But this essay by David Warren at RCP, which discusses the recent conference on liberty that Bush attended while in Europe, puts my fantasies in perspective. Warren quotes a number of the luminaries attending that meeting and ends with a quote from President Bush:
George W. Bush, of USA: "Freedom can be resisted, and freedom can be delayed, but freedom cannot be denied."
This last is the only statement I'll contest. In my view, and my experience, freedom can be resisted, delayed, and denied, and moreover, it can be in decline, as it is in the West, where the nanny state grows insidiously and constantly -- regardless of who is elected to government -- with the expanding power of the self-appointed elites who control our legal systems, and regulatory regimes.
It is nice to say rhetorically that freedom will prevail, but we must realize that such statements apply to heaven and not to earth. For down here, civic freedom is invariably obtained at the cost of human blood and treasure. It is not obtained by negotiating with dictators, except from a position of invincible force, and then only when one is fully prepared to use it. The very argument used against the wisdom of invading Iraq -- that it costs blood and treasure -- is itself the signal of surrender.
Aristotle once wrote that the magnificent man "does not count the cost." He understood also the virtue of prudence, the need for calculation and tact. But prudence itself is not finally calculated in blood or treasure. In the words with which my own country, Canada, was once mobilized against the Hitler menace: "No price too high!"
There is no price too high for human liberty, and those who dispute this are, and deserve to be, slaves.
I quite agree, and have come to understand over the last several years of blogging about one insanity after another, that there are very powerful forces at work in our own country and in the world that want nothing more than to eradicate human liberty and chain the mind of the individual to the collective.
I very much want to believe that human freedom is an unstoppable force; that the forces that created man meant for him to everywhere live in freedom and not in chains; and perhaps that is true in the very long term, since Freedom has slowly but surely increased since the time humans first congregated in groups. But I can no longer deny the reality that Freedom can be stopped in the short term; and that even a country that has always been a beacon of that precious liberty can be dimmed.
It is happening right now, everywhere in this country because most people find the price is way too high for them.
Maybe I am just having a bad day.