You're Poot the Peasant. The King has a war on his hands and needs soldiers, but he can't just go out and press gang folks because this is a very modern kingdom. They at least pretend to respect the rights of the peasantry, so he offers "the King's shilling," a shiny gold coin you can spend on getting platsered, which as a peasant is your only joy in life. So you figure why not? Beats pushing a plow all day for the abbot who eats all the cheese.
You join the Grand Army and get marched off to the border lands where the war is going on with the Orcs, who are considered primitive and don't have shiny new swords and crossbows like you. However, they know the lay of the land and aren't afraid to die, giving them the initiative. You and your fellow foot sloggers hunker down in a camp where you mostly repel guerrilla raids from those swarthy barbarians and try to make nice when their women and children come around - who are likely the spies of the enemy but you're a decent guy, so you're not about to put their heads up on spikes like you do with their sons and husbands.
It's a grind, physically and mentally. It takes it's toll and you start going for walks outside the camp to clear your head. Until one night, the Orcs grab you while you're out walking and carry you off to their caves. They spend years beating you, starving you, locking you in a cage - basically treating you the way an emotionally troubled child treats the family dog - until finally the King negotiates your release and you get to come home!
Where the Privy Council demands your head on the chopping block for reasons that have nothing to do with you.
|See what I did there?|
Congratulations, you've just role-played the life of Bowe Bergdahl! A man who would've just been another US Army grunt in the grotesque sideshow of Afghanistan had he not gone and gotten himself POWed, only to get released at a time when partisan hate trumps every other impulse in the American people.
Bergdahl, who's greatest crime against the nation was apparently going on walkabout, has been the target of some of the nastiest Republican attacks outside a campaign season. No sooner was he out of Taliban hands then every senator with an R in parentheses was complaining about how he wasn't worth the five starved goat-fuckers we released from Gitmo. Chris Wallace, channeling the NKVD, even floated the possibility that he be executed for treason or desertion. And this official hate has trickled all the way down to the grassroots, who spent last week sending Bergdahl's family so many death threats the FBI had to get involved.
But what really stands out is the noticeable silence from such high profile libertarians as Rand Paul. Aside from a lame crack about how we should be trading Dems instead of Talibs, the nominal Liberty 2016 candidate hasn't had much to say on the rights of an American. It's a ready-made issue - if Bergdahl deserted then he didn't want to die for the State and those five Talibs released form Gitmo are five less human beings being tortured by the Big Government. Why wouldn't a principled libertarian like Rand Paul jump all over that?
Maybe because he doesn't believe a word of that freedom stuff. Maybe none of them do - not Paul senior, not the Koch brothers, and especially not any of the talking heads who celebrated the "resistance" of that racist hick in Nevada. The libertarian angle is just "Hope and Change" for bitter white guys, a campaign gimmick to get enough rubes voting for them in November so they can stick to business as usual. A promise of low taxes and freedom from government overreach plays real well with the peasants in Peoria.
The only libertarians who live by those principles are small-time terrorists like Jerad and Amanda Miller, who only ever hurt other plebs. After planting a Tea Party flag on the two cops they murdered, they couldn't get their revolution any further than one gun owner in a nearby Wal-Mart. They really believed all that anti-government noise, they killed and died for it, and it didn't make any kind of difference.
Because at the end of the day, libertarianism is nothing but a confidence game the ruling class plays on prols. China Mieville said it best in his takedown of the laughable seasteading movement:
"Libertarianism... is a theory of those who find it hard to avoid their taxes, who are too small, incompetent or insufficiently connected to win Iraq-reconstruction contracts, or otherwise chow at the state trough. In its maundering about a mythical ideal-type capitalism, libertarianism betrays its fear of actually existing capitalism, at which it cannot quite succeed. It is a philosophy of capitalist inadequacy."
Bowe Bergdahl is getting slandered by a bunch of disingenuous hucksters playing off the low self-esteem of middle class suckers. The Taliban looks pretty good in comparison.