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Amerika's Most Obscene National Holiday

Is "obscene" too harsh of a word? It could be. For many years I called Christmas the most obscene national holiday. But that was a mistake. The commercialism (and endless, stupid music) of Christmas might be objectionable on the basis of taste, but it doesn't really offend important values held by serious and sincere people. After all, Christmas really isn't a Christian holiday; it never was. It's simply about fun.

But the hypocrisies of the modern Fourth of July do offend the values that most Americans used to take seriously. What could be more disgusting than pretending to care about "freedom" one day a year when, in fact, freedom means little to the average Amerikan today.

Too bad I haven't paid more attention to politicians' speeches; it would be great to have statistical proof of a mere suspicion of mine that Democratic politicians don't even bother bloviating about freedom -- nobody would believe them if they did. The whole notion seems hopelessly retrograde, archaic, and embarrassing to them. In contrast, neo-con, police-state Republicans still pay lip service to "freedom." They don't mean a word of it.

If a Democrat gave a traditional Fourth of July oration s/he would probably blush, whereas a Republican wouldn't even see a problem, since the modern version of the Fourth of July has moved towards themes that he genuinely cares about: jingoism, militarism, and global imperialism.

We must go to words of the prophet (grin), Fred Reed (#348):
I gather that Americans tend to regard their national character as comprising such things as freedom, independence, individualism, and self-reliance. One thinks of Daniel Boone or Marlboro Man.
In fact we no longer have these qualities and probably never will again. Generally we now embody their opposites. Modern society has become a hive of largely conformist, closely regulated and generally helpless employees who depend on others for nearly everything.
Character springs from conditions. Consider a farmer in, say, North Carolina in 1850. He was free because there was little government, self-reliant because what he couldn’t do for himself didn’t get done, independent because, apart from a few tools, he made or grew all he needed, and an individualist because, there being little outside authority, he could do as he pleased.
All of that is gone, and will not return. Freedom has given way to an infinite array of laws, rules, regulations, licenses, forms, requirements.
And so, my fellow Americans, I say unto you that you should ignore this dreadful farce of a national holiday.


I've always hated the 4th, even as a kid, especially after drifting ashes from the city display almost caught our house on fire.
Unknown said…
Freedom is a personal choice, and we can all achieve it to varying degrees even despite the games our government plays.

Speaking of games it comes down to this: Are you going to play their game or make up your own?
Tesaje said…
The rugged mountain man of the past was largely a myth promulgated by Hollywood. Pioneers were very dependent on each other and their behavior was very conscripted by their own mythology and social strictures. The dangers were great. If they got captured by the Native Americans, they were slaves. There were some psychopaths who made most fear them who had free reign until someone managed to kill them. Dodge City made every one give up their guns until they left town - early gun control because it was just too dangerous to have all those short-tempered idiots armed and they wanted a bit of civilization in town. Women, especially, were unfree. I'll take modern freedoms any day over the intense strictures of the past and an inability to earn a living.

Don't know who has more chutzpah when it comes to politicians. They are pretty much a lying breed and always have been. I do gag at the double-speak of the reactionary Repugs who wrap themselves in the flag while calling for a jack-booted police state and religious totalitarianism. 1984. Who was it who said "when fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and a crucifix"?
Anita said…
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XXXXX said…
Sometimes you are downright depressing.

I hope you read Tesaje's comments carefully. She speaks with wisdom. Your idol, Fred Reed, certainly has made quite a fool of himself. This is perhaps your worst posting ever.

Just the fact that you can write those words and put them on the internet proves that Freedom is alive and well in the US. You have no worry of arrest. THAT is not true in many countries. To speak against the government meant a knock on the door in the middle of the night.

You live in vehicle produced by others. You are not self-sufficient yourself. You get your food and supplies in stores, all produced by others. We are always interdependent on each other or we will pay the consequence which can take many unpleasant forms, the least of which is an early death.

I don't know what it is about the human condition that causes such grumbling as you demonstrate. A blindness to what is right and so good in this world, a flaming sense of superiority and privileged vision that you seem to think you have.

If you are so unhappy being an American and so blind to the freedoms that you have, why don't you just leave the country?

I know we have problems. Problems are inevitable. But we indeed have many freedoms and many people died for that rather than live a life of repression. So as you freely roam around the SW in your RV living the life you so desire, early retirement and all, just think about all those folks who died for you.

Ed said…
"If you are so unhappy being an American and so blind to the freedoms that you have, why don't you just leave the country?"

