I’m going to make the case here that “freedom” is bullshit. Specifically, the elevation of “freedom” as an ideal, as some end in itself, is ugly and insane and ultimately suicidal. In contrast with freedom, I will make the case that Discipline is the superior ideal. If a people shall have any chance of extricating itself out of a troubled state, it’s chances for salvation rest entirely in the promotion and acceptance of Discipline and rejection of so-called Freedom. History shows that this has always been the case and I defy anybody to show me why we should expect something different in the present or future.
In starting, I would like to point out that I am much indebted to Alfred Korzybski for showing me how to think very carefully about, and understand, the real meaning of my own words and the real meaning of words in general. Some time ago, a close friend suggested to me that I should read Korzybski, and I must say, it has been a superbly beneficial use of my time. It even played an important role in making possible my full re-embrace of Christianity. I highly recommend my readers read Korzybski. (I’ve pondered making a suggested reading list: Kaczynski, Korzybski, Evola, etc.)
Basically, nobody I have ever considered respectable has demonstrated a belief in freedom as an ideal. Nobody. To be sure, the people that have populated my social circle and who have won my admiration to one degree or another have always had lots of warm words for freedom, but it is just words. Grossly misapplied words. A huge lack of semantic awareness. Every one of these people has actually demonstrated a life-long contempt for freedom. Moreover, I have found consistently that my estimation of their accomplishments and human worth has been tied closely to their practical contempt for freedom.
I will step back a moment and inform the reader that for most of my adult life — particularly before my encounter with careful semantic analysis — I identified myself as a promoter of “freedom”, a “libertarian”, an “anarchist”, and so on. The same goes for most of the people in my social circle: “freedom”-loving American Conservatives, libertarians (big and small L), anarcho-capitalists, Classical Liberals, etc. Not a few of these people, particularly anarcho-capitalists and other self-styled “true libertarians”, insist on freedom-principles such as the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP) to such an extent that they claim that it even precludes them from “coercive” methods of parenting, including, but not limited to, spanking one’s own children.
My suspicion is that most of these NAP-absolutists are bluffing. They are suffering from cognitive dissonance, thinking on the one hand that they have found some precious system of dealing with reality that allows them to apply a wonderfully streamlined principle to everything in life (especially to pompous “philosophical” debates), yet on the other hand, most of these people, in actual fact, eschew most of the actions and lifestyles that fall safely outside of the condemnation of the NAP and would in fact do whatever necessary prevent their loved ones from engaging in many of the obviously destructive “freedoms” that exist in the world.
Take Stefan Molyneux (of, say, 2012 vintage) for example — I pick on him specifically because he gained incredible popularity as a principled promoter of the NAP and anarcho-capitalism. Do you suppose he would let his child(ren) go to bed only when they pleased? Would he let them subsist on nothing but candy and ice cream? Because, let me tell you, I know quite a few children whose “not-hurting-anybody-else” desire is to just eat nothing but treats and to put off going to bed until they drop from exhaustion. A number of them would also prefer to not learn at least some of their school subjects. Still a greater number of them don’t take warmly to exercises in deferred gratification. Most of us, therefore, need to thank the coercive, NAP-violating parents throughout the centuries who have cultivated a crop of human beings from which there is a chance that know-it-all libertarians might emerge.
Taking the example further, how many of these Molyneux-esque anarcho-capitalists would just shrug their shoulders if their 15 year-old daughter wanted to engage in recreational drugs and sex with some old man down the block?
Stefan to wife: “I don’t know what more to do, dear. I tried to reason with her, but she does have a right to do whatever doesn’t hurt other people.”
Mrs Molyneux: “But Stefan, she’s just a young girl!”
Stefan: “Well, actually, I am a Natural Rights expert, and as such I know that essentially every legal code across time and culture has defined technical adulthood as the maturity at which one can procreate and conceivably provide for one’s own needs. Far be it from me from interfering with our daughter’s rights. Why, dearest, it would be a violation of the NAP to coerce her to do otherwise, and if we dared to do so, she might de-FOO us! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have another Freedomainradio Video to make. It’s about de-FOOing.”
