Monthly Archives: April 2019

Why Jesus Has No Free Will and Niether Do You: Christianity’s moral determinism fallacy

“Jesus lived a perfect life so you don’t have to.”

Sometikes you hear it put like that. Or sometimes…

”Jesus kept the law perfectly because we couldn’t.”

Or…

”Jesus’s perfect life is imputed to us.”

If you are a fan of Christian whimsy you might like…

”Christ obeyed so we could be saved!”

However it’s put, the point is the same. And for the sake of argument let’s accept it as true. We’ll concede the point for now: Jesus obeyed the Law perfectly; we do not, and so our ability to be accepted by an absolutely holy God in the face our own absolute unholiness (our “fallen state”) depends entirely upon Jesus’s perfect obedience. That perfect obedience means perfect innocence before the Judgment Throne, which is then applied to the guilty—or at least those whom God has given the grace to receive it (the doctrine of “election”)—and this is how we can be saved.

Now, a dizzying amount of intellectual gymnastics must be performed to make this case, complete with a landing that doesn’t quite stick. Christian soteriology is one long smorgasbord of rational error, with contradictions tripping over themselves as they fight for space, and it begs a lot of questions. Questions which of course are never really covered in the church, let alone answered…not at least since John Calvin “answered” them by burning Michael Servitus at the stake. But, like I said, we willl accept the aforementioned explication of the salvation process for now.

Also, I ask the reader to please note that in accepting the terms of Christian soteriology in this article I must ignore the fact “choose to obey” is a contradiction in terms, as obedience is simply forced compliance which has nothing actually to do with choice (“you will obey or die” is NOT a choice, but is, in reality, quite the opposite). So, I will assume for now that Christ, in keeping the Old Testament commandments, used his will and chose to do so, as opposed to God using threats and force to compel him. In other words, I will assume that Christ’s relationship to the Law is one of voluntary acceptance and not authoritarian coercion, even though by definition law demands that you obey it, it doesn’t accept that you may choose not to. Of course the law would accept it if the law had anything really to do with choice. But then it wouldn’t be the law.

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In looking at the claim that Christ fulfills the Law for us, we naturally ask how? To which the orthodox reply is that he ACTED in a way which satisfied the commandments, perpetually, for those who accept the imputation of the righteousness that this implies. In other words, Christ’s behavior reflected the commandments of the Law. The Law commanded, and Jesus acted accordingly.

We could thus say that it was Jesus’s obeyance of the Law which allayed the wrath of God towards us (through him) and not because he WAS God (accepting, only for now, the veracity of the Trinity doctrine). In other words, we must assume that Christ was not given an automatic dispensation simply for being God. His willful obedience of the Law thus is the only possible explanation for his fulfillment of it. In fact, being God doesn’t imply fulfillment the Law as as much as it implies a circumvention of it.

Ah. That’s very interesting.

Let’s pose this as a question.

Is Christ’s fulfillment of the Law a function of his willful obedience or a function of him simply BEING Christ (which equals being God)?

Here  is where we find the problem which undermines the entirety of Christian theology, I submit. As usual, greed gets in the way of truth. Like all authoritarian ideologies, they want their metaphysical cake and to eat it, too. For Christians answer this question predictably. They will say both. And why is this predictable? Because contradiction is ALWAYS their response to questions concerning doctrinal premises.

But reason, and therefore objective truth, doesn’t contain a rational frame of reference for contradiction…which in this case is the claim that Christ merits what isn’t actually merited. Either Christ CHOSE to obey the Law or he fulfills the Law by metaphysical fiat. To say it’s both is to say it’s neither. And that’s nonsense, of course. Fake words.

As one method of getting around this clear violation of reason Christian soteriology attempts to merge two DISTINCT metaphysical components: man’s thought (man as a conceptualizing agent) and man’s choice (man as a willful agent). Of course doing this always goes wrong in hugely embarrassing and destructive ways, as church history reflects. Christian metaphysics FUSE the ability to think with the ability to choose, making them one and the same. But choice is in truth a mere CONTEXTUAL function of man’s metaphysical identity as a thinking agent, stemming from the fact that thought implies will. It’s the equivalent of saying that a pencil IS whatever it happens to write; there’s no root difference between what IS written and what IS the pencil. So one’s choices are not actually chosen, and yet in Christianity, with the right metaphysical subterfuge, it can still be “technically” called choice. That subterfuge is…

…it gets worse, because Christianity further fuses the false “thought/choice” singularity with an ABSOLUTE ETHICAL value. It makes ALL of Christ’s choices ethically GOOD by applying to Christ a “metaphysically ethical” (or we could say moral) value of Absolute Goodness; and it conversely makes ALL of man’s choices EVIL by applying to man a “metaphysically ethical” value of Absolute Evilness. This is why man cannot CHOOSE to keep the Law, and Christ always CHOOSES to do so.

