If we are ever to truly thrive we need to be free. Yet few seem to be sufficiently aware of the political ideas that must prevail if we are to fully achieve freedom and maintain it.
It must be appreciated that the limited freedom we still currently enjoy is being steadily eroded. This means that the ability to achieve wealth and happiness for both you and your children is diminishing because both of these require freedom.
If you value your ability to flourish you need to know this and be prepared to act to reverse this trend. To start with you need to fully understand the concept of freedom and what its achievement rests upon.
To achieve this understanding we must necessarily look outside of the mainstream cultural download that I refer to as the Matrix. This whole current framework of assumptions must be questioned because so many of them are wrong.
What is Freedom?
Freedom is the ability to act on your own judgement. This means freedom from the interference of other men, whether in the form of criminals, tyrants, dictators or governments. Freedom is a necessary condition for proper human functioning as we shall see. You may be able to keep a man alive in a cage or as a slave, but this is not his proper human existence and it is not in anyone’s rational self-interest to keep him in such a condition.
Freedom to versus freedom from
There is sometimes confusion about the meaning of freedom due to the distinction of freedom from versus freedom to. However, the requirement to be free from coercion and the interference of other men is the fundamental requirement. Freedom to choose any specific action may be restricted by various other factors even while you are not being prevented from such action. For example, how many holidays you are free to enjoy, or the size and location of your home, will both depend on your degree of wealth.
We have to be careful when we hear the argument that some are freer than others in this respect. As long as we are all free to act on our own judgment the playing field is level. Your freedom does not depend on your wealth, or specific abilities for example, yet the experiences available to you necessarily do.
Not everyone wants freedom
Freedom to act on your own judgment necessarily implies a need to assume the responsibility of choosing what actions to take. In order to know what actions to take you need to think and exercise your judgment, you need to choose your own values and set your own goals. Not everyone is both willing to and capable of doing this, so not everyone wants freedom.
People who live off the efforts of others will not be fighting for the cause of freedom. Moochers and parasites will not want too much freedom either. Politicians who have their heads in the trough of public money will certainly not want too much freedom. Anyone who’s existence is subsidised by the harnessed effort of others will want less freedom not more, just as a parasite is not interested in being free from its host.
Degrees of freedom
The condition of freedom can be thought of as existing on a spectrum of no freedom at all to total freedom. As we raise children we tend to increase the amount of freedom we give them according to context and circumstances. Similarly, an employee learning a skilled technical job would not be let loose on the equipment before suitable training.
The varying degree of freedom can be seen in the political context if we contrast life in the United States of America around the early 1800s to life in Soviet Russia. In the first case there was considerable freedom, and in the latter virtually none.
If we are interested in flourishing and making life as good as it can be for human beings on this planet freedom should ideally be unlimited. Some may disagree with this assertion and will call for limits to freedom.
Limits to freedom
In a free society, rational men and women would be ‘limited’ (if you can call it such) only by the non-aggression principle (NAP). This holds as paramount the necessity to not violate the rights of other people. Meaning, you should not injure their person, damage or take their property or otherwise harm their interests against their will.
When you understand that the condition we call freedom can only exist in the absence of violence and of aggression it is meaningless to speak of limiting it by refraining from practicing violence or aggression.
Freedom in action
Freedom exists when men refuse to initiate the use of force in their dealings with other men. It really is that simple.
Furthermore, it should be simple to grasp that the recognition of reality as an objective absolute is the base requirement for men to interact in this rational, peaceful way. Placing the facts of reality above whims and wishes men can examine the evidence and rationally persuade each other with reality as the ultimate arbiter of truth. This is the precondition for peace, freedom and abundance.
So you can see that all forms of subjectivism must be discounted if it is freedom you seek. Yet within the Matrix the predominance of mysticism still fools men into clinging on to ideas for which there is no rational argument or evidence. Such subjective ideas can only be forced on people because there exists no means of rational demonstration of their truth.
Governments and Freedom
The proper role of government is to protect individual rights and thus protect our freedom. But the sad reality is that your government is the main enemy of your rights and your freedom. It will violate your rights in the name of protecting your rights – an obvious absurdity. Wealth is expropriated from you to pay for the police to protect your property.
All kinds of infringement of personal freedom and violation of individual rights are practised in the name of protecting your freedom and your rights. The freedom of the individual is sacrificed to a so-called ‘greater good’ of the wider community. This is collectivism, the political theory resulting from the ethics of altruism. Under this kind of system advocated by many socialists today, you implicitly have no right to live for your own sake.
Of course it won’t be explained to you like this, but this is what it amounts to. You have a moral obligation, a duty to the tribe/the party/society/god/King. Your individual freedom is effectively sacrificed to the collective. Those with needs greater than yours have a first mortgage on your productive effort. You effectively have no right to keep all your stuff for yourself.
This is the most important and fundamental point that must be understood for the emergence of a free society to even be possible. Altruism is fundamentally opposed to freedom. Altruism is the ethics of collectivism. Rational egoism is the ethics of freedom. As long as rational self-interest is considered evil and the ethics of sacrifice good, freedom has little chance.
