Practically unfree

We often speak as if freedom means absolute rights to be unimpeded in certain activities. It then appears a problem that one can always imagine some extreme circumstance under which speech, assembly, religious practice, etc. would be curtailed. From whence then came the impression that “it’s a free country”? From the fact that, practically speaking, people have been able to do most of the things they were inclined to do and that their culture had informed them to expect to be the sort of things a person ought to be able to do. The sense of freedom is a congruence between society’s constraints and its members’ desires and expectations. Zippy used to make this point, and I took it as a criticism of the theory of liberalism. It is that, but that doesn’t mean that this congruence is objectively unimportant; it matters more to peoples’ happiness than theoretical absolute rights. When we grew up, it was a “free country” because people could publicly espouse any widely held opinion without reprisal, could associate in any of the ordinary and expected ways without impediment, could arm themselves in ways most people thought reasonable, etc. One could claim that this counts for nothing in principle when the very unpopular was not equally protected, but it counted for a great deal in practice.

Today, our freedom practically counts for nothing. If I’m not allowed to have a friend over for dinner, and won’t be able to for the foreseeable future, and when I am allowed to again I will not be able to expect it to last for long, the state’s theoretical preference for freedom of association doesn’t count for anything. Likewise my freedom of religion doesn’t amount to anything. Even a communist government wouldn’t object to me praying at home. The point is not that my rights to assemble and practice religion should trump all other considerations–of course they shouldn’t!–but that the practicalities have switched. Once, the restrictions in extremities would have been theoretical; now the allowances themselves are. And we have been promised that it will only get worse and worse, that it is selfish even to complain.

There is no meaningful freedom of speech when expressing an opinion shared by half the country, an opinion that ten years ago was hardly uncontroversial, is a firing offense in most professions. The fact that punishment for dissent is carried out by the corporate rather than the governmental enforcement arm may matter theoretically to some people, but it has limited practical importance. To me, it just means that we are not protected by rights afforded by the legal system. I would much rather we were persecuted by the government, and then entitled to a trial on specific charges, protected from double jeopardy and self-incrimination, and so forth. This also will only get worse.

Conservatism is dead. But liberalism is even deader.

12 Responses

  1. @the defender
    nice try fed

  2. Since subjective freedom is preferable to subjective restraint, every man labors to make the rules conform to his desires or, failing in this, to make his desires conform to the rules. The second maneuver is evident in Nietzsche’s slave morality, where puny men who cannot have the rewards of power congratulate themselves for scorning those rewards. It’s really the fable of the Fox and Sour Grapes.

    My indignation at being stripped of accustomed liberties is probably just a curmudgeonly inability to adapt my desires to the new rules. I think Rousseau may have called this “willing the necessary.”

  3. Do you believe we should fight back? If so, in what ways? If not, why not?

  4. @ tenari:

    Here is the correct answer to my question:

    To defend ourselves, three things are needed:

    First, the current narrative that whites and Christians are evil “racists,” which is explicitly endorsed by almost everyone and explicitly opposed by almost nobody, must be defeated. This narrative is why they war on us, because logic requires that those who are evil must be punished.

    Second, we must have political power, where “political” is understood in its widest sense. We must replace executives, legislators and judges (governmental and private) who oppose our people, and replace them with personnel who support our people.

    Replace *as many as possible*, that is.

    Third, we must all act in our personal lives to strengthen our people and protect them from the attacks of our enemies.

    How exactly to do all these? Can’t say for sure until it’s all over, it will have to be worked out. But that’s what we gotta do.

    I asked the question because there is too much talk on our side, and not enough action.

    I’m not a Fed.

  5. We are powerless. There is no way to resist. The important thing to do now is to figure out what is the most likely way that they’ll be coming for you personally. Then prepare yourself spiritually/psychologically–also financially, if you can anticipate any way of doing that.

  6. Bonald, you can always resist. You may not succeed, you may only annoy the enemy, but you can always resist. Our people are worth fighting for.

  7. tenari accused me of being a Fed because (I guess) he thinks I’m trying to tempt Bonald to take a foolish risk.

    Consider what this means. In my first comment, I (implicitly) urged whites and Christians to find ways to fight back against our enemies. We might be defeated, but at least we can hold our heads high.

    I did not advocate any particular type of resistance. I just made the elementary point that we can defend ourselves. We have no guarantee of success, but we have to try.

    And for saying this, tenari thinks I’m up to no good.

    Maybe he just made an honest mistake. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he did. But nobody should repeat the mistake of badmouthing people who want to fight to defend our people.

  8. The reason why the right is doomed is because any suggestion that we must take strong-spined action against the enemy is shouted down as a fedpost.

    If you have already mentally accepted that your Establishment is evil, why stop short of doing something about it?

    I am not counseling anyone to take any actions that violate the natural, moral or Divine laws, nor to act against the virtues. But Catholic doctrine has provisions for a just war (the yammerings of Heresiarch Bergoglio notwithstanding) and if our avenues of petition or redress are exhausted, that may be the red button we have to press.

    Fortunately, our avenues haven’t been exhausted–yet. SCOTUS ruled against CAGov’s restrictions on freedom of worship and our local Catholic (SSPX) prior won a lawsuit against Governor Newsom, the state AG and the state health officer.

  9. “why stop short of doing something about it?”

