Thanksgiving Thoughts

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American ideas of freedom have been spread throughout the world.  But in very few places, if anywhere, have they become as deeply rooted as they are in our own soil.  The recent history of Western Europe has shown just how readily a free people can agree to restrict their freedoms in order to placate a freedom-hating minority.  (“Freedom,” Ronald Reagan reminded us, “is never more than one generation away from extinction.”)  Americans cheered when Communism fell in Europe.  Yet millions of Russians still cherish the memory of Stalin; in a new book about his travels in Germany, I Sleep in Hitler’s Room, the American Jewish writer Tuvia Tenenbom records, depressingly, that one person after another whom he met in the former East Germany longs for the days of Communism.  (They even miss the Stasi.)

For many Americans, such facts are hard to swallow and nearly impossible to make sense of.  Alas, for most people in most places in most eras of history, it has been nothing more or less than human nature to want to be told what to think and not think, what to do and not do, where to go and not go.  The world is scary and chaotic, and order imposed from without can be comforting.  The ordinary human individual is well aware that he has very little control over anything in his world and none of the answers to any of the important questions – but despite this, or rather because of it, he is eager to embrace the illusion that someone else does, and to follow and obey that person with a passion of religious dimensions.  (This, of course, is what was so unsettling about the irrational enthusiasm of many voters for Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign: to idealize any politician in such a way is thoroughly alien to the best of American traditions.)

The sad truth is that all too many people want to be cogs in wheels; they want to be parts of a collective; they want the security of being able to think of themselves as wards of a state.  In their eyes, to be a free individual is, above all, to be naked and vulnerable.  If twenty-first-century men and women in Western countries, heirs to the Enlightenment, can so readily spit on their freedom, imagine how much more difficult a sell individual liberty is for people nurtured on an obsessively collective, systematically oppressive culture founded in – and fixated on – a single book packed with bullying commands to hate, and to kill or convert, everyone outside the collective.  The wonder of the “Arab spring” is not that people in one country after another are happily exchanging one kind of autocracy for another, but that there are any voices for freedom at all.

So, yes, we Americans have much to be thankful for.  But much, too, of course, to be vigilant about – for even in America, as we all know, not only freedom but the love of freedom is today under siege, and those of us who recognize what is at stake have a solemn duty to keep that light from going out.

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  • theleastthreat

    Happy Thanksgiving! In spite of everything that has happened, we can still say that. Have a great day!

  • azdebi

    "This, of course, is what was so unsettling about the irrational enthusiasm of many voters for Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign: to idealize any politician in such a way is thoroughly alien to the best of American traditions." Well said! This sums up so well what I felt after Obama was elected…Thank you Mr Bauer for putting into words what so many of us have wrestled with for over three years.

  • mrbean

    Freedom is not free. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
    –John Stewart Mill–

    • Herman Caintonette

      This explains why Palestinians kill Zionists….

      • mrbean

        And why chimpouts fum dah hood shoot 7 -11 store clerks by you minset.

      • intrcptr2

        Actually it explains why Palestinians convince their children to kill themselves…

        They are cowards, one and all.
        This, thus, also explains, sadly, you need to hide behind a pitiable nom de plume (blanche, that is).

  • randy

    What freedoms have the natives had eversince thier land was stolen.

    • Ageofreason

      I realize that I am wasting my time responding to you, but I must ask the question: how does wandering across land confer ownership? Cultivation confers ownership if no one owned the land previously, but before the arrival of Europeans very few native Americans cultivated the land, and those who did eventually abandoned it. Most natives were nomadic. They found bison and fish and birds to eat; they did not husband them. They found berries; they did not cultivate them. To say that native North AQmerican Indian people "owned" the land is to virtually confer meaninglessness upon the word "own." If wandering on land, picking berries and hunting big game for food confers ownership, then a great many Americans with European roots own land to which they have no title, nor ever will. Ownership of land is a civilized construct and concept. Homesteading was a civilized way of conferring ownership upon individuals. They worked the land and lived in a fixed dwelling to obtain ownership. In fact North American natives had no concept of individual land ownership as we know it. Thus, to claim that Europeans stole the land is ludicrous.

