Freedom is Slavery

Introduction

A society which attempts to remove limits on behaviour leads to anarchy and then tyranny. True freedom needs to be preserved by the voluntarily entered into social contract with clearly defined limits on behaviour and actions. A healthy consensus on what is acceptable don’t come from the top down but comes from the bottom up, the natural progression from a liberal and tolerant society and it can’t be imposed on an illiberal and intolerant people. Trying to change what looks to be a savage and tyrannical system to us, which a people freely chose and have no desire to change is doomed as their seemingly tyrannical and barbaric practices are simply an expression of their freedom, and can only be changed through a rejection of freedom as an absolute virtue, and enforcing change from the top down, not through allowing greater freedom to the people, as their authoritarian institutions were actually an expression of their cultural trends. Western militarism has the confused difficulty that comes from believing that our values are universally true and that all people when given the choice will accept them. Our values may be universally true, I happen to think they are, but they are far from being universally accepted. Western powers need to either give up on trying to export our values elsewhere, or be willing to use the force necessary to impose them on others even if they would not accept them of their own accord. But we are currently trapped in a limbo of aggressive weakness, trying to impose ideas on people under the false assumption they will accept them willingly, appearing to be both tyrant and milksop. Trying to come up with the right solutions to these culture clashes right now is less important than understanding the misinformation and misunderstanding that has led to our failed foreign policy plans of the past. Once the facts about cultural, ethnic, and religious differences become open to be discussed actual common-sense solutions can be proposed on case by case basis, until then any proposed policy for dealing with non-western groups of people is going to be based on a slew of false assumptions and falsehoods which will inevitably lead to more failure.

End of introduction

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Ever since time immemorial human beings have called on the sacred name of freedom to justify their actions. The rallying cry of freedom is so universal that it is entirely normal for two opposing sides in a war to use almost the exact same patriotic freedom loving language to rationalise their actions.

This applies especially to modern Western politics, especially in America. As the concept of freedom is unusually powerful in America both sides use the rhetoric of freedom to justify their positions. Republicans may lean on freedom, while Democrats favour rights, but it is still a salient point. Left-wingers will say that Gays need to be “free to marry who they want.” and that women need to be “free to decide what they do with their bodies.” As the language of free-market libertarians demonstrate, “choice” is somewhat synonymous with “freedom” making the whole pro-choice movement an implicit freedom advocacy group.

American Right-wingers on the other hand use the concept of freedom in a much more explicit and frequent way. The freedom to own guns, speak your mind, keep your money, etc…

The question here of course is if both sides are implicitly or explicitly arguing in favour of freedom how come they come to such bitter disagreements about what is best for society? The answer of course is that freedom, like tolerance, love, and violence, are concepts impossible to advocate for or against without being placed in a context to give those actions and beliefs a meaning, which will inevitably lead to bitter political or violent struggles, in which each side desperately fights to impose their own version of freedom on society, preserving the right for people to be free to do what they think people should be free to do, and struggling for the power to ban everything they think people should not be allowed to do. Societies like early and to a lesser extent contemporary America which rejected the conflict inherent in this kind of societal divide (represented in the European religious intolerance and schism which the early colonists sought to escape) by saying that there should be tolerance for differences and the ability for all members of the society to be free to choose the own way they wanted to live, actually only functioned because there was still a basic understanding of things that people were free to do and things they are not.

Centrist moderates and libertarians in America and around the world who baulk at the street violence, hatred, and fractioning of the wider society advocate for a return to the traditional liberal value of respecting genuine differences, agreeing to disagree, and being actually tolerant. But a society who lives under those principles actually needs to have an implicit understanding about most of the same fundamental principles, and the differences about which the society can be tolerant actually need to be mostly inconsequential and harmlessly inoffensive. Libertarians disagree with that statement, and say that the NAP, or “non-aggression principle.” (The illegitimacy of any violence or force except for the purpose of self-defence) could be applied to society in order to create an anarcho-capitalist utopia. Like Communism, this ideology breaks down under the slightest examination. You see a little girl being beaten to death in the street by her Dad. You cannot intervene because that would be initiating violence without provocation, breaking the NAP. So, the NAP applies to defending others. But then someone may have a grudge against someone else and when the second man playfully boxes his friend’s ears, thinking play-fighting wouldn’t violate the NAP the first man with the grudge intervenes and breaks his nose, using the “defence of others” argument to justify his breaking of the NAP. I actually think the NAP is a pretty good principle for most situations in life, it is simply too well, simple and vaguely defined to be used as a guiding philosophy for life.