    Because we are a tiny, insignificant, universally despised minority with no financial resources or institutional support. Frankly, they can do whatever they want to us, and there’s nothing we could do to stop it or even to significantly inconvenience them.

    If we want to discuss practicalities, then we must start from our actual situation.

  10. @Bonald – “We are powerless. ”

    Copy that – to the point that there is no “we”.

    Any ‘action’ against the Establishment will be taken alone, with no strangers covering your back or helping in any substantive fashion – and that action is nobody’s business but that specific person who will be acting – alone.

    Anybody else – who neither knows, nor cares about, that specific person, has no business urging anyone to ‘act’/ resist/ do-something in the present situation.

    And those who do act alone, in whatever way, would be foolish to publish that fact – because they have much to lose and nothing to gain by publicising their resistance.

    The fact that ‘people’ who are sheltering behind pseudonyms are urging ‘action’ (of an undefined kind) Now! makes no difference – except to emphasise powerlessness.

    People on God’s side with power are ‘doing something’ already without asking for anybody’s approval – and they are not the anonymous provoking agents.

  11. “We are powerless.”

    Depends on who “we” are. When I say we are under attack, I mean all whites, all Christians, and all masculine men are under attack. That’s a large part of the Western nations, and the most potentially potent part.

    And since all of us are being targeted by the Enemy, eventually all of us will realize it. We’re losing because most of our team is not fighting. Bonald, The Defender and Dr. Charlton may all be destroyed by the orcs of the left, but our people are numerous and have great potential strength. If they wake up, we can win.

    In my comments here I simply gave a framework for understanding the work that must be done. It’s not time for a detailed plan, and even if it were, we don’t want to tip our hand. Most of us cannot do very much, because the Eye of Sauron prowls about, seeking for someone to dox. We have to fight smart or we will be crushed.

    But gloom-and-doom does not help our people. I prefer to give us something to which we can aspire.

    Remember, most of our team is not fighting. Yet.

  12. There was a poli-sci study a few years ago that included that the middle-class has little or no impact on politics, while nearly all policies are determined by billionaires. Any discussion about “doing anything” needs to keep this in mind. The conservative moment since the 70s was basically the political arm of a minority faction within the billionaire elite (the “Overworld” to use Peter Dale Scott’s term) that favored the interests of major oil companies, Israel, and military buildup. These “Right-Overworld” elite was opposed to the “Left-Overworld” in a limited sense. Both factions of the Overworld were represented on Wal Street and favored neoliberal globalization, hence why that process continued under both Reagan and Clinton.

    The interests of middle-class Christians and social conservatives were incidental to the Right-Overworld coalition (think of it like US support to the mujahadeen in the 80s, no one in the State Dept or the CIA was actually an Islamist, they simply used Islamists as a tool). The ultimate purpose of groups like Moral Majority was not to end abortion or preserve Christianity as the nation’s public faith but rather to mobilize votes and money for military expansion and libertarian economic policies. This had an corrupting effect on the so-called conservative movement’s own conception of itself. For instance, in the Catholic world, traditional Catholic Social Teaching–best exemplified in this country by Fr. Coughlin– was directly subverted on the right by groups like the Acton Institute, just as the Church’s moral doctrine was subverted from the left. The old Right-Overworld donor networks are a shadow of what they used to be but they still exist somewhat. Example: popular trad-Catholic podcaster and Trump campaign asset Taylor Marshall has argued against distributism and for Cato/Acton Institute economics. In contrast, random trad podcasts with no elite patronage support CST. Notably, the goals of the elite Right-Overworld were achieved (Iraq War, de-industrialization, etc.), while the goals of their middle class patrons (ending abortion, preserving marriage) were not. Indeed, many were “memed” into supporting economic policies directly opposed to their material interests, and saw their standard of living collapse.

    I think the gap between the Right-Overworld (oil majors, Military Industrial Complex, right-Zionist Jews) and the Left-Overworld (the rest of the oligarchs, but most notably big tech) has closed to the point that there really isn’t much use for 2 party politics anymore. For instance, it looks like we will start to transition away from oil, but not natural gas, and there really isn’t much the oil majors can do about it, but the billionaires who back these firms will be able to move into other ventures. If the UN-climate change types and the oil majors were actually locked in a life and death struggle the GOP would not be the farce that it is. Exxon would be plotting to install Ted Cruz as caudillo by coup or something if there were real stakes involved.

    With a united Overworld, a populist movement cannot hope for elite patronage as was possible in the Reagan and Bush days. (This is not to ignore that fact that the elite patronage that the right received back then was entirely useless in furthering the ideological goals of middle/working class Christians, and actively harmful to the material wellbeing of middle Americans as well). Likewise, its looks like the elite will try to move to a situation where there is a permanent Democratic majority so elections really don’t matter (as is the case in Japan, where the LDP almost always wins and usually has a 2/3rds majority in the diet). One Overworld = one party, minor parties permitted for larping purposes.

    With a united Overworld and a de-democratized political system where only billionaires can effect policy on the national level, any populist movement needs to start in one of two places: (1) building up power at the local level and (2) attempting to force structural reforms that will allow the middle/working classes to have meaningful bargaining power without relying on elite patronage. (1) is a matter of individual groups (religious, ethnic, regional, ideological) organizing, (2) is a matter of all groups opposed to the interests of the present Overworld collaborating, however diverse they may be.

    Three week old comment thread so this might get buried. If the topic ever comes up again on this blog I will probably copy and paste.

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