Now, I am of course, engaging is some fun here. Stefan Molyneux, I am fully confident, would not sacrifice his own flesh and blood to some theoretical Moloch named the NAP. But that’s the rub: He made a name for himself being the biggest, most purest libertarian on the internet and while he may not sacrifice his own flesh and blood to this Moloch, he has had no problem sacrificing all manner of irreplaceable living things to that Moloch. Stefan — and all you Stefan-ites out there — you know damn well that libertarianism is an idea that can only come from minds that have had the good benefits of discipline, order, social cohesion, and temperance. People who have been cultured — thanks to parents and an orderly world around them — to such a nice degree that they take for granted that their inclination to self-governance is the overall baseline in the world. Well, it isn’t. Libertarians are bending over backwards to make every show of acceptance for libertine behaviors and lifestyles that, ironically, will most assuredly result in a crop of people who have a severely reduced capacity for self-governance and, thus, no interest in the niceties of the NAP. If you just indulge libertines as a matter of ideological “purity”, you will simply invite a situation where you will be mobbed by people demanding “gibs”.
Hans Hermann Hoppe — who, due to his “fascist” realism is probably the most admirable libertarian thinker ever — has been saying this for years, and what it got him was the hissing and gnashing of teeth of a significant portion of libertarian “purists”.
One significant evidence that even Molyneux has begun to realize this is his recent warming up to certain aspects of Traditionalism. In an recent interview with Tom Woods, he tacitly admits that the greater part of his rise to fame as a thinker was based in faulty thinking. I applaud Molyneux for this improvement, and sincerely wish him well, but I hope other libertarians can manage to do the same. There is a clearly a widespread confusion going on — a disparity between stated ideals and demonstrated ideals — with legions of people who are “libertarians” yet at the same time not at all engaged in the whole complement of doesn’t-hurt-anybody-else freedumbs. If you would like to see the world made more in your image, you’re going to have to promote the disciplines you are actually living out and not the degenerate indulgences that you “support” strictly by credo.
As I said before, nobody I have ever considered respectable has demonstrated a belief in freedom as an ideal. Nobody. In fact, the more people have demonstrated a belief in freedom as an ideal, the more I have found them repulsive, despicable, and tragic. Conversely, the more a person has despised freedom for themselves and in its place insisted on Discipline, the more they have excelled in life. And we can take it further: the more a person has inculcated in those around him a preference for discipline over freedom, the greater a man he his — because he has thus uplifted others from the lowly septic field of freedom.
What then is all this warm lip-service to freedom? For myself (in former times) and for those similar to me in my values, the public insistence on freedom is purely defensive. We see we are in a decaying and frightfully psychotic society. We worry that this infection may perchance splash on us here and there — that it may undermine the regimen of mental hygiene and discipline that we demand of ourselves and our loved-ones — and bring our most cherished and noble aspirations into a grim fight against utter doom. We perceive that we are outnumbered and out-gunned, so we come up with a sophistry. We say to the degenerate hordes, “Pretty please, kind sirs, may it please you to make a deal with us: we will honor your ‘right’ to do whatsoever ‘harmless’ thing you please, and in return, you’ll let us do the same. Please…?” In other words, freedom as a means to an end, an end we were too timid to speak out plainly.
This is the craven essence of libertarianism, at least when it comes from the overwhelming majority who are not nihilists truly subscribing to the NAP. Libertarianism is nothing but a cowardly front. It is the dying man’s bargain. Wake up, dying man. See that you only think you are dying. It seems that way because brutal forces have assembled themselves around you — they have done so because you were slack in maintaining the standard of discipline in the world around you (all the while you mostly bowed to discipline in your own inner life). You know that everything admirable, everything beautiful and noble, everything sustainable and worth sustaining is the fruit of discipline and not freedom. Instead of paying lip-service to freedom, why not talk endlessly about discipline?! Tell them, “Too hell with freedom! I am for discipline, faggot! I am for discipline, just as all my forefathers and all my examples and heroes were. You take your so-called freedom and shove it, then come back and embrace discipline with me!”
What is then the discipline we should pursue? With whom? How far? Well, we already know that so many libertarians are not sincere in their promotion of freedom. We know that, whatever they might preach about the NAP in the street, at home they insist on discipline, both for themselves and for their households. Interestingly, many times when hearing libertarian talk about the “individual” being the most basic element of society and social inquiry, I’d intuitively known that something about this notion doesn’t wash. Can the individual really lay claim to this distinction? No. An individual is here today and gone tomorrow. An individual cannot even create another individual to take his place once mortality takes him away. Moreover, there has never existed a single individual who was not very much dependent on the care of other individuals, particularly during the vulnerable time of infancy. Further, a great bulk of any given individual’s actions throughout life are clearly devoted to bonding with other individuals, most significantly for the purpose of genuine love and the establishment of a family. All this talk of “individuals” as the basic element of society and as the basis upon which methods of organizing society might be best established is simply garbage. It is almost as ridiculous as insisting that an understanding of the needs of the body may be extrapolated from nothing more than certain aspects of the arms and legs. It is therefore incomparably more sensible to talk about the family as the basic element of society.