That is exactly what Fred Reed has done because he recognized that freedom has given way to an infinite array of laws, rules, regulations, licenses, forms, and requirements. He did not believe that the freedom to publish a blog without getting the knock on the door was enough. He did not believe that the freedom to travel around the United States relatively unimpeded was enough.

There are others such as Boonie, and myself, that have not yet taken that final step as has Fred but do recognize that the freedoms we have are not enough.
Anonymous said…
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TomInBellaVista said…
Few of us today have the requisite skills you admire. Joshua Slocum, the first to circumnavigate the globe, built the boat, sailed the voyage and then wrote a best seller describing his adventure. He navigated with a wind-up alarm clock. It wasn't a sense of adventure that drove him to do this, but being a sailing Captain, boatless, in the age of Steam, he had no choice if he wanted to provide for his family. Of course much of what you lament results from specialization, each of us performing the task(s) we are best suited for. I had a fairly decent career, largely compensated for my knowledge, not making things. I was born at the right time, to imagine otherwise would be romantic nonsense. I do agree wholeheartedly with your remarks concerning militarism. I copied the last line of Tesaje's comments and appended it as a "reply to all" remark in response to one of the many flagwaving FW: pass it on emails that found their way to my inbox this morning.
Tesaje said…
But I do not think that those who wish this country might be different would just go away and leave it. A fundamental freedom is that to disagree with the majority and disagree vocally with our government. We need dissenting voices in the public sphere to get to the better. We will never have perfection but if every one who had disagreed with how this country is run left and were silenced, we would have no freedom at all and would never have gained additional freedoms from the original slave holding citizens. The blog world gives anyone a published voice - something Tom Paine could only have dreamed of. Agree or disagree but don't stop discussing.
Sondra said…
The USA has been in a fascist state for some time now...corportions are pulling all the strings, The funny thing is a Democracy is based on MAJORITY RULE, not freedom, dont really know where they myth came from, except we got free from the governing Brits...Unregulated would nice, but then there is that Majority Puppet Master.
Anonymous said…
Let's see here . You complain because you live in a country that allows you to say anything you want, retire early and not contribute to our society any longer, but to take from it, travel whenever you want wherever you want, and be protected by our police and our soldiers who would give the ultimate sacrifice to protect you. You are so sad...
Anonymous said…
Freedom as an inner sense is available anywhere, anytime as it need not be dependent on any external conditions.

Without some sense of equality, as in "equal opportunity", there can be no "freedom" in a social or political sense.
And that is the external freedom that no longer exists in the United States save for those who can "afford it". And as those who can "afford it" grow fewer and even more voracious in hoarding the only mana that buys freedom our inequality, and overall "freedom" shrink exponentially.

Once the entitled elite claimed the "Divine Right of Kings" as their justification for entitlement. Today, with the genitility of hogs at the feed trough, they merely slurp it up because they're closest to where it is and, since money is power in our society, none who have less than they can stand up to them.

This is the socio-politcal truth of life in the United States of America. Most of us had better learn to enjoy our "inner freedom" because that is all we're ever going to get.
XXXXX said…
Yes, a wonderful thing about this country is that dissent is allowed. That is a part of Freedom as well. Improvements only come through disagreements being allowed to be spoken and solutions sought.

THAT is quite different from what we have here. Mockery and sarcasm do not qualify as quality conversation. Nor does an attitude of superior knowledge over others.

It is very revealing to me when people who only try to knock everything down still stay here when they are free, quite free, to get in their little RV's and head for the nearest border. It is just downright hypocritical.

The original post remains very offensive.
All, thanks for all the lively comments (except for the couple commenters that sunk to grade school playground name-calling).

Perhaps some light-hearted perspective is in order: there's something about national holidays that brings out the mad prophet, Howard Beal, in me. (Recall the classic movie, Network.) If nothing else it gives commenters a chance to get something off their chests.

And anything is better than the perfunctory bromides and platitudes about the Fourth that feel comfortable, but don't contain a word of truth.
Scamp, the email address listed at the top left of the screen is correct, but it is not a hot link. You have to type it manually in your email program.

Note the underlines -- they are not hyphens.
Anonymous said…
Hi Boonie,

Your post is bang on. Those disagreeing are missing some major points. One example: the State CAN come knocking at your door in the middle of the night, but they most likely won't bother with the knocking: they'll welcome themselves in without a warrant. It's called the Patriot Act, people. A country with that kind of power is nothing less than a police state. That was one of Bush's legacies. And now you've got Obama's NDAA. Okay, that's two examples. There's a lot more if you just look.

You think you live in a free country? You're just as blind as the politicians want you to be. Don't get hostile towards people like Boonie for trying to help you open your eyes to the truth.

