The Archaic Greeks believed that only the best men can handle liberty.  That’s why only free men of property could serve in the phalanx, or crew a fighting trireme.  Only such a man had the iron self-control a hoplite needs.  Freedom without discipline backed by centuries of tradition is what barbarians have (“barbarian” means simply “not Greek”) — that’s not liberty, it’s license.  

That’s why the citizens of Athens put Socrates to death, and why Nietzsche said they were right to do it.  Socrates’s command to “know thyself” leads not to freedom, as he claimed, but to license.  To keep his freedom — to literally keep the barbarians from the gates — a free man must be bold, even ruthless, in defense of his values.  Socrates’s injunction calls those very values into question.  What if our “values” are really just social conventions?  How can I — who know myself so thoroughly — continue strutting around as if I weren’t always in danger of succumbing to lust, laziness, gluttony, cowardice?  It’s no good to say “because it’s socially useful for you to act this way,” because if it’s just an act, then what’s the point of those “values” in the first place?  Do the Spartans seem happy to you?  The barbarians sure do….

Well into modern times, the contrast between civilization and barbarism was right there.  Europe was in danger of being overrun well into the 17th century; the Barbary slave trade went on into the 19th.  Europeans weren’t the unquestioned top dogs on their own continent until the Industrial Revolution.  Only fanatic commitment to our values kept the barbarians away, but they were always there, just over the horizon… is it a coincidence, do you think, that the Enlightenment only really got rolling after the Battle of Vienna?

Flash forward into the 20th century.  Nobody’s village is going to get burned by marauding Mongols; no cruise ship passengers in the Mediterranean are going to end up in an Ottoman hareem.  The ages-old answer to the question “What is freedom for?” doesn’t make sense anymore.  Hell, the very question itself doesn’t.  I defy anyone, anywhere, in the modern world to find a commonly accepted definition of “freedom” that doesn’t boil down to “do your own thing, man” — in other words, what the Greeks would call license.

Do you have one?

Folks in Our Thing rail against the SJW police state, but I ask you to seriously consider: What, exactly, is wrong with a police state?  That it takes away our freedom?  See above.  We’ve so thoroughly conflated freedom with license that most college kids I know — and I have met thousands — don’t even know what the word “license” means, outside of a laminated card that lets you buy beer.  Our kinder, gentler police state is just lousy with license, and most people will go along with that, because they like it — and because they think they ARE free.  Start handing out a government ration of porn, fentanyl, Big Macs, and free wifi, and I promise you not one “American” in 10,000 will care that freedom of thought, of conscience, are gone… whatever the fuck that means.  All I know, dude, is that I can pierce anything, watch anything, stick anything up any orifice, and get retweeted and upvoted for it.  So what if you can’t read some dead white guy any more?  The new season of Stranger Things is out!

Freedom — ordered liberty; the ability to choose not what one wants, but what one must — is a meaningless concept in a postindustrial society.  Our fraternal socialist comrades in the USSR didn’t rebel because they wanted freedom; they rebelled because the kommissars promised them more stuff, and didn’t deliver.  We will be perfectly free, fellow citizens, in the SJW’s New World Order, under any definition of “freedom” that still makes sense in a world where the “poor” die of heart disease and diabetes.

Unless you can tell me exactly why anyone should start shooting at the black helicopters, Our Thing is just a few dudes grumbling on the Internet.  I’m sure we’ll have some high old times together in the reeducation camp, but all this?  It’s for nothing.

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15 thoughts on “Freedumb

  1. Unwashed Mass

    This is a damn good question.
    Thank you for bringing it up and giving me an opportunity to mull this over – I haven’t had a good adventure in a long time.
    I will get back here with my answer, it just will take awhile.