Facets of freedom
To live a human life we must be free to make and act upon our decisions. These decisions necessarily will affect other people and so they are in the realm of politics by definition. Political freedom is, therefore, the fundamental issue and the basic condition we require to thrive. Alone on a desert island safe from the interference of other men, you are completely free and completely responsible for your own continued existence.
Political freedom refers to the total freedom of action available to you within your specific country (or tax farm) granted by your particular rulers/government. Economic freedom, religious freedom, freedom of movement, freedom of association, freedom of religion and absolute property rights are all forms of political freedom. Mental freedom, freedom of thought and freedom of choice are personal freedoms.
Political freedom can be completely removed, but some personal freedoms cannot be taken away from you – baring physical disability. We take for granted such personal freedoms as what kind of toothpaste to use or what car to drive. But it must be understood that in order for there to be more than one kind of car, toothpaste or any other product to choose from, requires property rights and a degree of economic freedom in the form of at least a semi-free market. In the Soviet Union model of socialism, these options did not exist, and no such choice existed.
Freedom of speech is the ability to express our ideas in public without consequence. It is a good barometer of political freedom because tyranny cannot stand in the face of truth and reasoned argument. It must necessarily rely on propaganda and lies to maintain the myths that support its existence. The truth is that men must be free. If the ability to freely express ideas becomes restricted by creeping and sometimes subtle forms of censorship it is a giveaway sign that political freedom is being lost.
In a free society, economies would not be controlled. However, because governments today still control their economies, economic freedom is affected by political considerations and economic freedom is generally proportional to political freedom. For example, your economic freedom in 20th century Soviet Russia was practically non-existent, but in 19th century USA, it was comparatively unlimited. Pause for a moment to consider the relative achievements of these two diametrically opposed systems and the millions of people who died under the collectivist totalitarian model of the Soviet Union.
Economic freedom is the ability for men to trade without arbitrary restriction or regulation retaining full private ownership of their products and their profits. It rests on the freedom of men to own the results of their efforts or the products of their labour. Economic freedom is the essential pre-condition for the creation of wealth, or better and cheaper products and of technological progress.
Being mentally free
When you achieve psychological independence and live your own life according to your own chosen values you have achieved what could be described as mental freedom. It equates to a certain level of self-esteem that really opens the door to the experience of happiness.
This mental freedom means being able to reject what others want us to do in favour of our own preferences. This kind of freedom should be a universal personal growth priority because happiness depends on the setting and achieving of one’s own goals and aspirations as specifically opposed to conforming to the expectations of others. You can maximise your personal mental freedom by achieving intellectual sovereignty, and being a fully independent thinker.
Why do we need Freedom?
It is self-evident that you cannot experience a happy life if you are living entirely according to someone else’s prescription. Imagine if everything you ever did was dictated to you by someone else for the benefit of someone else. It is easy to see how undesirable this would be. But it is also possible to demonstrate the need for freedom in reason.
Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated purposeful action. You need to act to live, and you need to act successfully. Therefore you must be free to think, to choose your values and goals, and to act so as to achieve them. You must be free to test your ideas and free to make mistakes on the way to finding out what works and what does not. You must be free to produce and keep the results of your efforts. This is how to live a fully human life.
Keeping the products of your own effort is reality’s reward for the productive, for the thinker, for the rational individual. It gives her the incentive and motivation to discover new and better ways, products and technologies. On the other hand, the destruction of property rights that occurs when we forcefully redistribute wealth discourages human achievement.
Force destroys freedom
It is only other men who can take away your freedom, and force is the only means by which they can achieve it. The desert island cast-away is completely free because no one would be there to prevent him acting on his judgment. However, in the current social context, we have two potential enemies – criminals and governments.
Reality dictates that in order to live humans must think and act on the basis of their thinking. Force is the only way to make them act against it. This is why the initiation of the use of force is evil. It is literally anti-life.
Most people can easily grasp this imperative for peaceful persuasion on the interpersonal level without any problem. Most can easily see the need to not be aggressed against by another individual. Yet in politics, they will advocate a system based on force and coercion. This is why the conversation needs to be had and people encouraged to join the dots in their minds.
Throughout history, men’s freedom has been limited. They have been subject to varying degrees of tyranny. Whether subservient to a tribe, Pharaoh, God, Emperor, King, state, race or proletariat, the individual man has not been free to live for his own sake unencumbered by an implicit duty to serve some ‘other’.
To understand how freedom is achieved it is crucial to grasp that you must be free to live for your own sake without moral obligation to serve or look after anyone or anything outside of yourself. However, this does not imply treading all over people, nor does it destroy the concepts of kindness and consideration for others. Without acceptance of the idea that we must be free to act in our own rational self-interest, humanity cannot be fully free.
The Age of Enlightenment in the late 17th and early 18th Centuries was a period in history that gave birth to our current level of freedom. It was a period of Philosophical thought that began in Europe and centred on the idea that reason is man’s primary means of understanding reality and improving his condition. The ‘Age of Reason’ broke the monopoly of religion and mysticism in determining almost every aspect of human life. Here in England, the increase in political freedom ushered in the scientific revolution and the industrial revolution and there followed a period in history where millions were lifted out of poverty and huge amounts of wealth were created as economic freedom increased.
