by Ambrose Bierce


Freedom, n. Exemption from the stress of authority in a beggarly half dozen of restraint's infinite multitude of methods. A political condition that every nation supposes itself to enjoy in virtual monopoly. Liberty. The distinction between freedom and liberty is not accurately known; naturalists have never been able to find a living specimen of either.

    Freedom, as every schoolboy knows,
        Once shrieked as Kosciusko fell; [*]
    On every wind, indeed, that blows
            I hear her yell.

    She screams whenever monarchs meet,
        And parliaments as well,
    To bind the chains about her feet
            And toll her knell.

    And when the sovereign people cast
        The votes they cannot spell,
    Upon the pestilential blast
            Her clamors swell.

    For all to whom the power's given
        To sway or to compel,
    Among themselves apportion Heaven
            And give her Hell.

                       Blary O'Gary.


* [Ed. note: Kosciuszko, Thaddeus [1746-1817]: American revolutionary.]

Ambrose Bierce [1842-1914] was an American newspaper columnist, satirist, essayist, short-story writer, and novelist. A friend of Mark Twain and H.L. Mencken, Bierce vanished mysteriously during the Mexican Civil War.

Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Word Book (New York: Doubleday, 1906), p. 45. Republished as The Devil's Dictionary (New York: Dover, 1958). The Devil's Dictionary is in the public domain and can be read in its entirety on the Web at The Berkeley Digital Library SunSITE.


This Week's Internal Links

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This War Is a Fraud - by Stephen Gowans

Decentralized Intelligence - by Michael W. Stowell

Depleted Uranium or Depleted Conscience? - by Jeff Lindemyer

When Did The Lies Begin? - by Milo Clark

We May Have Waited Too Long - by Deck Deckert

A Power Game Made in Serbia - by Mile N. Tankosic

Support Christ and Your Local Library - by Matthew J. Barry


Published December 10, 2001
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