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Onto the Field of Honour with Mr. Frey

At long last it is time for the Duel. In order to appreciate the drama of this you might consider watching the end of Barry Lyndon, where you will find more than courage and honour involved. You'll also see intricate rules and rituals being followed to the letter, whilst Schubert's excellent piano trio plays in the background.

Young Lord Bullington, the step-son of Barry Lyndon, spoke to him: "Mr. Redmond Barry (aka Barry Lyndon): the last occasion on which we met you wantonly caused me injury and dishonour, in such a manner and to such an extent to which no gentleman can willingly suffer without demanding satisfaction, however much time intervenes. I have now come to claim that satisfaction."
I couldn't have said it better myself. In the original challenge I neglected to explain how the winner would be determined. Rest assured that it will be decided by a distinguished group of "seconds", as well as the head "factors" in charge of our respective estates and manors. Although their decision is final they welcome comments from readers, and promise to take these into account.

Now then, per the Wikipedia article on duelling, the challenged party (Mr. Frey) is entitled to shoot first:

I have selected essay #487 - "Disengagement" from Fred On Everything as his best. I think it is his best because he validates what I have come to believe. I have been disengaging slowly but surely ever since I quit my 'career' job in 1990 and am now a full time RVer. This is not the end of my disengagement, but simply another step along that path, but it is encouraging to read something that supports the direction that my life has taken. I also think it is his best because he touches on almost all of the subjects included in his other essays. By reading this one you will get a good introduction to what he writes about.
It is probably worthwhile to read the essay by clicking before reading more of my comments.
This essay includes topics that Fred writes about many, many times in the over 500 essays that he has in his archives. If you find that you disagree with his positions expressed in this one then you probably will not enjoy reading very many of the others.

Governmental Oppression, loss of freedom and political correctness are frequent topics in his essays.

Patriotism is also discussed many times. You may be turned off by what he says in this essay but by reading many of his others you will come to understand how and why he has come to have this position.

Education and Affirmative Action are also discussed repeatedly. This essay provides only a summary of what he thinks regarding our schools, many other essays go into greater detail.

Consumerism and Debt are discussed in much more depth in some of his other essays.
He only briefly touches on the subject of being an expatriot in this essay but many of his others discuss the subject in much more detail not only about Mexico but other places in the world.

My opponent's choice of #487 was a surprise since it was on my own list of semi-finalists. In fact I considered firing my pistol into the ground, thereby announcing my satisfaction and the end of the duel.

I've chosen #153, Military Reflections. Recall your Orwell: 'nothing worth reading is produced unless the writer practices a certain amount of self-abnegation.' That is a two-way street; and I was in the mood to practice a certain amount of self-abnegation as the reader. There were other essays that seemed more original, more pertinent to my own life, funnier, etc.

Rightly or wrongly, I chose an essay that offered what was unique to Fred Reed: there are few pundits and writers that have any direct experience with the soldiering business. This is a big problem considering how fundamental military culture and Permanent War are to the American Empire.

Fred Reed volunteered for the Marines during the Vietnam War and was in combat there, where he was wounded. His essays on war are pro-soldier and anti-Establishment. His bitterest assessments are of neo-con chicken hawks, the college boys who work in think tanks and can't wait to get America into the next Permanent War, as long as they, their offspring, friends, and acquaintances don't have to fight.

I admit that my opponent's choice offers a better one-essay sample of the range of Fred Reed's opinions.


Ed said…
For a single topic essay I think your selection is certainly high in my ranking also.
I wish to thank you for your kind words about my selection and I'm glad we both fired high and wide!
XXXXX said…
Well, it surely is a draw.

I wish, in a way, that you had set this up as a discussion of the content, which essay contained the best theme to get through people's brainwashed brains, which essay could best plant that crucial seed which will then grow to include all its manifestations (the subjects of all the other 500 essays.)

However, I do appreciate the humor of your duel and even chuckled with your spelling of humour. The good old days; the good old ways. But sometimes they weren't so good either.

I digress. Here's my point. So many of us seek some form of separation from the burdens of society as it is. As was stated in one of the essays, societies and governments usually start out well, being built on individual freedoms, etc. (unless it's an invasion, of course) but slowly become corrupted. This is absolutely inherent in the process and has occurred countless times everywhere and in all things. In units as small as a family (two people coming together with all good intentions and positive feelings and we all know how that turns out) and as large as countries.

It's good to see the limits of government or the military but don't stop there. See it fully a human process that permeates all human relationship. Surely, I realize that many people are mutually satisfied with these relationships over the long term.....that simply requires mutual acceptance of the interdependence of everyone involved. People are quite willing to give up certain freedoms for whatever they are getting in, economic gain, division of labor, etc.

There are many species in the world which refuse domestication and although they can be trained they are still wild (lions, bears, etc.) There are other species much more easily domesticated into a fully symbiotic relationship, dogs, for example, who fully accept and embrace a "master" in return for the protection and care given to them.

People belong to the latter group and so these relationships which continue to be formed, become corrupt, and die and move on to another relationship, etc. THAT is the bigger picture, in my opinion.
Anonymous said…
Yes, a draw.

The Desert Scruff
George, I don't think my opponent or I wanted to speak of Fred Reed by discussing the content of his essay point by point. We just wanted to point to it and then give the link. A reader could then go to it.

You said,"So many of us seek some form of separation from the burdens of society as it is." Amen!
Jim and Gayle said…
Thanks for the links as I had never had the pleasure of reading the thoughts of Fred.

While I enjoyed both and found much to agree with it was the piece on the military that struck the sympathetic cord with me.

My brother was in the Army in the 60's and early 70's in special forces. He came out unscathed and had told me that I should never join. I was fortunate in that I was never picked in the draft.

It remains somewhat of a mystery to me how we continue to allow ourselves to be led like sheep to the slaughter both literally and figuratively.

Jim, glad that out pointer to Fred Reed's essay meant something special to you.