It was only with the birth of the United States of America in 1776 that the individual man enjoyed his first taste of almost full political and economic freedom. The country was founded on the idea of the state being subservient to men. This momentous occasion turned up-side-down a situation that had dominated history. Men were free to an unprecedented degree. Consequently, there was an explosion of trade, invention and wealth creation never before seen in history. The standard of living for all people across the planet was lifted enormously as a direct result.
Philosophical roots of Freedom
Philosophers such as John Locke inspired the founding fathers of America to question many of the previous assumptions historically informing social organisation. Their ideas of the enlightenment such as self-preservation and rational self-interest were incorporated into the Declaration of Independence of the United States. However, the ethics of altruism remained unchallenged.
It is because of this that the root cause of our steady loss of freedom has been in place since the late 18th Century. The philosophical premises on which freedom rests, such as the primacy of reason and individualism have been steadily and consistently undermined since then. The writings of Emmanuel Kant in the form of “A critique of pure reason” in 1781 began the process. Altruism dominates, and the political consequences are encroaching collectivism and the relentless erosion of political freedom. In spite of the overwhelming evidence that socialism and its inevitable end game of communism result in decline, stagnation, suffering and mass murder it is still insisted by some that ‘true socialism’ has not yet been tried.
It cannot be over stated that the ultimate root of freedom is that man must free to live for his own sake with no moral obligation to provide for the needs of others or to society in general. This is what it means to be able to act on one’s own rational judgment. Our judgment of how to act must not be encumbered with any obligation to act against our own rational self-interest.
The decline of freedom
In England, we have never been as free as people once were in the US. Although we enjoy a degree of freedom across the western world we are by no means completely free. and in fact, our freedom is in decline. Socialism, a form of collectivism, is on the rise along with the steady erosion of property rights, increasing censorship and state propaganda.
The vast majority of people are currently preoccupied with the mainstream narrative that focuses on trivia and irrelevance mixed in with a tiny amount of factual news spun so as to influence the unthinking. Meanwhile, changes occur out of sight that quietly and relentlessly move in the direction of more and more state control and less and less political freedom.
The huge increase in surveillance cameras and monitoring technology that tracks our internet behaviour and telecommunication is just the tip of the iceberg. False flag terrorism and the introduction of things like the Patriot Act and Homeland Security Act in the US and similar legislation in the UK such as; the Terrorism Act 2000, Anti-Terrorism act 2001, Prevention of Terrorism act 2005, Terrorism Act 2006 and the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008. All of these give more powers to the state and decrease the freedom of the people.
The cumulative tax burden here in the UK is far higher than most people appreciate. The average worker has been estimated to work 8-9 months of the year to pay tax. Each time we buy a product the accrued tax on the manufacture, transport and labour costs of each component adds up to far more than just the superficial 20% sales tax that we have to pay on top of it all. Taxation is a violation of property rights and therefore a significant blow to your freedom.
Inflation of the money supply through quantitative easing (money printing) increasingly rob us of the results of our labour by devaluing each unit of currency we earn. Each year that passes our currency is worthless and less.
Both these forms of expropriation of your wealth amount to you being robbed of your time as you work more and more to store the same amount of value. Which is effectively robbing you of the freedom to spend your time as you wish and denying you the ability to act on your judgment of how to spend the stored value that has been taken from you.
There are many more ways in which your freedom is decreasing. But for now, I think I have made the point.
Freedom is fundamentally important. We must understand it, talk about it and help others understand it, or else we will all lose it.
Exercise the freedoms you do still have. Choose to think and exercise your judgment on any idea you hear or any character you meet or behaviour you see. Consciously make lifestyle choices that support your wellbeing. Choose your food so as to consciously nourish yourself. Use your consumer choice in the market place and use your voice to speak out on all important issues affecting your life.
Vigilance is the price of freedom. Choose to care about the greater political context you live within. Choose to inform yourself, educate yourself about how to achieve and maintain health, about what is happening in the world and the importance of the non-aggression principle. Learn about the need to be free to own your own private property without it being confiscated and redistributed to people who allegedly need it more than you!
Being free means being yourself and not living your life according to the expectations of others. It means not conforming to the dictates of the group for its own sake. It means authoring your own life, thinking for yourself, choosing your own values. This is the only way to express your freedom in an otherwise un-free world.
Be creative, think outside the box. Demonstrate freedom in action through your own psychological independence and intellectual sovereignty.
Join the conversation. Knowledge is not an end in itself. Use it in the form of reasoned argument to spread pro-freedom ideas. Help to rationally persuade others of their need for freedom. This is the only way to change the world when we rightly reject the use of force and coercion.
Argue for and defend the freedom of others. This includes their right to express ideas you disagree with or know to be wrong. Let reason, evidence and persuasion be the tools that expose bad ideas.
Remember: “your freedom is my freedom is your freedom”