As for Boonie's email, there is a space between @ and yahoo, so anyone simply copying and pasting won't be able to send emails to him. I tried in the past, and it wasn't until I looked closer that I realized the problem.

Be well everyone.

Thanks Johnny for the comment and your email. You're right about the extraneous space in my email in the upper left, under the photo of the little poodle and me at Shiprock.

It has been corrected and tested. You can now cut and paste it into your email.
XXXXX said…
I agree with that example of the government's extended power under the Patriot Act. I don't like it either. The Bush administration very successfully kept the American people in fear for years in order to achieve political control. It worked. The country was basically paranoid.
Bush also believed in little to no regulation of internal economics and I think this contributed significantly to the economic crash.
When a country is in its early stages of development, there is more freedom as I think you are referring to, but this quickly diminishes as problems develop, since there are always people who take advantage of these freedoms for their personal gain. More laws start coming into play in an attempt to control this.
I agree there is too much government. It becomes ridiculous.
All I have heard here are complaints though. I haven't heard any intelligent suggestions about how things can be balanced out in a better way.
So, Johnny, Boonie, and all you others so quick with your critical tongues......let's hear some of your constructive thoughts, if there are any.
XXXXX said…
I would like to add a few more comments about freedom.
Freedom, the way humans conceive of it, means freedom from the natural forces of nature so that humans have a better life. In other words, they live longer and healthier and can run around at will pursuing their selfish entertainments.
If you want to be free from society's shackles, you must go to a remote area, free from cell phones, internet, grocery stores, etc. where there is little or no government. But you will never be free from Nature. She is a hard cold taskmaster with no empathy at all. Your life will likely be much shorter and more miserable.

I suggest there is an awful lot of hubris here recently. You cannot take the benefits of living in a society and organized culture without giving up some of your personal freedoms in return. There is no perfect state of freedom. The concept of freedom is a human invention, a product of imagination. It does not exist in the natural world.
That is why I will always appreciate the human capacity to conceptualize what can only be considered extraordinary. It is so easy to forget that.
Gee George, it might take a post or two to solve all America's problems, but it's fun to try.

Recall that wonderful quote from Horace, a poet in ancient Rome: "Fleeing vice is the beginning of virtue." The profound beauty of that old saying always escaped me until I put equal emphasis on both halves of the sentence.

The beginning of restoring the American Republic is to renounce our global imperial ambitions. End the wars and bring the troops home, not just from the Mideast, but also from Germany, Korea, Okinawa, and the hundred other locations that they ARE, but have no right to be.

Step 2) cut the military budget down to the size of the next biggest military spender.

3) Break up the "too big to fail" banks.
Ed said…
Hubris--"a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power".

I don't think this applies to anyone that has Commented on this post or the original posting.

Boonie's three step "constructive thoughts" might border on hubris IF he had any power however. But even IF they display hubris they are more constructive than saying anyone critical of their society should flee it.
Anonymous said…
Some ideas to make change:

-Stop voting in a false democracy: it legitimizes a system that not does not work, and is in fact, only an illusion. When there is nothing of value to vote for (e.g. Obama or Romney), why vote? The next President is predetermined anyway, and it has little to do with the majority of voters.

-Quit banking with the "too big to fail" banks.

-Avoid being taxed to the best of your ability (I'm mostly speaking of federal income taxes). There are plenty of ways. Take back from the government what has been taken from you by legal means, if such means are available. Lie if you have to: it was taken from you by force, so why be honest with a dishonest system?

-Do not join the military. If you are currently a serving member, quit. If you are conscripted/drafted, fight to the death any man pointing a gun at you demanding that you serve ("live free or die").

-Boycott any friends or family members (or even strangers you meet) that serve in the military or government in any capacity. Do not support them: they are NOT serving you, they are serving the government, and the government does NOT have your best interests in mind. Big government exists to serve itself. By supporting it and its enforcers (the military), you support a bigger government. Until there is a government worth serving, there is no need for a military. Learn how to handle yourself and a firearm: if you're invaded, don't rely on the military.

-Stop the subjective nonsense ideas such as "freedom is comfort and longevity". Freedom is not an invention: it is a true state of being. Some people are afraid of it, and prefer the idea of living with the cozy comforts that come from sacrificing one's individuality/independence. To suggest that independence is impossible in a modern society since the Agricultural Revolution is the silly premise of a subjectivist with little or no idea of what independence means. Independence is mostly a state of mind, one that can think for itself objectively, and reacts to his or her current environment realistically. Independence and freedom is not relative: it is contextual, and contexts deal with reality. Any one that thinks reality is subjective, we have nothing to discuss: I'd just as soon argue the existence of god with a fundamentalist. It's a waste of time for both parties.