Let me explain further.

Man, we are told, cannot keep the Law because he is fallen. By dint of his birth, or the fundamental existential depravity he acquires at birth (same difference), he CANNOT consistently (“perfectly” is the religious euphemism) follow God’s commandments. He has free will—this the Christian will concede—and CAN thus freely choose to do so, but because of his depraved nature WILL NEVER ACTUALLY choose to do so. In other words, his disobedience is a free choice that is utterly determined by his nature. His free will will only ever lead to a confirmation of his root metaphysical wickedness. His “choice” is always simply a reflection of his root moral-metaphysical Identity: Evil. Man is free to sin…but to ONLY to sin. Man is choosing his own condemnation, which is HIMSELF. Because he acts from his root moral-metaphysical Identity, and his root moral-metaphysical Identity is Evil, it is only possible for him to choose to disobey the Law.

Now, the reason I say it is a “moral-metaphysical Identity”, and not a simply metaphysical Identity, is because Christianity, as I mentioned earlier, merges metaphysics with ethics. In other words, it fuses two completely distinct philosophical categories. And in this way they believe they can claim that man is responsible for his own condemnation, via choice, and yet ALSO claim man’s CATEGORICAL moral degeneracy as a function of simply existing at all.

Of course Christ then represents the obverse side of this determinist coin—and yes, it IS utter determinism, having nothing to do with choice and will despite some relatively clever philosophical obfuscation. Christ we are told CAN keep the Law consistently because he is God. By dint of his birth he is able to CHOOSE to follow God’s commandments. But more than that, he MUST follow the Law. His perfect moral-metaphysical Identity which enables him to keep the Law likewise makes him UNABLE to break it. Because as with man, Christianity concedes that Christ has free will, and thus chooses to obey; but also like man, Christ’s choices must ALWAYS affirm his root moral/metaphysical Identity: GOODNESS. Because Christ is Good, all his choices must be Good. Likewise man, being Evil, must always make Evil choices. (For even if man were to choose to obey the Law on one day (Christianity concedes that man can sometimes do good, but only “in part”, or contextually) he will inevitably break it the next…which means that the Law, in general and in essence, remains COMPLETELY unfulfilled by man.)

Christ’s choices are determined by a singular source—his moral-metaphysical Identity of GOODNESS—that represents the inevitable conclusion of every choice. All of Christ’s choices will be in obedience to the Law; he cannot choose any other way, and yet still he is choosing. He is PRE-DETERMINED to always chose to keep the Law, just as man is PRE-DETERMINED to always choose to break it.

Remember, I am not making the argument that ANY of this makes sense. On the contrary, it is entirely EMPTY of sense. It is gnostic determinism in Enlightenmnet garb. This eradication of the lines between meaning and meaninglessness, between metaphysics, epistemology and ethics; the ascribing of blame to man and credit to Christ whilst also claiming that all choice is a pre-determined function of one’s declared root moral-metaphysical Identity; the clumsy integration of reason and mysticism…this is only what passes for truth in the Christian faith, not was truth actually is.

Behind it all is a fulcrum of intransigent nonsense upon which the entire theology pivots and directs itself. Thousands of years of equivocation, propaganda, and fear mongering have made the faith enigmatic and arcane enough, and the masses uncertain and anxious enough, to allow it to permeate the souls of billions of people, and to settle there with almost no resistance, and concommittantly without love. There is no love without truth. And there is no truth in the church.

*

Let’s summarize.

How does Christ fulfill the Law for us? Is it because he is God, or because he chose to obey?

