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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Caught Between the Scylla and the Charybdis of Freedom, I Have To Admit I Was Wrong

I spend my time trying to look at the world with an open mind. I spend my time passionately defending every human being's right to live free from the capricious constraints of government. I also spend my time concerned about my credibility. Any regular reader of this blog knows I have also spent a great deal of time telling the story of the Middle East from the perspective of the suppressed who live there. I supported the Arab Spring within a few days of the uprising in Tunisia and have put a lot of effort into telling the stories of the revolutions in Bahrain, Egypt, Libya and Syria. I believed the root of the revolution was a desire for freedom.

I believe freedom and liberty usurp peace when peace is at the hands of tyrants, so I was able to look at the Arab Spring as a chance for subjugated people to seize their right to self-determination. Having spent years dealing with people from the region I have come to admire the people I have met. I am vehemently opposed to the way the culture treats its women, but on a personal level (with a few exceptions from Saudi Arabia), I have not met a single person from North Africa or the Middle East I did not like or appreciate. Am I so naively stupid to ignore the fact that the region is rife with savagery and religious stupidity? No, but my life in the regular world hasn't put me in contact with those who would kill me.

Protesters scale the wall of the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, shortly
before US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens was brutally
murdered. AP

Murdered US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens

With anti-American violence on the rise in Egypt and Tunisia, and the savage murders of our Ambassador to Libya and three others yesterday, it's time to re-think the Arab Spring. My views on freedom and self-determination have not changed, but an attack on an embassy is generally considered an act of war. Quite frankly, my country was a safer place with the people of the region under the rule of tyrants. I now have a choice between freedom for people with little or no regard for the general safety of my fellow countrymen, or subjugation of those same people in order to preserve safety (not peace, safety) for Americans. To a libertarian this is a Hobson's Choice.

Since I live in the real world, filled with real people who are evil, I am forced to choose the latter, even though making this this choice makes me a hypocrite. Therefore, I will have to continue to champion freedom and accept its failures when they present themselves to me. I will not pander and say I have tolerance for all religions, because in fact I believe quite the opposite. I support your right to worship as you please while I also look upon all organized religion with a jaundiced eye. Throughout history, theology has proven to have very little to do with the barbarianism of the religious.

I understand freedom is a messy venture and that evil people work hard to derail it whenever they can. Therefore, I do not condemn all of the people of Libya for the murder of Christopher Stevens, but I do condemn the Libyan government (since the government represents the people, the logical conclusion is yours to make). I am also afraid that as more details come out, the culpability of the Libyan government and its people are going to become clear.

The Libyan government needs to strongly repudiate the savage barbarianism they supposedly fought to end in their country, or we as Americans need to consider Libya an enemy. Not at some nebulous time in the future, but today. The same must be said for Tunisia and Egypt.

I am sad to have to admit that so far my belief in the people of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya has proven to have been a mistake.

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