You Cannot Enslave a Free Man

Welcome back to the scuttlebutt, 

Pull up a chair, have a glass, we need to talk.  


Yes, I am a crusty old fuck, but that crust was gotten honestly, and right now I need to share some wisdom from another crusty old fuck, one Robert A Heinlein.


It was Robert’s quote that I chose as my title tonight… The whole quote is “you cannot enslave a free man, the most you can do is kill him.”  Contrarywise, you can’t free a slave. The only thing you can do is hand him the hammer and chisel to strike his chains off with. If he doesn’t want freedom enough to do the hard, bloody work for it, he will not gain it, but merely hand off his chains from one master to another. (cough, looking at YOU Russia, cough)


If there is one thing that any study of history, combat, and government should teach you, it’s this simple truth. Heaven knows we have tried. Occasionally in the past, we have been successful in the endeavor but, and this is a HUGE, I mean an Oprah Windbag size BUTT, we did it by completely destroying the place, and then rebuilding it over generations.  Even then we were not always successful.


We managed to free (for a while) the Philippines, during the Spanish American War and the Philippine insurrection. But it took completely destroying their culture, and three generations’ worth of occupation to do it, and what was created wasn’t functional…  Oh don’t get me wrong, it was an adult playground for the Navy for many years, and to quote from a meme I’ve seen “all the stories you have heard are true, every one of them.” That was not, however, a functional culture, and in the end, they reverted to a strong-man government.  


We’ve tried to export our revolution or at least “fight to make other men free” dozens of times.  We had troops in Russia during the Revolution. (little known fact, look it up, we aided the “White Russian Army”).  We stuck our mitts into a half a dozen places in the Caribbean, Central and South America, all of this before WWII.  WWII was our big success story, but it took occupying Germany and Japan, rewriting their government, and then keeping troops there until… Oh, wait, we STILL have troops there, don’t we?  


We tried it in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Lebanon, several places in Africa and Central and South America, (some of which “we were never there”, some we admit to, like Panama) and most recently in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans, and Syria.


Now, I hear people saying that “we need to help X” where X is a constantly moving target. It’s the Hong Kong students and citizens, it’s the Iranians, it’s the Egyptians, the Venezuelans…


Look, I get that those people have a bad time, and are in a bad way…Send them the tools to fight oppression, absolutely! Run them guns, explosives, mines, all the tools. Send them a few people to do a “Von Stuben” and a “Lafayette”, SURE.


But we cannot fight their battles for them. Let’s look at Hong Kong, as a for-instance. What in the hell are we going to do?  Do you REALY want to get involved in a real no-shit shooting war with CHINA over how they’re treating THEIR citizens? If so, shipmate you are a day late and a dollar short!  China has been killing, torturing, and enslaving their people since oh, FOREVER! The regime that Mao replaced wasn’t any group of enlightened mofos, Nor were the emperors before them, or… Hell, you can go all the way back to Genghis looking for someone who ran that place that wasn’t as corrupt as shit, and you’ll never find someone who wasn’t willing to torture and kill for the fun of it.  So why the hell is Hong Kong different? Oh, that’s right, most of them speak English. How quaint of you, you’re STILL a day late and a dollar short, if you didn’t see this as the INEVITABLE result of England turning tail and giving those poor bastards up, you’re a bigger fool than I am. 


Do I wish those folks well? OH, more than you know.  Would I be shipping, in the words of Warren Zevon: “Lawyers, Guns and Money” if I could get away with it? YOU betcha I would!  But that’s all you can do, you can’t do the fight for them. If you do, they will end up under another regime just as bad… Because as I mentioned, you must free yourself. 


That which we pay nothing for, we value too lightly and give away for a song.  So, it is with freedom. 


Until next time, remember that you too may have to fight for your freedom, it’s never more than a generation away from being given up for twenty-four dollars’ worth of glass beads (or thirty pieces of silver). 


I remain,   

Yours in service

William Lehman


  1. Maybe a couple hundred years in the British Empire created a society of free men and women in HK. If they are truly free, the ChiComs can’t enslave them. We have a duty to give the HK freedom-fighters “the hammer and chisel to strike off their chains”.

    • They have virtual hammers and chisels for their virtual chains and they are using them well. They will succeed because to quote another famous book, “they have seen the promised land.” All they need from us is our support and prayers..

    • I’m good with that. If the CIA were worth a damn, there would be crates of AK 47s and ammo floating ashore by the shipload. Hell, even old Russian Pistols would be good, especially with some body armor.

  2. Stated in different terms, perhaps, but what is needed is a bronze age mindset. I am surprised by the people of Hong Kong, but it remains to be seen if a people neutered by a smart phone can engage in acts of systematic and revolutionary violence. The energy to do so must be pent up and unameliorated in order to explode. Taking dopamine bong hits multiple times a day on smart phones vents the necessary anger and medicates the nervous system.

  3. This is one of the best posts I’ve seen in a long while. Liberty is an attitude. It’s not going to just spring out of thin air to permeate the soul. You have to want it, to need it. Liberty can only be taken, seized, grabbed with maximum force. Trying to give it to someone else is like trying to give air. It flows away without resistance. -_-

  4. Well said, Mr. Lehman.There are peoples which, by their culture, enslave themselves. No amount of blood and treasure can change that dynamic, within the generational “patience” of the foreign “liberator” (a point you made above. ) Boy Wonder came back from Sandboxistan, giving his dad his first-person appraisal of Freedom’s prospects therein: “Build a wall around that &@!$! place, let ’em enjoy their Stone Age”.

    • sadly true. Look also to Russia, which is never happy unless they have a strongman at the helm (even if that strongman has tits, looking at you: Catherine!) It also requires the ability to place loyalty to something above “clan”. This is why it’s the Brittish Isles and not the Scottish Isles. Also why even if the technology gap had not been as dramatic (and in the 1500s it wasn’t) the Native Tribes didn’t stand a chance against the European invaders.

  5. Civilized freemen are always a problem to any uncivil and or immoral government. It is only a matter of time until it begins to return to a feral state. This has become evident through one quote from Adams . “the constitution is designed to govern a moral and civil society. It is wholly inadequate for any other” . We have allowed the uncivil and immoral to gain places of power over their fellow humans. How else could we ever end up with any law that condones the murder and wholesale of our most precious commodity, our children. Not only that but we send them to be ill educated by the same uncivil and immoral bcause of an excuse that an education is found. Please ask all those still paying for that education and exactly how much it hepls being tied down to a life time of debt

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