Being Alive Vs. Living

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3 mins read

Editor’s Note: The Last Redoubt shares another thought-provoking post. See his other blog posts at his site.

Unfortunately, as I wrote it, the quote that inspired my most recent post on safety was utterly forgotten. During the Battle of Belleau Wood in WW1, First Sargeant Daniel Daly, 73rd Machine Gun Company, USMC, exhorted his men with the call “Come on, you sons-o’-bitches! Do you want to live forever?” before charging the Germans.

Interestingly, Daly himself apparently disputes that, and claims he said “For Christ’s sake men—come on! Do you want to live forever?” In either case, this quote was immortalized in lore, to the point that RA Heinlein used a similar line in his novel Starship Troopers.

It all comes back to what I was discussing previously in both the Arbury shooting and “Safety Third” – that there are things more important than merely being alive. There is a moral value to preserving life, but it is not the only moral value, or always the highest in the moment.  I get what Branca in his Rekeita interview and elsewhere is aiming at in forcing the question – “is getting into a fight here where I may lose my life or go to jail in an age where even if the other guy is arrested he may be out on bail before I finish the paperwork and my life ruined if something racially charged goes viral”  – but given how he frames that and the reasonableness of radically altering citizens arrest laws, I am sure that “staying alive, keeping my family alive, and not having my life ruined” are the only things valued, much like the boomer he appears, and the question of moral value isn’t in play.

Safety First flies in the face of “there is more to living a good life than being alive.” it’s as if they’ve never heard the expression “a fate worse than death.” or of leaving someone alive so that they can continue to be tormented instead of being killed and getting it over with.

It is for these reasons that the ongoing lockdowns, insistence on masks everywhere for a disease that is centered on the blues of blue regions, the paranoid fear, the classification of entire sectors of the economy as “non-essential”, the denial of livelihood and thus any source of purpose or pride, are a poison to the soul. There are fates and evils worse than death. They may be small evils, but they try to get us to accept and condone, one small step at a time.

Oh, and because:

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