A disunited people till the end of time, suspicious and distrustful of each other, [the Americans] will be divided and subdivided into little commonwealths… with no center of union and no common interest. -Josiah Tucker
Both statists and true political liberals alike chase a rather nebulous and incorrect concept of freedom. The latter seek freedom from consequences, whether economic, criminal or social, while the former allege to seek freedom of consequences, namely the ability to exert as much control over their individual lives as humanly possible. Read those last sentences again, because a fair number of you will skim and then waste your time in the comments section misconstruing what I stated. We hold the banner of freedom aloft as if it is a self-evident concept, an atomistic idea that presents a complete philosophical premise absent of any and all context. The word is mindlessly thrown around with the vigor of the asinine ‘USA, USA!’ chants started at modern day Coliseums by those there for the bread and circuses. Few care to consider the requirements for such freedom to exist and manifest itself into a stable society, and why so few examples exist of free societies. A telling example is Nassau and other pirate havens that existed ex lex during the heydey of the British Empire. While democratic in nature, these spontaneously created micronations, for lack of a better term, almost immediately developed a code of conduct, social norms, contract law and primitive corporate entities with the crew acting in a shareholder capacity. What resulted was a simpler, yet still British, social construct; in one of the few places that even Locke would have considered a geographical tabula rasa. Why would men at the bleeding edge of society, outcasts and criminals, seek to recreate the very thing that actively sought to kill or imprison them? Because whether they acknowledged it or not, culture breeds a code of conduct and whether by a ruler or choice, a functioning society always has limits to behavior.
We approach the concept of freedom in the US as a sixteen year old would a new car, disregarding the inherent cost in favor of blinding naïveté. The dynamic of the various comment sections largely frequented by the hard right ‘freedomista’ crowd comes to mind. Nearly all profess to believe in freedom of speech, yet few understand it and even fewer can actually exert agency absent groupthink or be productive in such an environment. Social, economic and political matters, far more nuanced and complex than a simple comment section, would be even more of a disaster and the concomitant rebuke by the general public would be resounding and final. Simply, even if it were possible through some miracle to instantly grant every person within the US the maximum amount of freedom in every area of their life, they would reject it. The responsibility required to maintain such a condition is simply beyond the current culture’s ability to maintain a functioning society. The result would quickly convince a majority of the public to demand a return to the ‘old days’ and a less free condition. In a sense, the true liberals end state is every bit as unobtainable as the statist’s. To put a finer point on it, at current course and trajectory, the patriot movement is simply unwilling to present an alternative and gaslight feasible courses of action because of simple selfishness. We are no different than the larger culture we are a part of, and it is because we choose to be so.
The ugly truth that is apparent, particularly within the patriot movement, is the fantasy that voluntary subrogation of freedom is not an essential element in a functioning society and all meaningful human relationships. We run around spouting kitschy slogans and pretend every person on the planet is an atomistic individual, and further more that they desire such an existence. A family of rugged individuals is not a family. My wife at a physical level is an individual with free will and the ability to do as she pleases. However, the substrate of our relationship is one of voluntary submission to achieve a goal, namely that of a healthy, Christian marriage with a single head of the family. Many since the poison of third-wave feminism infected the culture have tried the anarcho-capitalist approach to marriage, with each member of the family acting as their own little fiefdom and the main impetus for decisions being selfishness. The fruits of such a relationship can be pointed to in the children it has produced, the proliferation of anxiety, anti-depressant and other mood-altering medications and the psychological dynamic of children and adults being forced into emotionally damaging roles in the relationship. A generation incapable of visualizing normal relationships, lost and searching to plug the hole created in them by abandonment and surrender of traditional male role models and maternal archetypes. Most of us agree that those in a family do things they otherwise would not for the benefit of the larger entity. We go to work to feed our children, despite that in a capitalist approach they are net consumers and do not provide any valuable goods and services to the ‘corporation.’ I doubt very much that most men would pick Disney World as a vacation spot or choose to play princess absent the desire of their children. How many of you would part with your money for candles or throw pillows without a wife? To a great extent we all have the freedom to spend our money on ourselves and ignore everything but the most basic needs of our children. However, freedom is not a substitute for morality, nor is it an inherently moral condition. Every night millions of parents restrict their children’s movement to prevent them from being kidnapped or getting run over by cars while wondering about the neighborhood in the middle of the night. What few fail to address beyond the shallow ‘freedom to shoot whatever guns I want,’ is the question of whether it is prudent and moral to exercise that freedom at a given point.
