Ideology is pure. Real life is messy. Answers to life’s pressing problems are legion, but if we can’t agree to settle on one answer, it sometimes seems like we’d have been better off without any. Which is why when Rand Paul says that “the difficult part” about believing in freedom is insisting on your own narrow definitions – even when even when and especially when no one agrees with you – I have to wonder what definition of freedom he’s referring to.
Because as I understand it, freedom’s best expression comes out in the will of the governed. Without a democratic process that allows all voices to be heard, any other concept of freedom including anarchy seems to me to be a temporary state at best. And if there is one voice in a thousand that disagrees with Rand Paul, what then? And if, as is most likely the case, there is a spectrum of answers ranging from Rand’s through mine and beyond, what then?
Some events really paint a picture of the world we live in. One such event may regrettably be the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. As the games get closer, all the problems come home to roost and things are getting plenty nutty over there. The Chinese seem barely capable of keeping things together.
First of all, the story I’ve been tracking in the News blog for some time now, the smog. It seems that many countries including the U.S. are opting to train and keep their athletes miles away from Beijing, where they can be safe. I saw a report last night where a marathon cyclist described experiencing athsma-like symptoms while training in-country. The Chinese have taken the unusual and totalitarian step of shutting down highway traffic, industrial production and all things smog related while the games commence, but it is of little use.
At the same time, a group of Internet freedom activists have developed a suite of tools that Chinese crackers can use to bypass The Great Firewall of China, the name given to the highly-restricted control of the Internet that China employs on its people. And in seemingly unrelated news, . .
The ethnic Uighars, an often seperatist group of predominantly Muslim people living within the Chinese borders, yesterday began attacks they vow to continue and escalate during the games. In response, the Chinese police quarantined the province and cut off Internet connections. They’re also in the habit of beating up journalists who stray too far into restricted territories, it seems. Other groups have claimed to have successfully planted and detonated some small explosive devices in Yunan province.
And when’s the last time you recall surface-to-air missles deployed to an Olympic Games? I’m sure its happened before, but I’ve never heard about it.