The Butcher’s Brother

Master Peter was right; the man who buys the meat is brother to the butcher. It was squeamishness, not morals…like the man who favors capital punishment but is himself too “good” to fit the noose or swing the axe. Like the person who regards war as inevitable and in some circumstances moral, but who avoids military service because he doesn’t like the thought of killing.

“Free men aren’t ‘conditioned!’ Free men are free because they are ornery and cussed and prefer to arrive at their own prejudices in their own way–not have them spoonfed by a self-appointed mind tinkerer!”

Robert A. Heinlein, Revolt in 2100


Vexatious reading from Heinlein, who alway provoked thoughts.

I had a bad day once. Until that day, I had always assumed that all humans desire freedom. And then it occurred to me to question that belief, and I haven’t been the same since. Most people who ostensively argue for liberty, argue for it on the grounds of increasing prosperity and material betterment. Even Mencken thought that freedom unleashed human potential in the good direction. Perhaps…maybe. What if it didn’t? What if freedom produced, not a “successful society”, but what most people think of as “Somalian Anarchy?” What if the majority of people were less well off, poorer, and had no “safety net” whereby they might live well by draining the productive capacity of society’s “overachievers”? Most of the people who chant “Tax the rich!” think that “the rich” can be milked without them even feeling it. Perhaps…maybe. But is it right?

I was blessed with a strong back, an ornery and cussed nature, and enough wherewithal to provide for myself. Even if I’ll never be rich, at least I won’t starve. But I consider freedom a necessary “soil nutrient”. And these days, not only are my chains chafing, but every alleyway I turn into seems to have a police roadblock barring my way. Everything in me screams, “Fight or Flee!”, but there doesn’t seem to be anywhere to flee to and fighting seems a sure path to martyrdom. Is there another option that I’m missing?


2 Comments on “The Butcher’s Brother”

  1. Craig Cavanaugh says:

    A sort of “flee” option. If we could gather enough like minded folks together, reclaim some stolen land (BLM or some such), and secede from the union. Galt’s Gulch, as it were. Other than that, start building a sailboat… As I said in my post today, there will be no fight. The odds are stacked way against us. Heh, for that matter, the Gulch might as well be named The Alamo II… It would be fun though!

    • Underground Carpenter says:

      Hi Mayberry,

      It sure would be fun! I think there’s enough like-minded folks out there, but uprooting a family and moving them would take serious savings and preparation.

      I like the sailboat idea, although I’ve never been on a boat before. I’d have to go to your definition page and memorize what to call things. If technology was a bit further along, we could start terra-forming an asteroid, or building domes on the moon. If I could figure a way to grow veggies and raise chickens on a floating island, I’d put a For Sale sign up on our house tomorrow. Sadly, the flee option is gonna take a leap in technology or as-yet-undiscovered frontier.

      We’re definitely outnumbered on the fight path, and since life is still worth living, I’m not interested in martyrdom.


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