Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Soldiers and Umbrellas

To expand a bit on yesterday's post:  A soldier makes you free in the same way an umbrella makes you dry -- an umbrella that someone else is holding.  An umbrella can protect you from some of the external threats to your dryness, but not all of them -- it can't stop you from getting wet from the side or below.  Also, if you are already wet, it cannot really dry you off.  Likewise, a soldier can give you partial protection from external threats to your freedom, though some threats might be seen as sneaking in "from the side".  For example, censorship, rationing, the draft, and the like are real limitations to freedom, and these are often imposed in the face of external threats to freedom.  What's more, if you do not have the habits, culture, and internal disposition of freedom, a soldier is not really able to provide you with them.  

But perhaps most importantly, what an umbrella actually does depends on the skill and intentions of the person holding it.  An umbrella can be used to keep someone dry, but it can also be used to make someone even wetter than he was before (by channeling water onto him or dumping the accumulated water on him).  In a similar way, what a soldier actually does depends on the skill and intentions of the government employing him. 

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