What Freedom?

By Badb Catha

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By virtue of being alive, I feel obligated to those who have made my material existence possible in the first place. This sense of obligation and responsibility does not stop short of my immediate family but extends to every sage, warrior, and innovator who have fought to preserve my people and the land I live on.

For those of us fortunate enough to have grown-up with some semblance of parental involvement and guidance, most of what struck us as unfair at the age of six probably make perfect sense to us as reasonably mature adults. We understand that the limitations placed upon us were, for the most part, entirely for our own benefit. Boundaries kept us safe from harm, behavioural expectations ensured that we were fit for society, rules and regulations provided us with a sense of security and stability, and denial made us all the more appreciative of any privileges we did receive. As the years went by, parental authority softened and we were afforded more and more of our little freedoms; freedom to choose, freedom to decide,  and freedom to accept this or reject that. Of course, these newly granted liberties turned out to be conditional. ‘With freedom comes responsibility’, as the saying goes. Without self-restraint, self-denial and the ability to self-limit, freedom gives way to chaos, therefore freedom is absolutely out of the question. And so our parents guide, nurture and provide for us as children, while our duty to them is to stand as the fruits of that labour, provide them grandchildren, and to offer them care in their old age. It is through a sense of responsibility and obligation that we ensure that life consistently improves for each successive generation. Families, and by extension, communities, nations and empires are built and sustained through self-sacrifice, not self-indulgence. As soon as the individual is elevated above the community that birthed and sustained him, that community starts to decay.

Indulgence, something that has become more and more commonplace in our increasingly decadent society, has become somewhat analogous with concepts such as freedom, liberty and natural rights. Nowadays, rather than asserting that our ancestor’s sacrifices must be respected, that natural order is much preferable than natural rights, most are quicker to demand the right to unconditionally indulge in their own petty wants and desires. When this right is granted and delivered, the battle standard is then taken up in the name of some other poor oppressed sods, with or without an appeal from the victims themselves. Many westerners are so fixated on this such credos that, in order to enforce this self-destructive ethos on more illiberal nations and cultures, they’re happy to ignore or deny any hypocrisy implicit in the demand that others make blood sacrifices in the name of such a belief.

But mere mortals are not without a plethora of conflicting wants, desires and motivations. At their core, humans have a rather strong need to belong, and the ‘I’ always wants for a ‘we’. Many will be familiar with the concept of belonging due to the much popularised ‘hierarchy of needs’ in which Abraham Maslow posits that acceptance and approval are prerequisite to human ‘self-actualisation’. The evolutionary perspective also gives credence to the importance of such belonging. After all, if the default strategy of human survival is based on teamwork, belonging should rank high on the agenda, as one cannot enjoy the team’s spoils without first being a member. For the team itself, those ill-equipped or unwilling to play by the established rules are viewed as a liability or threat. To ensure order, security and group cohesion, weak links, rebels and potential usurpers must be neutralised or exiled. Motivation comes in the form of reward and punishment, otherwise known as positive and negative reinforcement, as with tasty treats and electric shocks. The titbit is affirmation and acceptance, which triggers the secretion of feel-good neurochemicals associated with comfort and security. The shock marks rejection, denial, exclusion, and the fearful uncertainty that comes with a lack of peer support and protection. Unsurprisingly, people tend to respond very poorly to exclusion, which has been found to contribute to negative emotional, cognitive and behavioural outcomes. Due to these innate neurological mechanisms, rejection and isolation is associated with clinical depression, anxiety, other mental pathologies and even physical ill-health.

Man’s innate desire to belong, and thus conform, is more obvious than it has ever been. In a world of overnight trends, consumer culture, twitter mobs, social signalling and groupthink-goodthink, the tragedy of liberalism can be tasted in the bitter irony of its own fruit. That human beings are, by and large, herd-minded should be quite clear to anyone capable of seeing beyond his own nose. Rank and file conformity is noisier than ever, and when wrapped in a guise of ostentatious faux-individualism and social rebellion, it is nothing short of deafening. The freedom to consume, the freedom to indulge in any and every base desire, the freedom to do nothing for something, the freedom to define oneself in opposition to the standard, the freedom to demand more of the same, the freedom to choose an elected representative out of an assortment of salesmen and prostitutes… Liberal democracy, put into practice and left to run its course to full fruition, stands in testament to the nativity of its own philosophy.

“The freer man believes he is, the easier it is to indoctrinate him.”

— Nicolás Gómez Dávila

‘Freedom is not free’ is another mantra we hear all too often. Naturally, independence can be frightening for one who is not equipped to deal with implications. If the individual cannot serve as his own master and protector, then the burden of responsibility will soon be co-opted by another, least he do harm to himself and others (or vice versa). From chattel to prey, to chattel once more. Lenin famously referred to the western progressive intelligentsia as ‘useful idiots’. The implication was that all they needed was a push in the right direction. While Lenin and his ilk held liberalism in contempt, a pawn is a pawn, and what pawn could be more convenient than the enemy himself? Whatever the chosen subversive tactics may be, disorder and confusion are essential to the revolution.

Political Correctness can be traced to the neo-Marxian New Left of the 1970’s, since it’s adoption in the US and UK, it has subsequently spread like wildfire throughout the western world. In a society where selfishness runs rampant and common courtesy is rare, cultural and political self-censorship stands in place of basic decency and polite conduct. Rules are made to be questioned and broken, but not this one, least anyone tread upon the weaponised minority or special interest group’s inalienable right to comfort. The universities, with their humanities departments singing to the tune of critical theory, postmodern psychosis and buzzword soup, exist not to enable and inspire but to indoctrinate. A cultural wasteland stands in place of the creative ingenuity of that which came before. Far from the blockbusting cinematic dross of Hollywood, the anti-art of the Tate Modern and Sacchi Gallery stand as representatives of the other side of the same materialist coin. If such anti-cultural output cannot be defined by what it lacks, it can be defined by what it opposes and what it denies. So successful have the radical left been in the deconstruction and subversion of our culture mores and their institutional incarnations, that even an adherence to the principles of classical liberalism (as exemplified by  many soft conservatives and libertarians) automatically marks a person out as a social pariah and a right-wing extremist. Cue the electric shock. Due to such clever psychological propaganda, the Overton Window has seen a strong shift towards left-wing totalitarianism. Who will profit most from this useful idiocy is yet to be determined.

 To doubt the sincerity of the masters of opinion in a democracy or to challenge the contradictions of the “line” in a communist régime, refusing to compare the culture of the West to the prehistoric wailing of negritude or the morbid decomposition of a certain modernism, despising the “universal conscience,” smiling when one talks of the right of peoples to self-determination, are the proofs of a suspicious and rebellious spirit. Rebellion leads to physical elimination in a communist régime and to social elimination in a liberal régime. – Dominique Venner

The western mind, the wellspring of liberalism, is as dangerous as it is powerful. For all its brilliance, creativity and potential, it is rendered vulnerable by its own idealism, neutered by his own refinement. It is said that the most visionary of people tend to lack the most common sense. Nuance is lost in a sea of possibilities. It is also said that those with high standards, naive to their own exceptionalism, are apt to make the mistake of expecting the same in others. Such is the legacy of the enlightened. Some men say they want freedom, and yet crave the fruits of restriction and denial all the same.

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