If we say it is because of his choice, then morality is a function of making the right decisions in the face of moral options. And thus man can likewise choose to make the right decisions and likewise fulfill the Law. But if we say that man cannot choose to make the right decisions because he is man, whereas Christ is God and thus can, morality and the fulfillment of the Law have nothing to do with choice at all, but are simply a pre-determined function of what one IS (his moral-metaphysical Identity) and not what one BELIEVES.

You see, belief drives the distinction between right and wrong and thus informs all of choice…which doesn’t actually exist because it is absolutely pre-determined, which makes it a contradiction in terms. Of course this nullifies “belief in Christ” as having any rational meaning and thus any moral value. One’s belief in Christ is irrelevant given the fact that he doesn’t actually choose or not choose to follow Christ; his nature DICTATES and DETERMINES his choice.

Choice, being determined by one’s moral-metaphysical Identity (e.g. Christ = Good and Man = Evil) is not actually choice. Which means that Christ did not in fact make any right choices in fulfilling the Law and man did not make any wrong choices in disobeying it. Christ was ALWAYS going to do good because he IS Good, and man was always going to do evil because he IS Evil.

So in conclusion, here is the truth that we all really need to accept; we need to stop holding on to childish, fantastical interpretations of reality. For fantasy, when we attempt to make it reality, is just hell.

If what we believe matters, and from that belief we act, and those actions matter, and thus both belief and action have real moral value, then man is capable, in and of himself, of fulfilling the Law because he is capable of making REAL and EFFICACIOUS choices. His nature is to apprehend right and wrong and to make REAL DECISIONS  accordingly. For man THINKS, and to think is to believe, and belief matters because it drives actions and consequences, and those consequences are what the Law morally values. To say that man cannot fulfill the Law in and of himself BECAUSE HE IS MAN is to render thought and belief and action and consequence irrelevant, which makes the moral valuing of consequence irrelevant, which makes the LAW irrelevant, which makes CHRIST irrelevant.

Truth which cannot be acted upon and confirmed by REAL CHOICE by man and Christ precludes ANY Law based upon its moral implications. There is no moral value to the Law then if one cannot CHOOSE to follow it. And if the Law has no moral value then it can serve as no measure of Christ’s perfect life which is thus imputed to man so he can be saved.

The entirety of Christian theology is top-heavy with intellectual error: determinism, the suffocation of morality, the death of meaning, and the rejection of the will. It totters and collapses accordingly.

END

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Tyranny Does Not Thwart the Constitution, It Perfects It: An controversial look at the philosophical roots of our government (PART TWO)

In the last article we left off by discussing how Authority (Force) and Freedom are two completely distinct, antithetical ethical and political premises. We continue now with the breakdown and examination of my response.

”[Government] implies that human interaction must ultimately occur only via dictated terms from an Authority placed over him…”

Government exists to enforce Law, which is an ethic that requires man to OBEY a DICTATED social contract. The more man obeys the Law then, the more he affirms government as a legitimate and necessary institution. Law is a tool of government used to promote ITSELF, not the individual. In other words, obedience does NOT affirm CHOICE, it by definition affirms AUTHORITY. The whole point of law is to elevate and promote obedience over choice; authority over will; compliance over freedom; Government over the Individual. The Law, and thus the goverenment, because one cannot exist without the other, cannot promote a MORAL society but merely an OBEDIENT one, because there is no such thing as morality absent volition…that is, absent choice. And at root the Law does not care what you WANT or what you might CHOOSE, it only cares what you FEAR, and from that, the degree to which you OBEY. It uses fear of punishment and condemnation (from government…or from Authority, that is) as THE means by which it establishes the supremacy of its ethics. The one who at root has no use for his own self-will, in the face of overwhelming violent coercive power, understands, even if only subconsciously, that he has no fundamental use for his own self-IDENTITY. And thus he becomes existentially fused with the collective (in our case, the “People”) and the obedient hive-mind of the masses. And every time he votes, it doesn’t matter for whom—the victor is ALWAYS the antithesis of freedom. A vote for Authority is a vote for the nullification of one’s self.

“The problem is that since all men are human, and humans are said to be fundamentally flawed, morally (meaning they are insufficient to their own existence absent an external power which dictates their behavior by force), who shall be put in charge? There can be no rational answer to this question.”