Family life is the great end to which not only humans, but virtually all warm-blooded animals, are aimed. Libertarian theorists like to imagine themselves deducing arguments from nature; but is this not a proof which should rather embarrass them? Don’t believe me? Go and find your self some self-sufficient, self-contented individuals anywhere among the higher forms of life. You won’t. Nature abhors both vacuums and individuals.
So, a family has all this great stuff going on, (particularly if they don’t have the NAP dictating conditions in the home). They are achieving things that are uniquely possible when people don’t consider freedom some kind of absolute principle; they are cultivating the fruits of sacrifice and discipline and they will reap rich rewards. The more skillful they are at this type of anti-freedom, the more accomplished and exalted they will become. So then, can the Family afford, long-term, to pursue only its own accomplishment and just let the rest of the neighborhood ride the free-dumb train into oblivion? I mean, it’s great that Bob and Jane have produced some high-quality children, but then what?
Just as it wasn’t good for Bob and Jane to be alone, neither is it good for Bob and Jane’s children to be alone. So we see that, as much as the family is incomparably superior to the individual in terms of being something like the basic unit of society, it is also not the end. The secure existence of Family as the natural, basic unit of society is dependent upon there being a sufficient amount of viable families to make propagation feasible. An interest in the well being of one’s own family is necessarily an interest in the well being of other families. To just shrug at the rest of the neighborhood when it’s engulfed in the flames of self-indulgence is to eventually shrug at strangers burning down the edifices, physical and super-physical, that your own hands have built. This is what libertarians do when they say they cannot in good conscience support measures that impose discipline on others — as if these people are ashamed of the disciplines that they know damn well are the keys to good life!
Until late modernity it was as plain as day that the Nation was the structure in which healthy families live and move and have their being. It is within the category of nationhood that families can merge with other families and produce another generation of families that will carry on the beauty of their forebears. It is within nationhood that there is a common discipline arising from the particular expression of a religious tradition, the common discipline arising from the same language and arts, the same historical experience, the same legends, the same ideals, the same approaches to raising children, the same celebration of sacrifice for some greater thing, the same folkways and manners, the same climate and biological predispositions, the same standards of behavior. That is what a nation is and does since time immemorial.
Thus, any person — libertarians included — who simply takes his individual achievement in life seriously enough, and looks at it with a wide enough lens, must come to see that his achievements are of very little value if they are not connected to family. And the family also amounts to little if it is not in the midst of a viable nation, for the nation possesses the the whole deposit of a particular people’s discipline as judged best by time as well as being the conglomeration of those families that are, in their common discipline, mutually intelligible to one another. As I’ve said before, “There are two, and only two, opportunities for a person partake in something that is theirs yet at the same time is greater than they are. These are lifelong religious devotion and possessing an ethnic-national identity. Not everybody is suited to the former, but the latter provides belonging to a history, to a language, to a set of traditions, to a distinct people, to a peculiar biological way of being, to a sense of self.”
Because the other side to this coin, libertarian-mined achievers, is brutal. Absolutely brutal. Take this to heart: there has never been a case in history where the widespread rush from judgment, where the widespread promotion of freedom, where the widespread preference of disciplined people to keep their discipline politely to themselves, has ever come to a good end. The world belongs to discipline, not freedom. The best discipline on the largest scale will always crush freedom. When you see a society that believes in freedom, you are looking at people who are about to be trod underfoot like the worms that they have let themselves become. This is generally done by a neighbor who believes in discipline and sacrifice. It’s simply the law of nature. (Perhaps we can lengthen our list of things nature abhors: vacuums, individuals, and societies that believe in freedom instead of discipline!) In a very small amount of cases, a society lucks out and one of its own sons puts the yoke back on the people instead of a foreigner doing it. Woe unto the people that are disciplined by strangers!
But happy is the people that cherishes and defends its traditional disciplines.
*I don’t plan on writing any more about libertarians, so seeing I’ve already got them angry, I’ll add the following:
Libertarians, especially libertarians who privately believe in traditional values, have you noticed how often it is that private businesses, instead of catering to you let-the-free-market-sort-it-out types, take pleasure in censoring you and persecuting you? And they do it with an efficiency that is unmatched by government.