Monday, May 25, 2009

Today we commemorate the fallen American Soldier and all he fought for, all he sacrificed. By extension we celebrate the genius, joy, and power of American Freedom -which becomes so apparent when contrasted with that sacrifice. We have parades and barbecues, we put our flags out. I went running in the park today. No one stopped me. I have every American Soldier, living and dead, to thank for that. It is utterly profound.

The enemies of Freedom can catch you with your pants down, which is fine because our soldiers are prepared to fight under precisely these conditions:

May 11, 2009: Spc. Zachery Boyd, far left, wore 'I love NY' boxer shorts and flip-flops in a fire fight with Taliban militants after rushing out of bed to join his fellow platoon members.

The space shuttle Atlantis, the most advanced human transport vehicle ever invented by mankind (made in America!) landed safely in California yesterday. It was a very dangerous mission of telescope repair, which just goes to show how seriously Americans take their science. They flew 5.3 million miles to do it, and it cost over a billion dollars. Yes, we take our science very seriously. Isn't this country awesome?

I mention it because I was thinking about deceased astronomer Carl Sagan who said: "National boundaries are not evidenced when we view the earth from space. Fanatic ethnic, religious, or national identifications are a little difficult to support when we see our planet as a fragile, blue crescent, fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the bastion and citadel of the stars."

He was wrong. What a puffed-up, thoughtless overstatement. See if you can find North Korea, probably the least free place in the universe, in this photo taken from space:

[HINT: It's that dark region between China and South Korea.]

Lots of people on the right have been coming down on General Colin Powell lately for this or that. Whatever. Years ago he was on MTV and asked how he felt representing a country commonly perceived as "The Satan of Contemporary Politics."

He replied,

Far from being the Great Satan, I would say that we are the Great Protector. We have sent men and women from the armed forces of the United States to other parts of the world throughout the past century to put down oppression. We defeated Fascism. We defeated Communism. We saved Europe in World War I and World War II. We were willing to do it, glad to do it. We went to Korea. We went to Vietnam. All in the interest of preserving the rights of people.

And when all those conflicts were over, what did we do? Did we stay and conquer? Did we say, "Okay, we defeated Germany. Now Germany belongs to us? We defeated Japan, so Japan belongs to us"? No. What did we do? We built them up. We gave them democratic systems which they have embraced totally to their soul. And did we ask for any land? No, the only land we ever asked for was enough land to bury our dead. And that is the kind of nation we are.

God bless America.


Today's reading is Mark Steyn's recent lecture at Hillsdale College, "Live Free or Die". It's a good one, however political, about freedom and the dangers of big government.

I suggest enjoying it out on the patio with a premium domestic microbrew, while the coals are warming.