The Myth of Freedom

First published, hyperlinks and images included, on West Coast Reactionaries in two separate parts: 1 & 2.


A week or two ago two YouTube celebrities of opposing styles butted heads for a solid four hours. Millennial Woes (a good friend of mine) made “The Case for White Nationalism” against Sargon of Akkad who made the case for… something else. Regardless, one can observe in the comments section of the aforementioned video various people filling-in the gaps Millennial Woes left in his reasoning, which corresponds to my own view of the whole affair which should come as no surprise.

The reason I mention this instance is due to what Sargon of Akkad demonstrated about the ways in which many moderns perceive the world and how they gather and process information. Sargon of Akkad — much like the majority of his some quarter of a million Subscribers — is a critic, id est one who is automatically suspicious of all external data, and it is from externality that one’s own principles and views are concretely formed. I just know that should someone of this type be reading this, they will doubtless be thinking “But is not that how all information is understood?” to which I would respond that it depends upon the information and its direction. The Absolute Individual which Julius Evola formulated, the man who can say a resounding “Yes” to his core sense of Being insomuch as admitting one’s true nature, is not something established via rationally analysing the outward world. Indeed, this is one of the key distinctions between the esotericist and the layman — but I digress. We can definitely establish modes of logical operation which do not rely upon some “being moved” by the world in a materialistic sense.

The modern has at the forefront of his essence several established principles, among them being that all things can be rationally understood by all men, that all human beings are born of equal worth, and that all human beings are born with equal rights — indeed the latter has been written into the very Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, that villainous hive of traitors and rebels; the country has at its core this revolutionary maxim. Later developments in this direction include the European existentialist movement, one of the basic assumptions therein being the inborn nature of human freedom (though not every “existentialist” shared the same beliefs, something explained very well by philosopher Gregory B. Sadler).

This a very problematic assumption especially when one begins to unpack the very definition of “freedom.” The common view nowadays amid moderns is that “freedom” constitutes the ability to “do what you want.” If one takes a higher view, however, “freedom” implies being without restraints, without limits, without boundaries. If we are to examine the human animal we notice that he is certainly born with such things. One has to eat, sleep, blink; one’s heart must beat in order to circulate oxygen-rich blood through the body to operate muscles and organs. One cannot choose to stop bodily functions at a whim. Likewise it is with our animal desires — even ascetics and monks need to eat occasionally, but that brings us onto another point.

The human being is born with desires, some base and squalid, others bright and luminous. The Christian doctrine of Fallen Man confirms this, that man is born into the world in a “fallen” state from Paradise. In fact this is the basic presupposition of nearly every religion the world-over; that man is born into a lower state of being, but through the active overcoming of this he can attain a higher state of being. This very idea challenges the center of the liberal mind. Man is born into a state of slavery to himself, to both his desires and his biological requirements; as well as his very metaphysics as a mortal bound to life and to death.

Freedom means “being able to choose.” The fact of the matter is that most ordinary men do not or cannot choose their fundamental state; they exist as total serfs to the political zeitgeist of the day, to the latest fashion trend, to the whims of their peers, to their own vulgar natures. They are not free men, they are slaves.

Consider the cattle, grazing as they pass you by: they do not know what is meant by yesterday or today, they leap about, eat, rest, digest, leap about again, and so from morn till night and from day to day, fettered to the moment and its pleasure or displeasure, and thus neither melancholy nor bored. This is a hard sight for man to see; for, though he thinks himself better than the animals because he is human, he cannot help envying them their happiness –- what they have, a life neither bored nor painful, is precisely what he wants, yet he cannot have it because he refuses to be like an animal…

[Man] also wonders at himself, that he cannot learn to forget but clings relentlessly to the past: however far and fast he may run, this chain runs with him. And it is a matter for wonder: a moment, now here and then gone, nothing before it came, again nothing after it has gone, nonetheless returns as a ghost and disturbs the peace of a later moment. A leaf flutters from the scroll of time, floats away — and suddenly floats back again and falls into the man’s lap. Then the man says “I remember” and envies the animal, who at once forgets and for whom every moment really dies, sinks back into night and fog and is extinguished forever. — Friedrich Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations

The fetish of faux-freedom which envelopes the modern mind lends itself, in the capitalist marketplace, to a sort of bohemianism. Freedom becomes an idealised state of affairs insofar as meaning that the man who is free is one who has no obligations to anything beyond himself; the man is free not in his state of being, but in his particular flavour of slavery. This is manifest on every level of life and living, and the capitalist, global marketplace bequeaths any and all shapes and sizes of this emptiness to anyone with enough worthless paper money to purchase it.

An obsession with directionless, formless freedom leads one to individualism, which is the belief that the individual person and his rights are valuable enough to not be imposed upon by external institutions or people. We are again met with more problems as explained by Cato Disapproves in his article “Ex Falso Quodlibet” (which I have quoted and referenced many times);

Behavior which harms and destabilizes institutions or abstract entities like “the family” or “the public good” are permissible [to the individualist] because only physical harm to an individual is considered relevant in determining the morality of an action.

The very act of external opposition in the inhibiting of the freedom of the individual is an inconceivable and bizarre concept to the ordinary modern. And this is precisely why his homelands are being destroyed and he is interiorly formless and empty. I made this very point in “The Enemy is Within, not Without” — that what the real danger is to the European and to Europe is interior formlessness and a lack of self-restraint. We currently have, in the West, some very authoritarian societies. The problem is, however, that the authoritarianism which exists only serves the interests of the status quo, not the existence of the future.

