The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

BRING ON THE BEARS!!!: Several spectacled bears recently attempted a mass breakout from the Berlin Zoo, an attempt that met with their almost immediate reincarceration. This mass break for freedom reminds this cynical viewer of the political scene just how far some individuals will go to escape from the grips of statist totalitarianism and enjoy the unalienable rights that all too many Americans take for granted. It is an aspiring tale, and one that should sound the tocsin for the younger generation, who are in danger of forgetting the lessons of the Cold War.

The statists and others of their ilk would have the average American believe that these bears believe that these bears were content with their lot. As bears in the Berlin Zoo they lived in a perfect statist society in which every need they ever had or could even hope for was immediately satisfied. The bears did not have to endure the rigors of the hunt, but received food regularly three times a day. The bears had fresh, clean water available whenever they wanted it instead of having to search for it. There was cradle to grave medical care, and, in case some other zoo wanted a spectacled bear, the zoo provided sexual companions, both male and female, for the bears in their charge. A perfect totalitarian state, indeed, where no decisions needed making, no living earned, no thought given to the morrow, and all that is required to enjoy this life is that you never disturb the established order with your petty individual desires. What bear could resist the blandishments of such an existence over the uncertain life of his bearthen in the forest primeval?

And yet…and yet some bears resisted, much to the astonishment of their keepers. The keepers could not understand why any bear would want to escape the perfect world created for them. Such a desire, in their minds, is irrational in the extreme, and that some bears might think along those lines was, in all likelihood, a sign of some mental disorder in the bears themselves; the system itself did not need reformation at all, being perfect in every way. Mental defect: there was no other rational explanation.

But as Dostoevsky’s underground man pointed out more than a century ago, humans are not rational creatures, they are not members of an anthill, mere cogs in a perfect social machine, one cog more or less indistinguishable from his comrades. Humans are irrational, tormented beings, filled with vices and all manner of passions, who will never content themselves to or be content with such an ordered static existence. And if this is true of human beings, how much more true will it be for bears, who are not compelled by law to undergo the twelve years of state indoctrination known as compulsory education?

No, the keepers at the Berlin Zoo could not understand that the bears might regard freedom, with all its inherent problems and dangers, as entirely preferable to the vegetable existence forced on them. The rulers of totalitarian societies seldom understand this need for freedom; after all, doesn’t everyone benefit from their dictatorship of the zoological proletariat? Don’t these people understand that the greater good makes their rule necessary? Of course, they do not want honest answers to these questions; statist totalitarians long ago came to the conclusion that if reality does not match the theory then there must be something wrong with reality.

As for the brave bears, their freedom lasted only a few hours before the keepers tracked them down and returned them to the ursine gulag. They are there now, under greater restraint and tighter surveillance than ever, separated from others of their kind lest their ideas of personal liberty prove subversive to the good order and proper functioning of the zoological collective. And in the worse horror of all, the keepers have removed the bears’ spectacles, so that they, trapped in the prison of extreme myopia, could not see where they are going if they ever attempted to escape again.


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