Once upon a time in the Congo, there was a democratically elected President; Some* called him the “Big Man.” The Big Man was elected every seven years by a majority of 97.8%. The people loved him because before he became President, war was everywhere, and just before that, the colonial overlords and punishers were everywhere. You couldn’t get a break. Then after a brief interlude of a different duly elected president who died in an unfortunate execution, Big Man saw to it that there would be no more wars.
Well, not exactly. He had wars, and the people of the Congo were given the opportunity to get jobs fighting in the wars, but they were all in adjoining countries, and they were all paid for by the United States Congress. So no war without taxes, and that was good.
I met Big Man one day. He came and gave a speech, and brought with him his duly elected Congress. They were all women, mostly in their 40s and 50s, and they were adorned with what must have been a million dollars worth of diamond jewelry. Each. Small fires could be set nearby from the sparkle. Anyway, he autographed a copy of his book for me, and in the book, he talks about his great relationship was with the former Director of the CIA, his close personal friend since that unfortunate execution, and later, also a President, but of a different country.
Then one day the people rose up and drove Big Man out of the country, where he died a rich but sick man.
Right after Big Man was driven away, the people of one part of the country, where I had lived off an on for a few years, saw that there was a game park full of antelopes, hippos, and other edible animals.
“This is freedom,” one of them said. “True democracy. We are free to kill and eat all of these animals.” And they did.
If you disagree with what they did, fine, but keep in mind that the upheaval that accompanied the departure of the Big Man, along with some other international supply chain disruptions due to war in the Middle East, had blanketed the land with hunger and uncertainty. Of course the people killed the antelopes, and fed them to their children, and of course they killed the hippos, to sell the meat to the cities, and pawn off the ivory tusks, to make enough money for school, medicine, and to tie one on now and then. In this sense, their newly found freedom to ignore all the laws saved the lives of many, lives that were put at risk due to no fault of their own.
I used to live in a city in Minnesota where the number one police call, the most frequent reason the cops had to “rush” to the scene of a crime, was when someone filled their gas tank at a filling station and drove of without paying. Clerks, they were, these cops. They didn’t really rush to catch the culprits. They stopped by the filling station to fill out a form that would allow the station’s owner to take the theft off as a loss. One day someone suggested that they make a rule that all filling stations would only pump out the gas if it was paid for by a valid credit card at the pump, or in advance inside the building. All the filling station owners wanted this rule, but could not admit that out loud, and could not impose this rule unilaterally. Well, they could impose the rule, but then all the people of that city, freedom-loving each and every one, would not go to that gas station any more, even though most of the townspeople already were paying inside (while buying a pack of smokes and a lottery ticket) or were using a valid credit card outside. It was the principle of the thing.
A resolution to create the law was drafted and entered the process and was about to be passed when someone noticed that his would be a freedom-killing regulation, so it was cancelled. And to this day, the number one call to the cops, and thus, one of the largest expenses to the freedom-loving people of that city, is when someone liberates a tankfull of gasoline and expresses their duly elected freedom by driving off without making payment. Ya gotta love democracy. If this was a communist country like the libs want, those people would have to pay for their gasoline!
A new wave of freedom washes across the landscape, in response to a deadly pandemic. Freedom to embrace the virus, to catch it oneself and to pass it on to others. Freedom to be a contagion. Freedom to wash one’s hands of the morbidity among children and widespread death among the elders, by not washing one’s hands at all! Freedom to breathe. Breathe in the virus, let it breed in one’s tissues, and breathe it out in abundance!
Freedom loving contagions die of the virus at double the rate of those who vaccinate. Distracted from fear and loathing of the imminent replacement by hippo-eating Africans, earthquake-ravaged Haitians, and others, the contagions are replacing themselves, with remarkable sense of duty to the freedom they love and have created for themselves.
Next time someone pulls the freedom card out of the deck, ignore them. They probably don’t know what freedom even is.