23 January 2008

Too Much Freedom?

Some years ago I bought and read this book.
If you can find a copy, I heartily recommend it.
Those of us defending this country had heard rumors of Soviet flying machines... the MI-24 Hind helicopter and the MIG-25 fighter, and what we were hearing frightened us. We knew these machines were fast. We knew little about their weaknesses. I devoured "MIG Pilot" in one sitting.


The strengths and weaknesses of the MIG-25 are covered satisfactorily in the book, but much more fascinating is what we learned about the inefficiencies of the entire Soviet system. When first introduced to one of our Supermarkets, Belenko thinks he's being mislead. Similarly, he's incredulous when he's taken aboard one of our aircraft carriers and shown how our sailors are fed, and how healthy our fighting forces are.

But the thing about the book that most surprised me was something Soviet defectors apparently went through frequently...
Panic at being given "too much freedom".
The Soviet system chose your school. It groomed you for a job. That job determined what sort of housing you could expect to occupy, and the geographical area where you would live. All those decisions were made for you by the Soviet government.
Lieutenant Belenko found himself thrust into a life where he had to begin to think about what he would do with the rest of his life... his occupation, where he would live, what he would eat...
And making all those decisions frightened him. He seriously considered going back to the Soviet Union to face what certainly would have been severe punishment for putting the MIG-25 into the hands of Westerners.
But he didn't, and I'm hopeful he'll write a book bringing us up to date on how he eventually made the transition from Soviet pilot to American citizen.

His story set me to thinking about how similar our country has become in so many ways to the Soviet system, and how we continue in that direction. Many of our citizens have virtually placed their entire lives in the hands of government-
Food.
Housing.
Health Care.
Employment? Many stay at home and have children, knowing money will flow their direction.
These are the same sort of folk that failed to move out of hurricane Katrina's path...
The "Government" didn't provide transportation for them.

Slavery was abolished almost 150 years ago in this country, yet it still exists...
Except now I'm the slave.
For years I've worked hard to produce the finest product I possibly can. More and more, a large chunk of what I produce is taken from me against my will and given to others that could work, but produce nothing while enjoying the fruits of my (and your) labor.
I'd like my fellow citizens to be educated about the joys of being able to make their own choices to improve their lives.

I don't like being a slave.
I want to be free!

6 comments:

cary said...

Good points, Greybeard - the same reaction is noted in quite a few released criminals - the structure they are used to is not there, so they strive to return to the structure they know rather than rely on themselves to provide their own self-structure (also called 'discipline').

Greybeard said...

What an interesting analogy Cary.
Those that depend on government handouts in fact are "prisoners", aren't they?
Please... release me!

THIRDWAVEDAVE said...

We're all headed for enslavement if enough of us don't wake up...little by little, the water's heating up.

tumo said...

Excellent Book and an excellent entry to the blog Mr. Greybeard!
This is the kind of subject that makes me think about so many things.. You would think that a freedom such as ours would inspire one to an education, hard work, innovation and a general happiness along with a sense of self-preservation. To use those general principals that would lead us to a satisfied soul. Though it seems we are going the other way most days. We seem pretty uninspired as a nation anymore. The tax and welfare system and along with a generation that was spoiled has killed our work ethic. Maybe the general decline of the family has contributed also to people turning to the government for their care. Our nations changing core values is a whole other subject. I don’t know anything I guess, but I think we need someone to inspire people to get off their ass and use their freedom to make America’s people as great as they once were.

The Old Man said...

HOOAH! Read the book not long after it was released. The idea of a followup book is very enticing.

Desiree said...

i dig your blog!