I think this is pretty self-explanatory, but I hope that its significance makes a deep impression on the reader. The universal, ceaselessly repeated trope that “we can’t just let everyone do whatever they want” SPECIFICALLY, inexorably, unquestionably, and unavoidably proclaims a fundamental, metaphysical, and thus absolute depravity of mankind. It is a declaration that man has NO endemic, natural capacity to act in service to what is good, and thus necessarily implies that his WILL is corrupt to the point where it cannot legitimately be called WILLFUL at all. And if man cannot really ever choose good of and by himself according to his nature, then what use has man for knowledge? And this rhetorical question means that knowledge itself is, for all practical purposes, entirely wasted on man. This arrantly evil metaphysic condemns ALL men to “spiritual” or “moral” and epistemological (man cannot know truth, because he cannot discern between good and evil) death as a corollary function of their very birth. According to this metaphysic then, the birth of man is utterly impossible—THE contradiction of all contradictions. That God or Nature gives life to Death. That birth is the Affliction of Afflictions which is that one can only ever be conscious of his own fundamental unconsciousness.

“…what happens is that man is collectivized into an Ideal…and THAT, not the individual, is what shall be served. That Ideal then implies rulers…those who are seen as mirroring its virtues most closely. So [because of this fact], even if we are “freely electing” our leaders [the ruling class] we are…doing so not based upon what is best for Man the Individua, but Man the Ideal.”

To establish government is to metaphysically presuppose that man must be ruled, full stop. Anyone who thinks that government is merely an OPTION for mankind as a means of social organization has not thoroughly thought through that assumption, or is intellectually incapable of it. “Government” and ‘absolute control of reality, itself” are synonymous, philosophically speaking; and at any rate, regardless what you or I may think, government NEVER considers the possibility that its power is transient, and that its institutions are purely emphemeral. Government by its nature IS, and what it is is authority; and that Authority is necessary for the perpetuation of reality, ITSELF. It CANNOT imagine itself as a memory because it cannot, by NATURE, fathom ANYTHING outside of itself. It thus cannot get smaller, only bigger. For even reductions of government control are only forthcoming by ACTS of the governemnt (e.g.tax cuts), making these reductions simply manifestations of government power. Which is why I chuckle at people who run for office as Libertarians. Their basic philosophy is: they will reduce the power of government by acting in the capacity OF government; they will restrict its authority BY its authority. Sorry, but it doesnt work that way. That’s like saying you can wish away gravity. Gravity is not subject to your feelings, hopes, dreams, or ignorance. It IS, and will do what it does to its greatest and absolute possible extent, ALL the time. And any action you might take to reduce the power of gravity MUST concede it as a constant. Gravity is FORCE, PERIOD. It’s never less than that; it’s never more. And it is always itself to the maximum degree. So it is with government.

And yet, amazingly, Americans, who consider themselves THE very perfect progeny of the Enlightenment, persistently speak of the Constitution as THE guardian of Inidivdual Freedom. As if Freedom can be a function of rules, enforced by the the State through violence. They seem shocked at the rank and shameless expansion of their government, and the utterly non-subtle erosion of their rights and property, and speak of such things as a corruption of the Constitution. But these things, my friend, you must understand, are not a corruption of the Constitution, but a PERFECTING of it. The government, regardless of how it is organized, is never a stepping-stone to freedom, but is in fact the very antithesis of it. The conclusion of the premise which declares “controlled and compelled” behavior as THE means by which man’s existence is enabled, ensured, and perpetuated is: ABOLUTE CONTROL. And this should be obvious to us, if not by reason then by the empirical evidence of thousands and thousands of years of human history. When has the government ever been a stepping-stone to LESS of itself? When has the State ever conceded, via its own volition and based upon its own underwriting philosophical premise, that it is merely one option of several for man to select as a means of social organization?

It has never happened because it CANNOT happen.

The fundamental, metaphysical premise of government is that man must be ruled in order to ensure his very existence; that is, man, born an Individual, is not by nature nor root identity sufficient to LIFE. In other words, for man to be himself, and not the Collective Ideal of the State, is for man not to BE at all. The destruction of Individual will then is an existential necessity, and is THE fundamental purpose the State serves, by nature and implication; the Indivudal must die to SELF, in order that he may live to the State. And to live for the State—to live for the Authority which compells him to the Collective Ideal (e.g. The People)—is the only way he can live at all.

