ATOMIC LIBERTY ENCHAINED
DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS
I felt a temper tantrum coming on!
Libertarians extoll individual liberty as the atomic fuel of the American Dream. I sympathize with their liberal sentiment to the bottomless pit of my being. However, since my treatment Upstate, I have serious reservations about the virtues of unharnessed atomic liberty, despite the underlying subjective theme of My Vain Philosophy. Yes, my vanity does remain intact notwithstanding the tortuous therapies, shock treatments, chemical injections, wet-sheet wraps, and wall-chaining my body was subjected to after I was granted asylum–the reformation of my protestations was achieved just shy of a prefrontal lobotomy. But my vanity is under control now, for the greater good of mankind.
Atomic liberty is mighty fine and subjectively dandy, but in order to accomplish anything, liberty must be enchained in one way or another. We can worship Power or Force or Being until we drop dead praying for Action at a Distance, but nothing shall get done absent an immediate deed. Well, yes, one thing might be accomplished without labor: our refusal to cultivate our gifts might anger the humanoid gods–please excuse my pluralization of the one god: I have faith my one god is greater than all the other one gods put together, yet to be civil I would show them all a little respect as evidence of my rehabilitation Upstate.
The prophet Marx revealed the divinity of Labor, averring that Labor literally creates man, elevating him over necessity rather than subjecting him to it, hence all men must labor even in the midst of abundance. Man works therefore he is; if man does not work, he ceases to exist. Furthermore, since Labor will eventually free man from the necessity of working at all, he shall finally work himself out of a job and cease being a man; I presume he shall be a full-fledged god after he works himself to death, since being an aristocrat or ivory tower philosopher is contrary to the party line. Be that as it may, no deed gets done without an opposing force or inertia. Therefore force in itself is evil only to those who prefer death or to those who have achieved godhood and prefer to remain in heaven rather than save mankind.
Furthermore, since no individual human being exists as such without being socialized, it is social restraint that creates, tries, and proves human liberty–with all due respect to the bears and wolves who raise it, a feral child is a slave of nature. No, we are not born free: we are born equally helpless, then made unequally free.
Moreover, in dual relationships, couples soon learn there is no free will or individual liberty without an opposing will, nor are there individual identities without their relative differences. A married couple may be one entity at the highest spiritual level, but never one in time and space. The husband complains his wife is holding him back from being all he can be, and she complains her individuality is being smothered; perhaps a divorce is in order if they cannot work together despite their differences; yet both should know beforehand, there is no personal identity without separation, that is, without relation, and there is no individual will without opposition to that will.
It appears to me that conflict is not inherently evil unless existence is evil. I know, some savants have said that life on Earth is hell, and that the individual is fortunately annihilated at death. Paradoxically, if this life is really the hell they say it is, they seem to be quite happy about it, as if the death sentence is good news. Yet others need an even worse hell after death in order for their god to properly exist by being obeyed under pain of hell fire and damnation. But whatever this world is, heaven or hell or an admixture of the two, It appears to me that we can be useful to one another in our differences, that we can in conflict be productive members of society; for only in the conflict of action and reaction or cause and effect can any one of us have an impact or be productive.
Mind you, by conflict I do not mean we should be at each other’s throats day and night. Nor do I fall into the military camp that idealizes war as a productive necessity or necessary mode of cooperating by virtue of having a common enemy. I mean that atomic liberty must be harnessed or enchained to get anything done for our mutual benefit, and that is not the easy task we would like it to be. As individuals, we are necessarily going to be at odds with each other from time to time; I believe that divisiveness is, paradoxically, the fuel source for our mutual endeavors, if not the nuclear hell fire of the universe.
Have I gone mad, or am I just another hypocrite? I used to think everyone else was crazy, but now I am going with the flow. It is certainly incredible for me to hear myself praising the very productivity I so often cursed as all-consuming propaganda prior to finding asylum Upstate. “Productive member of society”, indeed! the very definition of sanity provided by our beloved Surgeon General for our excremental civilization! But my vanity is coming out of the closet here; I must shut the door and whisper, “I have not lost my vanity, but it is better to join them than to hurl dung at them, is it not?”
Yes, it now appears to me that being chained to the walls Upstate and being wrapped in the wet sheets for days on end has in fact produced in me a positive taste for self-discipline regardless of My Vain Philosophy. I am obviously becoming a productive member of society. As a matter of fact, I just received a $25 honorarium for writing an article about the Science of Love. Consequently, I am almost convinced that, IF I do not love people, THEN they will kick the shit of me. My working hypothesis is working. I lovingly consented to the treatment I was subjected to. As I previously confided, my vanity remains intact; but just a little dab of that will do me. Perhaps if I behave myself and maintain the appearance of propriety, the prefrontal lobotomy will be forestalled–if not, my implanted conscience will suffice for self-surgery: all one needs is an ice pick and a nose. All that is required for my security at present is a proper electro-mechanical balance of the Almighty Trinity, Id, Ego, and Superego. The Reality Principle must hold the Pleasure Principle in abeyance; gratification must be delayed for my long-term advantage pursuant to the counsel of the doctors who know what is good for me. My mental integrity will lead to excellent investments in the depressed stock market: the market shall recover and I shall be sitting pretty; at least I shall have enough to pay the hospital bills before I go to heaven.
While reading the foregoing, you probably had occasion to laugh at my predicament; so be it, but remember, if you have had a chuckle or two, that there is truth in humor, and that my absurd plight, if it is laughable, implicates you. In fact, I think every United States citizen is laughing at me because of my truthful representation of the pursuit of happiness. When I signed in Upstate I thought I was the United States; when I was unable to sign myself out, I realized I was not Uncle Sam; nevertheless, still, to this very day, I am an American microcosm. Therefore I believe the nation and the world imitating it has much to learn from my amusing experiences and the conclusions I have drawn therefrom. The astute observer may have already noticed a certain correspondence between my psychological conflicts and the dialectical history of the United States. And my various elaborations are, above all, for the perspicacious observer’s edification so that she or he shall not have to suffer as I have.
You see, as much as I love conflict and the lessons I have learned about the restraints that must be placed upon atomic liberty in order for there to be liberty at all, I do not recommend the extreme measures I have personally experienced for the society at large.
Excuse me, more on this later. I feel a tantrum coming on. I must find my happiness pills lest My Vain Philosophy be exposed yet again. Helga, have you seen the little green bottle?