Friday, November 23, 2007

Four Freedoms

By Capt. Fogg

Thanksgiving -- another festival of myth and self-delusion; a day when we overeat and tell ourselves we're thankful to some supernatural entity who has favored us with liberty. I'm often less thankful for friends and family on such days than I otherwise would be and certainly on those times when I reflect on Franklin Roosevelt's Four Freedoms rendered forever into kitsch by Norman Rockwell, I'm more fearful than thankful for how they are being taken away and given to the unaccountable and powerful.

Freedom of speech isn't something something I feel grateful for as much as something I demand and am guaranteed as my birthright. We still have it, but the ability of the ruling corporations to bury our words under an ocean of propaganda increases.

Freedom of every person to worship in his own way, has always been conditional although guaranteed and every person who adheres to an unpopular religion or no religion at all knows it. It isn't the government, even this government, leading the crusade for Christian supremacy, but the private agents of that government: corporate religion. Year after year, it seems that our ability to resist acknowledging a god we don't believe in declines and the fight to incorporate religious taboos into our laws continues.

Freedom from want isn't something guaranteed us, it's something we may or may not have and it's something our government has fought to excuse itself of providing for, whether it's want of food and shelter, medical care or enough income to support us if we're too old or sick to work.

Freedom from fear in a culture of fear is a personal thing. One can choose to ignore the panic pushers and fear mongers in the government. One can choose not to be afraid of the bottomless corruption, incompetence and dishonesty of our government; of the swashbuckling information gatherers who tap your phones, read your mail and track your movements and your finances and your purchases electronically almost at will. It gets harder every day. Many of us live in dread of injury or sickness, knowing they can't pay the increasingly huge costs of treatment and medicine; knowing that they may not even have the benefit of bankruptcy protection in a land where the laws are written by the credit card companies and the corporate hospitals and drug producers. Many of us fear that the wanton borrowing, reckless warfare and corporate welfare and shifting of the tax burden will erase any freedom from want our grandchildren might have.

We don't have the freedom of being able to elect a government that considers itself answerable or accountable, we don't have the freedom to be left alone in our homes or in our pursuit of life, liberty and happiness in the expectation that we're not constant suspects for crimes yet to be committed. We have an increasingly disdainful government of which we are increasingly afraid.

We don't have the freedom of information we used to. We don't have a government that feels obligated to allow us to know their mistakes, failures or crimes. We have a government that will ignore us and the courts and refuse to tell us who is making policy. We have a growing possibility that the government can declare us outlaw without telling anyone why; to make us disappear without a trace, to be tortured and imprisoned indefinitely. We don't have the freedom from reckless and extravagant government expenditures or hand-overs of our property. We don't have the benefit of knowing that the people who are supposed to watch over us are accountable to us and our courts and not to private and perhaps secret organizations, whether those people be police, jailers, soldiers or intelligence agents. The more cynical of use have begun to doubt that we even have the freedom to elect people to at least pretend to be public employees and not representatives of vast corporate interests. The more paranoid fear that next November we will be told to be thankful that George will remain in office to protect us from fear and want and terrorists.

(Cross-posted from Human Voices.)

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  • For a guy with a name like Fogg, you speak very clearly. I liked this post a lot because it was so thoughtful and articulate. As I often think of your posts,the "Bedrock Stuff" you write about deserves thanks.

    By Blogger Carol Gee, at 4:07 PM  

  • I feel like a lightweight here, but I appreciate that very much.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 4:21 PM  

  • You're nothing of the kind, Fogg.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 7:32 PM  

  • Sigh - I know I need to lose a few pounds and Thanksgiving didn't help. :-)

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 11:05 PM  

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