-Finally, educate yourself. Choose a rational philosophy to guide you. Understand your values and act upon them. Life is the primary value, and independence and freedom are corollaries of that value.

There are many ways to change the system. First, you need to change yourself. This is achieved through education and philosophy. Obviously, that's not simple, but it can be achieved. When you understand your values and act upon them, you create value, whether it's money, happiness, your self-esteem, "spiritual", or material products.

Freedom is not free, but it's not soldiers that pay that price all the time. Soldiers nowadays are dying for the globalists agenda of world-wide enslavement. Globalists do exist: ever heard of globalization? Who do you think are promoting it and making it happen? Big governments are promoting it, and soldiers are making it happen.

That's enough for now.

My plea, to everyone, is to just THINK. Look around you and THINK. When you understand, ACT.
XXXXX said…
I believe we have discussed these ideas here in the past. I have agreed with them.

You quote the second definition from wikipedia. The first definition is excessive pride or arrogance. I believe there has been arrogance here.

Ed, with all due respect, I have read your blog, as much as I could stand, and it strikes me as a consistent rant against government and society. You mentioned that you have yet to take that final step, as Fred Reed has done, and leave the country. I simply share those sentiments. Anyone who is so severly dissatisfied with things should seek a constructive healthy change.
Jim and Gayle said…
Boonie, your three step plan sounds like a good one. Unfortunately, it flies in the face of the Republican platform and I suspect a number of Democrats would take issue as well.

And our politicians and corporations would have us believe that your suggestions are anti-American perhaps leading us to communism.

I would suggest a first step of getting corporate money out of campaign finance and like it or not term limits.

It would seem that until we can get our government out of the hands of those with the money to buy influence we have no hope.

George, you might not like Ed's political bent on his blog. That's fine. But he reads some of the same websites as I do, and I've been consistently amazed at how pithy and condensed and well-chosen his quotes are. Three minutes of reading his blog replaces hours of reading dispersed websites.

You'd be fortunate if you found a blog congenial to your political point of view that did as well as Ed.
XXXXX said…
Boonie, such a display of collusion. It is beneath you.
I prefer to think for myself. Seeking out blogs that simply reinforce the way one already thinks may give one a sense of righteousness but does nothing to open one's mind.
TomInBellaVista said…
Boonie, I read Ed's site too. He seems to be an informed person, but yet will end with a rant, singling out just one politician. I have grown accustomed to the ranting, but repeating opposition talking points as fact is a little disappointing. Of course it's his Blog, and the Blogosphere is vast, as you suggest.
Anonymous said…
I'm increasingly confused by the topic of freedom as it invariably reveals there is no agreement on exactly freedom is.

If I'm able to freely write or say what I think and believe without fear of repercussion, I'm able to move about freely, able to form my own opinions about politics, culture, religion, global strategy, etc., able to live in a way that minimizes my dependence on energy, taxation, material, and ideology in whatever form, am I to believe that somehow my freedom is compromised by:

1) American troops on foreign soil
2) Large military budget
3) Bank that are too big to fail

Or is my definition of freedom only complete if everyone else would just agree with me. If they don't I'm going to spell America with a K.

XXXXX said…
Very interesting distinction, Carl. I think the cause for the lack of confusion is the worry that our economic and military situations are an eventual threat to our freedom.
I do agree wholeheartedly that freedom means different things to different people. And being the imperfect beings that we are, we tend to only see the situation according to what is likely to interfere with our own personal want list, rather than the greater good.
Anonymous said…
"I think the cause for the lack of confusion is the worry that our economic and military situations are an eventual threat to our freedom."

I agree, but when has that not been true? The prophet Fred Reed mentions a farmer in North Carolina that, based on conditions, must embody the very nature of freedom and self-suffiency that is now lost.

Based on conditions? Did that farmer have access to the vast array of information we have today? Were there there no threats to his freedom anywhere in the world, perhaps even in the next town? Did he have time while tending to his crops, animals, and family to even have a discussion along these lines?
Is that freedom or ignorance? Please don't take these questions as an attack on said farmer but only to point out that "what you don't know won't hurt you" as opposed to "what you do know is, potentially, a threat that should be acted on, true or not."

Which describes freedom?

As Tesaje has pointed out humans have depended on others, to their benefit or "potential" detriment, regardless of conditions, throughout history, everywhere.

The fact we could have this discussion at all should be a cause for celebration. I'm gonna shoot off a rocket.