Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Words to Live By

Live Free or Die --Mark Steyn at Hillsdale College

MY REMARKS are titled tonight after the words of General Stark, New Hampshire's great hero of the Revolutionary War: "Live free or die!" When I first moved to New Hampshire, where this appears on our license plates, I assumed General Stark had said it before some battle or other—a bit of red meat to rally the boys for the charge; a touch of the old Henry V-at-Agincourt routine. But I soon discovered that the general had made his famous statement decades after the war, in a letter regretting that he would be unable to attend a dinner. And in a curious way I found that even more impressive. In extreme circumstances, many people can rouse themselves to rediscover the primal impulses: The brave men on Flight 93 did. They took off on what they thought was a routine business trip, and, when they realized it wasn't, they went into General Stark mode and cried "Let's roll!" But it's harder to maintain the "Live free or die!" spirit when you're facing not an immediate crisis but just a slow, remorseless, incremental, unceasing ratchet effect. "Live free or die!" sounds like a battle cry: We'll win this thing or die trying, die an honorable death. But in fact it's something far less dramatic: It's a bald statement of the reality of our lives in the prosperous West. You can live as free men, but, if you choose not to, your society will die.

I never thought about that quote in that way before, either, but it sure sheds light on what is happening to us in modern America. I'm telling ya, those old guys who built this country were a hell of a lot smarter than those in academia are willing to admit. And our so-called elite are a lot dumber and blinder, don't follow them, the quality of your life depends on it.

There are too many good parts to pull out of that speech, best just read the whole thing. It's worth it.

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