    • ObamaYoMoma

      Randy….it is not our fault that the Indians were too weak to defend their land. Just like it is not our fault that you are a self-hating loon.

      • Herman Caintonette

        The Palestinians do not share their weakness. And by your metric, every rocket fired from Gaza is a righteous statement.

        • ObamaYoMoma

          The Palestinians do not share their weakness. And by your metric, every rocket fired from Gaza is a righteous statement.

          The so-called Palestinians were created out of whole cloth as a disinformation campaign in Moscow in 1964 by the Soviet KGB to dupe gullible useful idiots exactly like you. In reality they are the proxy of the Islamic world, and the jihad of conquest the Islamic world is waging perpetually against the Jewish unbelievers in Israel is just one small part of the greater global jihad at large being waged against all non-Muslim unbelievers around the world including you, me, and that mentally incompetent loon named Randy in the cause of Allah to make Islam supreme.

          • Herman Caintonette

            Yawn.

        • WilliamJamesWard

          That's just sick…………………..William

          • Herman Caintonette

            It is a fair and objective application of OYM's standards. Perhaps there is something wrong with OYM's standards?

  • LindaRivera

    LONG LIVE FREEDOM!

  • LindaRivera

    Our human rights and freedom are given to us by G-D. Only power hungry men seek to take away what G-D has given to us.

    I am deeply grateful that our Most Wonderful G-D, Creator of the Universe, is the absolute opposite of the god of Islam.

    Our loving Heavenly Father, Master of the Universe is loving, kind, merciful, compassionate and forgiving.

    G-D's Biblical requirement for ALL humanity is KINDNESS:

    Bible, Micah 6:8 And what does the L-RD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your G-D.

    • coyotecanyon

      LindaRivera, I wonder why you refer to God as G-D. Just curiousity not criticism. I believe some N.E. Indians owed land. Didn't they sell Manhatten Island to settlers or whomever? President Andrew Jackson (D) wanted the extinction of the Indians and have the rest driven into Canada. Custer failed. Indians on Reservations don't own the land, the government does. As the Founders warned repeatedly…DON'T trust government!. So when you see broken down houses and trailers on reservations ask youself, Would I invest money in building a better house on land I don't own?

      We've lost an incredible amount of freedom, for our "own good" so that the TSA is physically and verbally abusive and we have become conditioned to accept it if it means "saving one life."

      CAIR is in the White House re-writing our counter-terrorism training manuals wiping out any referance to Islam.,Jihadism, Muslims etc. They are re-writing history. Cair is an offshoot of the "non-violent" Muslim Brotherhood.

      Obamao is a marxist/Leninist, socialist sounds too tame for what he wants.

      • JoJoJams

        Re: spelling G-d :: "Now what about spelling the English name "God"? Even though it does not technically have "holiness," some people go beyond the letter of the law and show extra respect, by spelling God with a dash."
        http://www.aish.com/atr/Writing_the_Name_God.html

    • Herman Caintonette

      Your god is psychotic, sadistic, and fundamentally selfish. If and when he starts acting in such a manner as to deserve worship, he will receive it … but not one moment before.

      • intrcptr2

        So, you never go out in the sun, or drink beer?

        nice

  • ObamaYoMoma

    The recent history of Western Europe has shown just how readily a free people can agree to restrict their freedoms in order to placate a freedom-hating minority.

    What do you think the Patriot Act, the humongous Department of Homeland Security, the very intrusive TSA, and the gargantuan National Intelligence Directorate are? Their purpose is to placate a freedom-hating minority. Indeed, ban and reverse that freedom-hating minority and we could not only roll back the Patriot Act, the Department of Homeland Security, the very intrusive TSA, and the National Intelligence Directorate, but we could also get our financial house back in order.

    • Herman Caintonette

      Stop the presses! You actually agree with OWSers. My mail is read, my telephone, tapped. I have to submit to a full-body search to board an airplane. I can't lie to my government … but my government can't help but lie to me. And I am free? This is an integral part of what OWS is about.

      Ben Franklin had it right: If you are prepared to give up your liberty in exchange for security, you will in due course have neither.