  2. Toddy Cat

    With all due respect, Severian (and I mean that – I enjoy your writing) if it’s all so hopeless, why keep blogging? Maybe you’re right, but I don’t think so, and I’m not sure that blackpills like this help anything, at least not anything on our side. As for why we rebel, , it’s because living in a well-lit, clean zoo is ultimately drgrading to one’s humanity, and everybody knows it, even if they can’t articulate it; and in addition, conditions in the zoo are becoming less ideal all the time. Do you really think that overdose deaths in the U.S. are reaching the level of casualties sustained in the Second World War, that social media is boiling over with discontent to the point that it has to be censored, that France is exploding, that anti-Establishment figures are winning elections from Hungary to Italy to Poland to the U.S., because people are happy and contented? As for your town being safe from barbarians, have you looked at our southern border recently? Something is wrong, and almost everybody knows it. And if they don’t know it, they will, soon. Very soon. Your pessimism is unjustified, and anyway, as the late Jerry Pournelle used to say, “despair is a sin”

    1. Severian Post author

      As for zoos being degrading to our humanity… everything we know about humanity belongs to the past, in an environment — like Europe until the Industrial Revolution — under real, obvious, and persistent threat. Ever read up on John Calhoun’s rat experiments? Limitless food, no predators… and they all congregated into smaller and smaller spaces, then committed suicide. Prosperity is lethal to humans. Organisms adapted to prosperity — whatever those turn out to be — aren’t the critters described by the Humanities.

      Note that I did NOT say people are “happy and contented.” I said they are anesthetized, and they mistake this for freedom. I don’t know what social media you’re on, but the one I’m on — the one that includes being around a whole, whole bunch of the younger generation — proves that ignorance really is bliss. They have no idea what’s going on on our southern border, which they can’t find on a map anyway, and if it’s ever brought to their attention, they mutter “Orange Man Bad” and go back to sexting each other.

      As for so-called “black pills,” it’s important for people to see things this way. I may not be right, but… how am I wrong? The point, put as simply as I can, is: What happens if all the discontent you write about actually does boil over? What if those anti-Establishment figures win, not just an office here or there, but real, effective control? What do they — we — actually DO with the power?

      I don’t know. You don’t know. They sure as hell don’t know, and until somebody does know, nothing’s going to change — they (we) will never get effective power for change, because they (we) can’t give the malcontents any real, tangible, implementable reason to get behind them (us).

      You use the metaphor of the zoo. Let’s go with that. What’s life like outside the bars? What do we do out there? What’s so great about it, that we should chuck over the very real comforts of the cage for it? In short, is it worth going to the gun for? If it’s not, then we should all sit back and enjoy the pornotron. If it is, then it’s on us — the people who are urging our fellow citizens to go to the gun — to provide a detailed explanation of just WHY it’s worth going to the gun. If we can’t. then we’re back to square one — our situation is critical, but not serious.

      Unless you still seriously believe we can vote our way out of this……?

      And that’s why I keep blogging, but probably not for very long — perspective. Do I really, truly, in my heart of hearts believe it’s as bad as all that? No. But somebody has to think about it that way, and make that case, if the troops are ever going to get rallied. Otherwise we’ll just keep bloviating until the Left comes to its senses, and sets up a real “intellectual dark web” where we can go and jerk each other off playing cloak-and-dagger while they sic the Two Minutes’ Twitter Hate on the next in a long line of Jordan Petersons, Ben Shapiros, and all the rest.

      The Left has a vision. It’s impossible and insane, but so long as the hoi polloi have opium and video games, they can do what they want. We don’t have a vision. All we do is say “gulag bad”… to which 99% of the American people reply “OK, sure, if you say so…. but it’s got opium and video games!”

      1. Rod1963

        Yeah the masses are indeed sedated, isolated and have been intellectually reduced to a sack of hammers. This has been by design. You can’t a** rape a entire continent of wealth unless you find a way of reducing the population to servile obedience and without them knowing they are little more than tax serfs and cannon fodder.

        Neil Postman wrote about it in “Amusing ourselves to death” decades ago.

        John Taylor Gatto in his works also writes about it.