And it is here where we can begin to see just how even a Representative Republic with free elections is no hedge against the inevitable absolutism of government power. Once man has accepted the metaphysics of Collectivism implied by the State, then he simply CANNOT act politically in a way that affirms the Individual. And once this premise has been conceded by a society, and set in stone, literally, by the establishment of government, there is no going back. The establishment of Institutional Authority  is a bell that cannot be un-rung. You cannot reject a master…even one you have “elected” and “freely chosen”, because it is of course no longer up to you. Humanity in a “free republic” has declared its need for a master by appealing to its existential insufficiency, which means that the master cannot EVER be in a position to entertain any cries for freedom because he exists precisely because humanity, by its OWN admission, is incapable of ever knowing just what it needs in the first place. For the government, even in a “free republic”. to think that it shall become LESS controlling rather than more is a rejection of its mandate to SERVE humanity. To give you freedom is tantamount to allowing a child to run headlong into traffic. It is FOR YOU that you are made servile, don’t you see?

The autocracy rules the masses for its own sake, but the democracy rules them for THEIR sake. Which, of course, in practicality becomes likewise ITS sake, but the intentions are thought more benevolent. The autocracy travels as the crow flies, you could say, whilst the democracy takes the (ostensible) scenic route.

”The American Ideal is “the People”, which is as close to Individualism as you might get from government, but it is still a collectivist Ideal and thus the road map take us to Tyranny, even though we are sure we intended to go to Freedom”

Just like every rock of any size will sink to the bottom of the ocean, every government will descend into the nightmare of authoritarianism.

END.

 

Tyranny Does Not Thwart the Constitution, It Perfects It: A controversial look at the philosophical roots of our government (PART ONE)

This is controversial…I’m just going to say it. I know it, and yet the facts are still the facts. I cannot pretend that a square is also a circle, and so I cannot pretend that Authority is also Freedom.  Authority is force, and force is the antithesis of freedom. The Constitution canonizes government rule…government authority. And though it decrees “limited authority” I submit that this is a rational contradiction in terms. Government authority cannot be limited because it is the root IDENTITY of Government. It IS the irreducible core of the State. Everything the State does flows from its Authority to compel individuals by force against their will (force necessarily making “will” fundamentally irrelevant).

When we speak of limiting the government we are talking about limiting its Authority; which means we are talking about limiting its identity. But how do you limit the identity of a thing? It cannot be done. How do you limit the identity of a bird, for example? How do you make a bird less of itself? A bird is a bird is a bird. BEING a bird is absolute. There is no such thing as a bird which we know is a bird being somehow not as much of a bird as another bird. Somehow bird A is a full bird but bird B is a “limited bird”. It’s BIRDNESS is somehow truncated. This is complete nonsenses. To claim we can limit the Authority of the government is to say we can limit the GOVERNMENTNESS of government. This is also complete nonsense.  So the Constitution, necessarily and by definition affirming the State and thereby its Authority, affirms State Authority ABSOLUTELY. It concedes the full “governmentness” of government…and yet attempts to limit that identity. It declares the bird a bird, and then goes on to describe how this particular bird will somehow be less of a bird than all the other birds which came before it.  This bird, being birthed from other birds, will somehow have a root identity of BOTH birdness and not-birdness. It will be both a bird and the opposite of bird.

Madness. Beautiful and perhaps well-intentioned madness, but madness nevertheless.

Look, the only way the Constitution could ever limit government power is if it were claim that there is no government at all. Which, if the Constitution did that, it wouldn’t exist in the first place.

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The other day I was debating a fellow commentor on a blog I occasionally visit. We were at odds over the feasibility of the American Republic; the Constitution, and the intentions of the Founding Fathers with respect to establishing a truly free and just society. If you have read much of my blog, you already know which side of the fence I sit on. I am a voluntarist, categorically, and this means that I accept as rational and efficacious only the utter ABSENCE of Ruling Authority when it comes to politics. The State, being FORCE, necessarily rejects individual will and choice as necessary or even fundamentally possible to the establishment of a truly ethical and efficacious society. And this is the very antithesis of humanity, period. Government undermines the identity of man and replaces it with the identity of the State, and substitutes choice with force, value exchange with violence, and morality with legality.

