I’ve had enough

In the spirit of Ranting Week, up here in the High Doganate, let me quote Patrick Henry, the distinguished revolutionist from the Commonwealth of Virginia. “Give me Liberty, or give me Death,” he declared before the House of Burgesses, with Washington and Jefferson apparently in attendance. In exchange for this inflammatory rhetoric, I suppose my Loyalist ancestors would have liked to give him Death. But that was in 1775, when what we came to call the American Revolution was still at the talking stage.

A quarter of a millennium later, I think the British were right to offer the Continental Congress something like the “Dominion” status they later offered the Canadians: practical independence, without the blood and gore. But in human nature — a subject I have studied — a point comes when peaceful and undramatic solutions may be discounted. The Americans, as objects of the ministrations of the minions of the late King George III, had had enough. They had even dumped a cargo of tea into Boston Harbour, when that gummint was trying to lower tea taxes. (It just wasn’t “rep by pop.”)

Ich habe genug,” as we sing in the Bach Cantata (BWV 82) — another meaning for the same words. “I’ve had enough,” meaning, I have lived long enough, seen enough, done enough and received enough; I am content — to die in the arms of Jesus my Saviour.

The modern mind, e.g. Patrick Henry’s, could not possibly associate this attitude with a realization of Liberty, and wouldn’t devote the time to try. We have been wired, since generations before him, to imagine a conflict between the Church (i.e. Jesus), and the Rights of Man. Christ Himself knew this conflict, and first distinguished Church from State. (“Give unto Caesar.”) They needn’t be in conflict, but they are not the same thing.

Liberty of the kind Patrick Henry was shouting is, finally, the cry of the trapped animal. I leave to gentle reader’s judgement, whether the animal had trapped himself. But compare Christ: “That you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” There are variants in the wording, but all make clear that His kingdom is not of this world. Gummints can offer neither truth nor freedom.

Our worldly authorities, in most jurisdictions outside South Dakota, have trapped us as animals. They have put us under control of a Public Health bureaucracy that is as laughably incompetent as it is malign. It deals with humans exclusively as bodies, and their survival as a statistical proposition; in addition to which, they lie about the statistics, and can’t count.

But we are moderns. We use the word “soul” in a purely rhetorical way, and use the rest of our Christian inheritance as trinkets for a pawn shop. These don’t fetch much, these days, when a church can only be understood as a place where viruses are transmitted.

Yet here is the mysterious wisdom of Patrick Henry. Liberty is crucial, even to the apprehension of God. Without the freedom of the truly human, we are reduced to animals. And if you trap us, we might make a fuss.