      • ObamaYoMoma

        Stop the presses! You actually agree with OWSers. My mail is read, my telephone, tapped. I have to submit to a full-body search to board an airplane. I can't lie to my government … but my government can't help but lie to me. And I am free? This is an integral part of what OWS is about.

        Ben Franklin had it right: If you are prepared to give up your liberty in exchange for security, you will in due course have neither.

        The OWS morons are like you in that they have been rendered into mind controlled zombies via adherence to moral relativism. Indeed, corrupt a mind via moral relativism, and you can make those loons believe anything and do anything, even defecating on the hood of police cars in public. Thus, like you they have all been programmed to be self-hating moonbats.

        Thus, Ben Franklin was, of course, correct, however, unlike you, he never would have believed that the 9/11 jihad attacks were America's chickens coming home to roost. Instead, he would have advocated that we eliminate our enemies, as he viewed the world with moral clarity and in absolutist terms.

        • Herman Caintonette

          OYM: "The OWS morons are like you in that they have been rendered into mind controlled zombies via adherence to moral relativism."

          As opposed to brain-dead Fox-watching truck drivers who have been duped into believing that trickle-down economics actually benefits them, as their standard of living tanks. Yeah, right.

          What is moral relativism, if not letting Jews steal land because they are Jews, and not letting Palestinians fight back?

          OYM: "Ben Franklin was, of course, correct, however, unlike you, he never would have believed that the 9/11 jihad attacks were America's chickens coming home to roost. Instead, he would have advocated that we eliminate our enemies, as he viewed the world with moral clarity and in absolutist terms."

          He would have agreed with me, in suggesting that we don't make enemies in the first place. In his Farewell Address, George Washington advised us to not get involved in foreign entanglements. The battle between Palestinians and Zionists would have been none of our business back then, and should not be any of our business today.

          • ObamaYoMoma

            As opposed to brain-dead Fox-watching truck drivers who have been duped into believing that trickle-down economics actually benefits them, as their standard of living tanks. Yeah, right.

            There is no such thing as trickle down economics and you would know that if you weren't a mind numbed zombie. With respect to the lowering of the standard of living decline, that decline perfectly correlates with the massive expansion in government that has occurred since 2001.

            What is moral relativism, if not letting Jews steal land because they are Jews, and not letting Palestinians fight back?

            Jews stealing land is taqiyya meant to not only vilify Jews as greedy and evil capitalist, but also to distract gullible useful idiots like you from the reality that the permanent jihad of conquest being waged perpetually against the Jewish unbelievers in Israel is a small part of the greater global jihad at large that targets all non-Muslim unbelievers around the world including you and me.

            He would have agreed with me, in suggesting that we don't make enemies in the first place.

            Obviously, you haven't studied Ben Franklin. Indeed, if Ben Franklin were still alive today, he would insist that you be prosecuted for sedition and treason.

            In his Farewell Address, George Washington advised us to not get involved in foreign entanglements.

            Acting in self-defense and becoming involved in foreign entanglements are two entirely different thing altogether.

            The battle between Palestinians and Zionists would have been none of our business back then, and should not be any of our business today.

            If you weren't rendered into a mind numbed zombie via moral relativism, you'd already know that the battle is not between so-called Palestinians that were created out of whole cloth in Moscow in 1964 by the Soviet KGB as a disinformation campaign to dupe gullible useful idiots exactly like you. Instead, you would know that the permanent jihad of conquest being waged perpetually against the Jewish unbelievers in Israel by the Islamic world is only a tiny part of the greater global jihad at large that targets all non-Muslim unbelievers around the world including you and me.

          • Herman Caintonette

            OYM: With respect to the lowering of the standard of living decline, that decline perfectly correlates with the massive expansion in government that has occurred since 2001.

            Here are the facts: http://www.businessinsider.com/15-charts-about-we… You are just wrong, and the evidence shows this clearly. Not that citing evidence has ever deterred you from your advocacy of your immaculate preconceptions, but that is beside the point.

          • ObamaYoMoma

            Here are the facts: http://www.businessinsider.com/15-charts-about-we…. You are just wrong, and the evidence shows this clearly. Not that citing evidence has ever deterred you from your advocacy of your immaculate preconceptions, but that is beside the point.