The prerequisite for this freedom we all profess to want is a sense of responsibility to our family, community and culture. Self-control is required in the absence of external control. The Gordon Gecko version of freedom, with naked capitalism your only moral compass cannot be sustainable. ‘I am at war with all’ mentality prevents cooperation in even the most basic sense, and fails to harness the most powerful economic engine in the world, division of labor. Again, much of it is reduced to the distinction between permissible and moral. Most likely it is why there was such an emphasis in the 1770’s about a constitutional republic being possible only with a moral people. Perhaps one of the greatest economic and social benefits of Christendom is the distinct coloring faith gave to society. The Bible promotes a long-term, selfless view of the world and heavily emphasizes an individual’s fealty to not just his family but also the larger corporate body of his community. Humans are distinctly short-term in their goals and foresight, but the amelioration of much of this selfishness greatly contributed to the progress and advancement seen post-Reformation. Whether reactionary or not, the patriot movement has never emphasized building a common culture and cooperation as much as it has dissent and individualism…much to our detriment I may add. Many seem to take a perverse pride in being antagonistic as if it is ‘edgy’ and cool. Culture and codes of social conduct will always arise, whether codified by a ruler or not, and to ignore them is to be in a state of arrested development forever. The failure to grasp there is an expectation of self-rule and fealty to the larger community within the context of freedom is precisely why we have not progressed. We are selling freedom as license and not as a true alternative to the statist worldview.
The implication here is not that freedom is bad or that I am somehow a closet statist, though I doubt this will prevent those with reading comprehension difficulties from their ranting. Rather, it is an implication of our behavior. Like the statists, we would prefer to have our cake and eat it too. To go back to the first example, we laud the ability to say whatever we will, yet choose to spew caustic and ignorant things. We name call and write things better left to gas station bathroom stalls, while making petty attempts to drag down those few actually contributing substantive thought for no more discernible a reason than simple sport. Am I supposed to want this writ large? Why would anyone want that level of internecine cannibalism and pettiness in matters of life and death? If such an attitude cannot work with two, three or five people who live together, then pray tell, what does that look like in a community? The general trend I have seen in popular culture and within the patriot movement is the use of freedom as a conduit for excess. Perhaps the most striking example is freedom of expression to most in America now is no more than the freedom to shock, degrade and peddle obscenity in an attempt to conflate excess with art.
The far more uncomfortable and introspective question we should be asking ourselves is not whether we have the freedom to do one thing or another, but whether we should do that. Rather than wave the 1st Amendment around as a permission slip to be a liability and egomaniac, consider whether that is an appropriate course of action. The inability of us to work together in any meaningful way and an extremely large minority to even be civil with one another leaves us the option to rage impotently as our enemies dictate nearly every course of action while we preen and posture. Strangely enough if we put half the effort in positive cooperation or even a fraction of that venom a) directed at people who weren’t on our side and b) contributing rather than simply critiquing, we may have accomplished slightly more in the last decade than a group of college kids managed to in the six months since Trump became elected. The results speak for themselves. I write this, not out of an offended SJW point of view, but as a cold assessment. Keep wasting people’s time and bickering over asinine details and you will continue to bleed talent. The contributors know exactly what I’m talking about and I can guarantee have had moments they want to throw the computer at the wall and just walk away. I have no desire to limit anyone’s freedom because of philosophical and religious beliefs, but the vast, vast majority of people do not hold those views. If we cannot be accountable with what freedom we do have, then there will always be a market, and a desire, by others to have it controlled for us. Fling enough poop against the wall and the normal people leave, and at some point the neighbors will start complaining and not asking ‘How can I implement that in my own life, you’re such an inspiration!’ How are you using the freedom you have and does it encourage other’s to support the idea that people don’t need an overreaching government? The public will not be convinced by esoteric moral philosophizing about the rights of man, but by our actions. Go prove my pessimism wrong.