Freedom and Cars
Although the American Revolutionary War in particular was fought largely using the conventional tactics of the time, it was the purpose of the conflict which was unconventional and, ultimately, was the cause of the Americans’ victory. Unlike all of the wars of the past, fought between various kleptocracies for control over one another, the American Revolution was conducted for the express purpose of establishing a nation which would be nothing else but a haven for the individual’s free exercise of his rights. The tactics of previous wars reflected their purpose: if the ebb and flow of power and wealth betweeen various nations is regarded as the natural, unavoidable state of human affairs then it makes perfect sense that wars should have clearly delimited boundaries and “honorable” customs. If both sides agree that enslavement and plunder is proper, then there’s no reason to do more damage to life and limb than is necessary to see who should be ruled and who should be ruler. War was thought of more as a function of the state, rather than as a threat to it’s very existence.
It wasn’t until that assumption was questioned by the American Revolutionaries that less conventional, more ruthless tactics became the convention. They became the norm because the stakes over which nations fought wars became much higher – or were at least finally being recognized as being high all along for the every day citizen and soldier. No longer were wars simply a means of redistributing power and wealth. Now they were recognized as contests meant to decide the very existence, or at least the nature of the existence, of entire nations of people. This recognition allowed governments which were created for the benefit of their people to embrace military tactics that best ensured victory, and the nations who’s governments considered their citizens as means to the ends of their political elite carried on with their outmoded methods of warfare – much to their peril.
This commercial is a vivid demonstration of this fact. By involving aspects of their peace-time lives – their automobiles – in their fight for independence, the Americans are demonstrating their committment to their ideas. Their desire to establish a country meant solely to protect individual rights is not regarded as merely a noble dream that they don’t really mean. That was a trait of the British. Neither is their goal going to be the result of a mindless act of their bodies – throwing themselves into conventional-style battles without any thought as to how to actually win. Instead, what the American military tradition has become – with it’s volunteer armies of citizen soldiers and it’s willingness to annihilate entire enemy cities if necessary – is an implicit understanding of the fact that there can be no breech between one’s highest ideas and one’s every day life. That just as one must risk his resources and intelligence to create the values he enjoys in times of peace, so he must be willing to risk them in war. In short, that if America wishes to remain a free nation, it’s people must permit no distinction between how they think they should live and how they really do live. The desire for, and expectation of, quality in government requires the desire for, and expectation of, quality in every day life.