            Oh wow…cute. Another George Soros funded leftwing propaganda website aimed at dividing the American people with a high sounding name. Par for the course. Like I already asked you, are you posting from from a tent at a shopping mall somewhere while freezing your nuts off and defecating on the hood of police cars in public to protest capitalism?

          • Herman Caintonette

            OYM: Jews stealing land is taqiyya

            Not to the people who still have deeds to family land stolen from them at gunpoint by the Zionasiz[sic to avoid censorship]….

          • ObamaYoMoma

            OYM: Jews stealing land is taqiyya

            Not to the people who still have deeds to family land stolen from them at gunpoint by the Zionasiz[sic to avoid censorship]…

            The only people that may still have deeds, are already dead. And refugee status only applies to those people as long as they are alive and not to their descendents. Furthermore, Israel repeatedly offered the opportunity for those people to be returned back to Israel on numerous occasions in the context of a permanent and lasting peace agreement, but as always was turned down. While the surrounding Islamic states that had ganged up together to wage an illegal war of aggression and a jihad of conquest on several occasions in a concerted effort to destroy Israel, locked them up in bob wire enclosed refugee camps and created new laws to deny those refugees the opportunity to become citizen of their respective countries to perpetuate the Islamic world's jihad of conquest against the Jewish unbelievers in Israel perpetually in the cause of Allah to make Islam supreme.

          • intrcptr2

            Considering that it was a Jew who helped pay the salaries of the Continental Army under Washington's leadership, I seriously doubt that George would ahve considered the Holy Land none of our business; he was talking about treaties that attached the US to European monarchies in their incessant squabbles.
            Considering Adams' and Jefferson's responses to both the French and the Berbers, I do think you are way over your head in understanding any of what went on then.

            As for Franklin, just how to reconcile his agreement with your neo-libertarian position and his role in Paris during the Revolution? Do you really think that he would have counseled Truman to remain silent in '48? Ben would have been quite ready to label enemies as such, whether we had made them ourselves or not (Which in this case we have not, being the same foe which the Marines fought in Tripoli some 200+ years previously).

            Pity that democracy works so well here in the US (Jews and Christians agree that Israel is indeed our business, and vote accordingly).
            Care to try that one on for size, Mein Herr?

  • tanstaafl

    Do not allow our politicians to bribe us into surrendering our freedoms.

    • ObamaYoMoma

      Do not allow our politicians to bribe us into surrendering our freedoms.

      It's too late, ask Molly Norris, ask the many authors that couldn't get their books published, ask South Park, etc. Try to go to a government building or fly to another city without either getting your junk photographed and personally examined or otherwise getting your junk manually manipulated. Indeed, what do you think the Patriot Act is?

      Of course, the solution is simple: Outlaw Islam and ban and reverse mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage, as zero Muslims living in the USA as a fifth column equals zero possibility of violent jihad attacks. Thus, with zero possibility of violent jihad attacks, there will be no need for the Patriot Act, the humongous Department of Homeland Security, the extremely intrusive TSA, and the National Intelligence Directorate. All of which are completely useless boondoggles in any event because other than creating a false sense of security, they don't actually make us any safer. Indeed, each time we import a Muslim into our country with all of its excess baggage, we incrementally increase the risk of violent jihad attacks.

      Indeed, had the incredibly incompetent Bush administration outlawed Islam and banned and reversed mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage instead of using the 9/11 jihad attack as a crisis to justify doubling the size, scope, and power of the federal government like a Dhimmicrat on steroids, not only would all those American citizens that were killed in jihad attacks such as the Fort Hood Massacre still be alive and well today, but all of those heretofore constitutionally protected rights and freedoms that elitist politicians usurped from us without our consent would also still be intact today.

      In fact, if we outlawed Islam and banned and reversed mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage and then subsequently rolled back the Patriot Act, the humongous Department of Homeland Security, the extremely intrusive TSA, and the gargantuan National Intelligence Directorate, not only could the US quickly get its financial house back in order, but it could also use some of the money it cost now to fund those albatrosses to pay down the national debt.