This brings us full-circle. The defining difference between Millennial Woes’ position and Sargon of Akkad’s is that the former believes the individual to be beholden to things prior to himself, id est a collective; a culture, and tribe, a family, a thede, and that the individual is conditioned and formed by that which they come out of necessarily. The ordinary man is not fit for genuine freedom, he is not equipped for true, profound freedom. There is a reason why the existentialists like Nietzsche tended to a hierarchical view of life and of reality. The Ubermench is not something attainable by everyone due to the innate differences in capabilities between people. Even the Maoist apologist Jean-Paul Sartre, while defending socialist labour camps as existing out of “love,” saw dialectical struggle as a means of ridding mankind of oppressors and evil — he discriminated, and that is the fundamental point. He saw the better and the lesser man, in his view, those who could have freedom and those who could not. This is not a “Left” versus “Right” issue per se.

Having freedom as the basis of an entire — universal, in the liberal mind — social order is total folly. Life at its very core is struggle, just as a tree struggles upwards towards the sun, so do we. And like a tree, we must have roots and a direction. The presupposition that all men are rootless atoms floating in a vacuum only beholden to their own shifting desires and impulses has led us to this predicament, both individually and collectively. The answer, then, is not more freedom, but order. And the right kind of order is sorely lacking for most.

To summarise:

  1. The ordinary definition of “freedom” does not actually mean freedom at all, only the illusion of freedom insomuch as choice in one’s particular form of enslavement to one’s desires or bodily functions.
  2. True freedom, a la liberation from one’s lower nature, is not something which is some universal “right” all human beings are born with, in fact it is a state of being which only a small elite of people can actively realise, typically through ultra-elitist philosophy, ascesis or religious experience.
  3. The faux-freedom which is the primary crutch for liberalism and individualism has facilitated, through the untrue notion that no man is beholden to anything prior to himself, the destruction of European nation-states as well as the interior forms of Europeans themselves.

As has been noted before, the modern sees anything which imposes itself upon him as an antagonism, as an oppression, as an act of near-violence. The “just be yourself” mentality encapsulates this, though it also speaks of a much deeper, much more profound idea. The Greek phrase οὶκειοπραγία (oik-eio-pra-gia), “to each his own,” mirrors this idea of self-determination, that each individual person is differentiated from others, however, the moral-emotional presuppositions which underpin either phrase are strongly differentiated.

The former presupposes that the individual is free to go his own way simply by virtue of his being himself, that as he is his own person — at least to his own mind — he alone is fit to be his own judge and thus any externality which would attempt to coerce or guide him is not justified to do so. It is a term which implies that, simply because man is that questioning or challenging any extension of this is problematic. The latter presupposes a deeper truth, that due to the differentiation of people we all have our own way which lies irrespective of “freedom” as due to the innate differences between individuals our paths are as such. Οὶκειοπραγία also means “to mind one’s affairs,” insomuch as implying a duty, not a right but personal responsibility. The former is universal as all men “are themselves,” while the latter is particular as it takes into consideration one’s actions, and implies circumstantialism. In short, the former notion belongs to the world of quantity, the latter to quality.

What is most interesting about the “reign of quantity,” as René Guénon would put it, is the sheer decline of properness, of conformity to that which is best-suited to the person and their abilities. Instead of a genuine particularism realised in the social order, there is only a bland one-size-fits-all universalism parading as good for everyone, which attempts to awkwardly play the part of a serious reasoning or designator.

The Greeks who used that term, οὶκειοπραγία, lived in a hierarchical society. There was an understood definition between boy and man, between warrior and priest, and between the feminine and masculine. Being free, or having choice, was inferior to what that choice fundamentally was — one cannot help but be reminded of Martin Heidegger’s opinion that the modern world is plagued not by a loss of metaphysics as the Traditionalists would assert, but that it is plagued by the opposite. The modern notion of a man’s freedom or individuality simply rests in the very Being of the man, whereas the proper designation for man’s particularism rests in its specific actualisation. Some men are workers, some are warriors, some are priests; society is made-up of different roles as Plato noted:

  • Productive (Workers) — the labourers, carpenters, plumbers, masons, merchants, farmers, ranchers, etc. These correspond to the “appetite” part of the soul.
  • Protective (Warriors or Guardians) — those who are adventurous, strong and brave; in the armed forces. These correspond to the “spirit” part of the soul.
  • Governing (Rulers or Philosopher Kings) — those who are intelligent, rational, self-controlled, in love with wisdom, well suited to make decisions for the community. These correspond to the “reason” part of the soul and are very few.

A philosophical assertion has of course its logical aspect, but so does it have a lower emotional aspect which leads to petty moralism based upon the assertion’s implications or wider construings. Exempli gratia one could say that that is a truth that human beings are all differing in their capabilities and experiences, thus there can never be some absolute universal egalitarianism; but one then means to say that equality is utopian, inequality is here to stay — and what then entails as also here to stay? Exploitation? Slavery? Genocide? The majority of people tend to naturally relativise ideas as to contextualise them so they are more plainly understood in the moment, and they will often do this, as should come as no surprise, within the contemporary zeitgeist with all its political and other presuppositions.

It should come as no surprise that a growing number of Europeans are seeking οὶκειοπραγία — purpose, meaning, value, context, form, station — after feeling the empty burn of “just being themselves.” Particularism implies hierarchy; quality — which is exactly what mass notions of freedom antagonise and endanger. Under the proxy of equality every standard has to be lowered for the blandest, one-size-fits-all definition of freedom to be applied to all. In reality, not everyone is fit for freedom. Some barely notice it, many abuse it, and no-one important seems to care.

The truest sense of freedom, of boundlessness, lies in fulfilling one’s potential within a known and trusted set of boundaries — this was known to premodern man. It was the realisation of purpose, of tangible meaning. In our present context, however, one is drowned with an infinite number of equally dull possibilities.

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