Monday, June 10, 2013


A common assertion among proponents of basing an F-35 squadron at our Burlington airport is that noise from military aircraft is perceived as "the sound of freedom." This seems odd.
Freedom is complex. But for simplicity, let's examine a most American summary -- that of FDR's "four freedoms", a proposal for four fundamental feedoms everyone should enjoy: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
What do our military aircraft, noise aside, have to do with providing them?
Do these planes provide freedom of speech? No, the First Amendment gives us that.
Freedom of worship? Again, no. Again, the Constitution.
Freedom from want? Here, certainly not, and rather the opposite, as the enormous sums to develop, build, and support them drain the treasury for domestic needs.
Ah, fear. Surely they make us less afraid of "the enemy" -- whoever that might be. But what enemy has the air or missile capability to attack us? None on the horizon. And our overseas attacks to pre-empt any capability seem to be creating more, not fewer, enemies, enemies whose tools are not targets such aircraft. Our fear, if anything, should be increased.
To me, freedom comes not from our warplanes, but from collaboration with nature and humans trying to be healed.

Tell it to the Russians, the Iranians, the Chinese, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban? They too don't hear the roar in the air as the sound of freedom. Nor the buzzing.

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