        The only way to break this bread and circus bubble we live is with a economic upset(or war) that ends it abruptly. It’s the reason why Wall Street has worked so hard to keep the party going, it almost ended in 2007-2008 and it terrified them. They know once it bursts, all hell will break loose. There won’t be a Left or Right at that point, since both have been constituted within the amusement state we currently inhabit. You can bet the elites have war gamed this out . The same way they figured out those Ipads and similar devices are deforming the minds of children and young adults by the millions.

        What happens when the music stops? Lots of bad, most wealth will vaporize as well as control by TPTB since their control is based on everything working smoothly. Our cities will become charnel houses in short order because our elites made them into time bombs with the mass importation of savages who are barely kept in check with bribes and other various gimme dats.

        It will fail because it deserves to. It’s a system that produced toxic crap in terms of the arts and eradicated vast swaths of our cultural inheritance. It will not be missed.

  3. Old Scratch

    At this point the best that can be done is to help push America into the abyss, in the hope that our kindred in Europe and in the Diaspora can have a shot at saving themselves. I agree that America is too far gone to be saved by anyone, and that our own situation is hopeless in the cause of restoring ourselves here, but to answer the question of “why shoot down the black helicopter?” the answer is that for every one we do the gubment has one less to loan the EU.

    America and it’s monetary/militarly/cultural resources are the prime vector for POZ worldwide. For allowing our country to be corrupted and turned against us in such a total way the American “people” rightly deserve to suffer, and thankfully there is nothing we need to do to see that happen now. But that does not mean we have the right to sit back and enjoy the warmth of armageddon. So long as U.S. money and (((culture))) is being inflicted on Europe and Australia we have a duty to run interference. The Yellow Vests have proven to me that there is something left in Europe that Americans will never have, and we have duty to our kindred to do what we can to help end this Evil Empire, in penitence if nothing else.

    1. Severian Post author

      See, now there’s a vision!!! Should we ever gain power, the only way to stop the rot from setting in again is by finding a radically new organizing principle. America as a nation-state version of the flagellant movement, doing penance for the Enlightenment’s sins… we could do a lot worse. Plus, it’d let us burn anyone who advanced The Equality Opinion at the stake, which is a must.

      1. Old Scratch

        The only thing I want the United States to ‘become’ is a negative example for the rest of the world (and whites in particular). I want this country to immolate itself on it’s founding principles. I want it to stand proudly on the hill of egalitarianism and Enlightenment thought and die miserably for all the world to see. I want this country to collapse first, collapse hard, and collapse in such a way that every intellectual, every layman and every ignorant NPC in the world can look at the ruin we’ve made of ourselves and be unable to think anything other than “Oh, they must have fucked up real bad. Probably best to do the exact opposite.”

        That is the only use America can have now. That is the only fate their selfish choices have earned, I don’t want to give this country a second chance. Maybe something can be built on the ashes, but I’d prefer this entire continent be left as a monument to stupidity and hubris.

  4. Al from da Nort

    1. First the free money runs out. It’s amazing how long it has lasted already.
    2. EBT & SNAP stop.
    3. Everything goes kinetic.
    4. Military dictatorship set up. Hopefully ours and not China’s
    5. So what now_? How about we say, Our program is to reboot Western Civilization for us and our descendants. It’s the only way to avoid living in a turd world sh^thole.” They say, “What’s Western Civ._?” In your wheelhouse.
    6. Dictator says, “Hmmm, It would be good to have a regime rationale…”

  5. Joseph Moore

    On the one hand: Decades ago, I observed that the only meaningful, practical protest against our nation’s insanity was to get married, stay married, and raise a bunch of children. Implied here is that the parents take all sorts of care of their kids, financial, cultural, emotional, educational, spiritual. These simple acts map directly to all the things that make SJWs’ heads explode. But aside from that, it takes the essential step for the future: it belongs to those who show up. Raising them so they don’t have too many of the daddy issues that are the indispensable characteristic of Marxists, and educating them yourself, means less fodder for the Gramsci/Alinsky mill.

