Friday, July 02, 2021

Freedom by Sebastian Junger

Freedom by Sebastian Junger is a short book with interesting ruminations on his roughly year-long walk up the East Coast of the U.S. He and several friends, including a conflict photographer and two Afghan War vets, walked around 400 miles, illegally traveling along on rail lines, many through small towns that were dying away, and the book covers well this time of him simply walking, moving forward with self-reliance.

Junger previously wrote Tribe, War, Fire, A Death in Belmont, and The Perfect Storm, with all of them good books and Freedom being particularly like the first three with it examining the history of something and Junger's thoughts on it. There's a lot about the people of America and government in it and the book covers how it important to remember what happened in the past. Junger writes that "the idea that we can enjoy the benefits of society while owing nothing in return is literally infantile. Only children owe nothing." It's a good book, with other quotes from it...

"In a deeply-free society, not only would leaders be barred from exploiting their position, they would also be expected to make the same sacrifices and accept the same punishments as everyone else." 

"An insurgency or political movement with leaders who refuse to suffer the same consequences as everyone else is probably doomed. Unfair hierarchies destroy motivation, and motivation is the one thing that underdogs must have more of than everyone else." 

"If democratic power-sharing is a potent form of freedom, accepting an election loss may be the ultimate demonstration of how free you want to be. History is littered with fascist leaders who have rigged elections and tortured or killed critics, but their regimes are remarkable short-lived, especially considering the obsession these men usually have with holding power. Many wind up dead or in prison, and almost none leave behind stable regimes."