      Thus, today we are on the verge of hollowing out our military and at the same time swinging the door wide open for the forces of totalitarianism to dominate the world in order to continue accommodating mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage. Indeed, how many politicians have you heard make that statement? How many times have you heard that message in the news media? Nevertheless, it is true, and our elitist politicians together with the news media they control are selling us down the road.

      In fact, how many times have you heard US politicians and the news media discuss the prevalence of Muslim no-go zones ruled by Sharia as fifth columns that are present throughout Europe? Never! Is this a freak accident of nature and a very strange coincidence or is it by design? Indeed, why are Republican candidates in the debates never asked to state their opinions on the prevalence of Muslim no-go zones ruled by Sharia as fifth columns that are present throughout Europe and that are also forming in the USA today?

      • Herman Caintonette

        And where does Rep. Keith Ellison go? Some Muslims are local converts. Others have had children who have no other nation to go to. And on what constitutional or legal basis do you deprive them of citizenship? That they are non-persons?

        Seems that Nazi Germany tried your idea about 75 years ago….

        • ObamaYoMoma

          And where does Rep. Keith Ellison go? Some Muslims are local converts.

          Dude, I could care less! They are Muslim violent and non-violent jihadists, let them go wherever they want, as long as they are deported the hell out of the USA.

          Others have had children who have no other nation to go to.

          That's their problem. Their parents shouldn't have moved here for the purpose of stealth demographic conquest to begin with. Like illegal immigrants, their parents new the score and the possible consequences of their actions before they arrived here. Hence, that is not our problem.

          And on what constitutional or legal basis do you deprive them of citizenship? That they are non-persons?

          Show me where in the constitution it says that we must commit suicide by importing and protecting a fifth column of enemies so that they can destroy America from within? Did we also open the floodgates during the Cold War for mass Communist immigration as well?

          Seems that Nazi Germany tried your idea about 75 years ago….

          No not quite. What you are referring to is the exact same thing you have been obsessively fomenting with respect to the Jews living in Israel for decades.

  • Amused

    Great "Thanksgiving Thoughts " there Bruce . Congrats ! You have successfully spun a day for giving G_D thanks ,for whats on your dinner plate into a knock on Obama .And the sycophants chime in …..thou fools !

    • Herman Caintonette

      Bruce Goebbels Bawer is like his gay mentor. Everything can be spun into an argument for his preferred brand of fascism.

      • traeh

        Herman Caintonette,
        You clearly know virtually nothing of Bawer, but are quite prepared to lie about him. Being a liar is a terrible advertisement for your other political views. I've read Bawer's books, and only a liar or a totally mediocre idiot could call Bawer a fascist.

        Your overuse of the term fascist is a clear indication that, among Leftists, you are the mediocre kind, and that nothing can be learned from you. Indeed, even if you are not on the left, whatever you are, it's certain that you are a pure mediocrity. There are intelligent people on the Left, but one indication of the intelligent ones is that they would never debase the currency of words like "fascist" by using them for every little thing they disagree with, and slander thoroughly decent people like Bawer as though Bawer were a little Hitler or the like.

        People like you are infinitely more fascistic than Bawer, since you peddle evil slander, as you are too ignorant to argue with Bawer on the merits. So you smear him, just as a moronic thug brownshirt might do. Lying idiot mediocrities like you were also great for enforcing conformity under Stalin.

        • Herman Caintonette

          That's just silly, traeh. When I use the word "fascism," I use the clinical definition developed by Professor Britt ( http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/fasci14chars…. ). By that metric, the FPM crowd and much of the Religious Right (reorganized as the Tea Party) is the most fascist element of our polity.

          Just try counting how frequently DH and his minions use the word. If you were being consistent — no one on his side is intellectually consistent — you would conclude that there is nothing to learn from them.

          • intrcptr2

            Lawrence Britt is NO authority on facism, thank you very much (All that this is is a neo-liberal brushstroke aimed at pretty much everything that is midly conservative, and thus nothing at all; notice it covers pretty much all Communist movements after Russia, AND sharia too).