But that is ok, we don’t have to use an exploitable one line system of law like the NAP. But we can still have our truly tolerant libertarian society that doesn’t break down into political strife and violence. All we need is a nice simple, but still specific enough legal system which lays down the basic stuff, no murder, rape, or theft, but when it comes to the other hot button issues which only effect the people who are doing the thing, we can agree on absolute tolerance. No gun control, gay marriage allowed, legal abortions, etc…

Setting aside the fact that a huge portion of the population in Western nations would rather continue to fight over those issues than sacrifice their principles for the sake of a harmonious society, even if they could decide to, Muslims and certain other immigrant groups have shown repeatedly that they are unwilling to comply with either the requirement to refrain from breaking the basic restrictions on behaviour that our hypothetical libertarian society would function under, but also from refraining from trying to force others to abide by other behaviours that are allowed without exception in our libertarian utopia. The easiest and most common-sense solution would be to simply ban immigration from any country or people group who would not be able to comply with our libertarian society. But tyrannically banning whole chunks of the world’s population from entering our country, insisting on rigid adherence to a system of law, these all totally violate the primacy of freedom separate from it being tied to a specific way of life or belief, that was the libertarian ideal for this society all along.

My point is, the cry of the feminist that society has no claim on deciding what she does with her body, the protests of the second amendment fan that the government has no right to his guns, or the homosexual announcing that he wants to be married, cannot be acceded to in good faith with the principle of freedom alone. All societies violate the freedom of their citizens when they commit murder, so the freedom of individuals to do what is right in their own eyes is undeniably not sacrosanct. They must defend the moral right of their position on its own merits not through an appeal to an abstract principle of self-determination. A commitment to complete freedom to make your own choices regardless of the consequences as long as they don’t directly affect others, is not only disingenuous, considering that as highly social animals, every action we take absolutely effects other people in the society as much as we may protest that it doesn’t, this principle would lead to a family who forcibly intervene in their sons life a few months before he inevitably overdoses on drugs as the tyrannical villains of the story instead of a caring family doing what they had to in order to save their son.

Indeed, much of the problems with modern politics comes from both sides of the political spectrum, (Although naturally as a conservative I feel that it comes more from the left than from the right.) self deceptively pretending to be in favour of things like Freedom, Love, Diversity and Tolerance, as abstract ideals that apply to everything, in order to convince Christians, as an example, to accept gay marriage in the name of tolerance no matter if they personally disagree with it, when they and everyone else still firmly believe that there are certain things you should not be tolerant of.

The uncomfortable fact is that free and open societies are only possible in circumstances when the society is already made of people who share ethnicity, race, religion, culture, country, attitudes, or at least most of those things. Japan is a homogenous country and is top tier in terms of peace and stability. Lebanon and Sudan. (and South Sudan afterwards) were and are countries that are rife with religious and or ethnic tension and violence. Differences like that between protestant American churches like Baptists, Methodists, etc. are fine and are unlikely to result in serious societal problems. The same is true of the slight differences in ethnicity and big differences in Christian denomination between native Germans. In Israel, there are ethnic tensions between different Jewish groups, but a shared religion and culture enable an acceptable level of social stability. The much bigger split in Israeli society comes from the division between Ultra-Orthodox and secular Jews, highlighting the need for uniformity on almost all levels of society to preserve peace. Indeed, separate from the subjective pros and cons of different ethnicities, religions, and political beliefs, having a vast and widely disparate bunch of them in a state is never going to be conducive to peace and stability. And ultimately, it will have a negative effect on the ability of the population to reach a consensus on what behaviours are acceptable and which are not, a consensus which every people need to reach in order to function, considering that freedom is not a sliding scale with “none” on one end, and “most” on the other, but instead an equilibrium of agreed upon limits.

In closing, Freedom is defined by not being allowed to do whatever you want, diversity is our greatest weakness, and Santa Claus is real. Till next time.