    This option is available not just to meager intellectual wannabes such as myself, but to the Samwsie Gamgees of the world, who are out there – just good guys who know something stinks, and take prudent, manly steps to protect their families from the evil in the air. But the major point: without this, there really is simply no hope. The family, along with (one hopes) the church and village, are the only armour we have against the insanity. Even in the event things miraculously get set right, they just fall again without families to support them.

    Second, on a larger scale, I’ve just begun to appreciate the depth of hatred for Franco on the left (not that the current batch of spawn have ever heard of the guy – older folks hate him). The left had its chance in Spain, but was doomed at least to a large extent by their inability to unite, it seems to me. But Franco is the unpleasant but inevitable answer. You start in offing your opponents, mostly unarmed civilians, by the thousands? Two can play at that game, and the one with focus and a military will play it much more thoroughly and efficiently.

    Let us hope and pray it never comes to this, but: Put the two together: A man with a family is cultivating that attitude of protection, the one that made Europeans hard to beat in a war, even if it’s inchoate under what passes for normal circumstances. When they start bumping off little old ladies and nuns and kids in any numbers, that guy – me, for example – is not lying down. It doesn’t have to be massive numbers, either, just enough to make it very expensive. (Larry Correa, author, former gun shop owner and military contractor, points out that our kind of guys dominate the military below the leadership/political level, and police everywhere outside seriously blue cities. So who is going to be shooting whom?) It will be messy, and a Franco or two are bound to arise. And once the helicopters stop making deliveries to the ocean, the core of any revival will be built on just those families that embody an idea of freedom – freedom to have, hold and cherish a family and to sustain it with the work of your hands – who were the core of the resistance. After significant bloodshed, I don’t think we’ll be in a mood to tolerate much anti-family BS.

    It’s an attractive idea, at any rate. Let’s hope it never comes to that.

  6. P_Ang

    Wait, I thought “barbarian” meant someone who simply didn’t speak Greek. Because the non-Greek speakers all went around going “bar bar bar bar…Mohammed Jihad.” Or is it similar to the ol’ “White-devil Gaijin” which now-a-days is translated as “not-Japanese” because the terminology is currently not PC (at least not if the white devils find out?)

    1. WOPR

      Yes, what I heard was the Greeks heard other not speaking Greek and it was just “bar bar bar.” Thus non-Greeks became barbarians. But, it also was about the way they drank their wine. It was either with or without cutting it with water. I can’t remember which.

      Severain, did you see the article over at PJMedia about the number of History majors being in serious decline?

  7. Sir Barken Hyena

    Oswald Spengler, 1930’s:

    “The press to-day is an army with carefully organized arms and branches, with journalists as officers, and readers as soldiers. But here, as in every army, the soldier obeys blindly, and war-aims and operation-plans change without his knowledge. The reader neither knows, nor is allowed to know, the purposes for which he is used, nor even the role that he is to play. A more appalling caricature of freedom of thought cannot be imagined. Formerly a man did not dare to think freely. Now he dares, but cannot; his will to think is only a willingness to think to order, and this is what he feels as his liberty.”

    1. Severian Post author

      There it is. Spengler would know, wouldn’t he?

      I was one of those fools who was pie-eyed optimistic about the Internet. Once we the people see how stupid journalists are, I thought, and the contempt in which they hold us, and just how grossly they manipulate us, we’ll actually have an informed citizenry. Instead, the delusion infrastructure just keeps getting better and better. No one who’s halfway paying attention trusts a single thing on the news anymore, but the yak shows? That’s gold, and Facebook is the gospel itself. A story that even the most credulous would laugh at were it printed in the Washington Post gets treated as 100% truth if it’s on Twitter.

      Yeah, we’re screwed.

  8. watson79

    A guy I know got married and had seven kids. The two oldest boys are red/black pilled, as is the oldest girl. His alternative right vibe connects with his male in-laws. all the women in the family are horrified. The guy sees enough anger that some ground fire could happen.

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