            Perhaps it might do to actually pay attention to the one who coined the term, and thus the concept. http://www.worldfuturefund.org/wffmaster/reading/

            The single most glaring omission in Britt's "definition" is the organic nature of the nation-state (For Hitler this took the form of Das Folk). Point 8 utterly misses the point which Mussolini made.

            You really shoudl lose the bookmark to that site, it is rotting your brain.

          • Herman Caintonette

            Mussolini described the term as being synonymous with Corporatism, where the State and corporate powers are intertwined in a symbiotic relationship; this is why I describe our government as a reverse-fascist plutonomy. The 99% oppose this, and you and Team Horror support it. This makes you fascists.

            Professor Britt compares fascist regimes, thereby painting a picture in practice

          • intrcptr2

            "no one on his side is intellectually consistent"

            wrong

          • traeh

            Bruce Bawer and Front Page both emphatically support a multi-party system, free press, freedom of religion, etc. To call Bawer fascist is what is silly.

            When you call an ordinary conservative a fascist, you create a momentary bubble in the language market, so to speak. You inflate the content of your statement — after all, fascists are indeed rather terrible monsters, so your statement's content at first appears relatively momentous — until people realize that the nominal values of your words is very different from the actual value — then the language bubble you created bursts, and people take your words as worth little. It turns out you are not really talking about something gigantically nightmarish, like fascism, but mere conservativism, which, whatever it's shortcomings, is one half of what any modern, healthy society needs to be balanced. Your use of "fascist" amounts to hysterical exaggeration, which you perhaps indulge in because you feel that otherwise your statements will be too gray, too nuanced, and thus almost impotent. Well, calling someone fascist who is not even close to fascist totally undermines your purpose.

            We have enough benighted people on both sides, left and right, who read only stuff from their own side, and castigate the other side as deserving of the 9th circle of Hell. There are well-meaning, brilliant people on both sides of the debate. Then there are the Rush Limbaughs and the Keith Olbermanns. You are probably a Keith Olbermann partisan, but you might as well be a Rush Limbaugh dittohead, because there isn't much difference between the two forms of narrow-minded slandering entertainment.

            The actual fascists and communists, the people and groups that really should be considered in thrall to evil ideas, are pretty rare, at least in the U.S. It's true that in other parts of the world, sharia-lovers (religious fascists, and that is not an exaggeration, I think) are quite common. But most people in the U.S. believe in freedom of conscience and freedom of speech, and are somewhere between social democrats and strong conservatives. When you call Bawer a fascist you lie and injure your own self and the society you probably claim to care about. Right or mistaken, Bawer is a rather brilliant writer (as you should know if you'd read one of his better books). He's also a very decent person who cares about minority rights and does not, like fascists, want to seem minorities crushed.

          • traeh

            As to the inconsistency of saying there is nothing to learn from you, fair enough. I was angry that you called Bawer a fascist, which is a stupid, vicious lie. So I exaggerated in saying there could be nothing to learn from you.

            The fact that you say only your side is consistent, and the other side is never consistent, is just ignorance on your part.

            People on the left and people on the right think they have reason for their biases. But they don't. In both cases, it's really just different forms of cerebral hemiplegia. Or like handedness. Some people are right-handed, and others are left-handed. Some people see the virtues of one side and the flaws of the other, but can't see from the other side's perspective, simply because people are one-sided. The only people who really deserve castigation and condemnation to the 9th circle of Hell, in my view, are those who really want to do away with liberal democracy and freedom of speech, religion, etc. You will probably say that conservatives want to do that. But that just shows what a spiritually provincial person you are, like so many today, on both left and right. A pox on both your houses.

  • Asher

    The people of America love their country. We are not lazy or a nation of cowards, we are people with a free spirit, and it will not be destroyed by Radicals. The Radicals have awakened a sleeping Giant in the same way 911 did.

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  • Amused

    I agree with traeh , the author of this STRAWMAN article is no fascist , although there are elements of fascism in his way of thinking , and propaganda which fascism more or less honed to a fine art ,especially in the absence of tv , and real time radio.
    The fact that the author would use a national day of Thanksgiving [ to G_D] to construct a petty political attack , is a testament to his LACK of talent as a journalist [that he is not ] and a very shallow attitude and content of character at the very least.