My fellow commentor is of the small-government, libertarian persuasion, through I’m not sure she identifies hereself as officially a Libertarian party member. At any rate, during the course of our discussion she said the following (edited for clarity and brevity):

”…our Constitution…was supposed to be our road map…We were supposed to have a very limited government. I’ve read enough of the founders to know that most of them thought of government as being evil but necessary.”

And I replied:

”…I understand your points. I agree with you on the Founders’ intentions. The Constitution being a road map implies a journey. Unfortunately it cannot be to capital “F” Freedom because it implies government, which implies Authority, which implies a metaphysic that declares man, at the level of his natural identity, incapable of establishing a just society absent violent coercive force. It implies that human interaction must ultimately occur only via dictated terms from an Authority placed over him. The problem is that since all men are human, and are said to be morally flawed creatures at root which is why government is necessary (meaning that man’s nature makes him insufficient to his own existence absent an external power which compels him into “right” behavior by threat and force), then the question is: who shall be put in charge?

And of course by the very metaphysical premise—the inherent depravity of man—there can be no rational answer to this question.

So what happens is that man is collectivized into an Ideal…and this Ideal he understands is what shall be served. That Ideal then implies rulers…those who are seen as mirroring its virtues most closely.So…even if we are “freely electing” our leaders, we are doing so not based upon what is best for Man the Individual, but Man the Ideal. The American Ideal is “the People”, which granted is as close to Individualism as you will ever get from government, but it’s still a collectivist Ideal. And thus the road map takes us to Tyranny, even though we are sure we intended to go to Freedom.

And, not being snarky here, honestly, but if an evil is NECESSARY wouldn’t that actually make it good?”

*

After reading my comment a couple of times, I realized that I only superficially touched upon what are pretty complex issues with respect to government and the philosophical principles which underwrite it, and in so doing I did not do justice to them, nor to my fellow commentor. But in the interest of not wanting to post a comment under a blog article which was longer than the article itself, I kept my points as brief as I felt reasonable. Unfortunately I believe I might have merely sewn confusion rather than clarity. Thus this article here on my own blog, where space is unlimited, if not my readers’ patience, so allow me to fill in the gaps. I will do this by breaking down my comment into sections and explicating accordingly.

*

”[The Constitition] cannot [take us] to ‘capital F’ Freedom because it implies government, which implies Authority…”

Governemnt by nature is FORCE. The ROOT and FUNDAMENTAL and ABSOLUTE purpose is to exercise coercive (violent) power to compel specific behavior, which by implicit and rational logical extension means that it controls ALL behavior. This is because the Individual—he who is the SINGULAR source and author of the behavior to be compelled—cannot be metaphysically parsed. In other words. man is by natural identity a creature of will; this is what separates him from the animals. The very cornerstone of man’s Identity is his Will. He is a VOLITIONAL agent, not an instinctual one. Which is why man can be held morally culpable for his actions where an animal cannot. If man cannot by will CHOOSE to act, then his behavior cannot be categorized as moral or immoral. In which case, by what basis can it be argued that man should be governed? The claim is that man is morally insufficient, which is why he must be compelled by force into right behavior. The ability of man to CHOOSE is implicit in the argument of the necessity of government. The fact that man is a moral agent is WHY there is government. Of course by subordinating individual will to State power man’s morality becomes moot. By claiming that man will inevitably CHOOSE wrong on the whole when left to himself becomes the reason why choice must be nullified by Authority. But if man no longer can choose then man is no longer a willful agent. And without will man has no identity; so what govement implies is the destruction of man in order that man can live a successful existence and not destroy himself.

That’s…a lot of contradictions and other logical fallacies. But that’s govement.

Anyway…

Man’s will is singular…that is, ALL his actions proceed from ONE will…His Own. To claim the right to force man to do this or that (as government does), or not do this or that, by threat of punishment (unto death) is NOT merely a limiting of the will but a rank commandeering of it. Will is absolute. It cannot be limited; it is indivisible. To force a man to act or not act one way necessarily subordinates ALL of man’s subsequent actions to force. All subsequent actions occur within the context not of freedom but of coercion. In other words, if govement forces you to act one way, it doesn’t mean that you are free to act in other ways, it only means that you are ALLOWED to act in those other ways (and temporarily at that, if history is our guide). And being allowed to do something is NOT the same thing as being FREE do it.

END PART ONE