival at Bellevue’s downtown park. I was quite surprised, amidst the bouncy houses and the face painting, to see many signs with cogent questions about the founding of our country. “Who wrote the constitution of the US”, “Who is considered the “father” of our country”… simple questions but at least topical. I kept looking on the backs of the signs for the satirical or sarcastic follow on but nope, just answers. Watched for others looking at the backs and didn’t see much obvious interest. But, at least they were there putting an actual patriotic veneer on the days party. It was surprisingly enjoyable. (fireworks, free parking, and less then 4 hours to get home) BK

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