Why insisting on more freedom brings about more tyranny

July 30, 2014 § 53 Comments

Modernity’s idea of freedom is based on the concept of rights.

Rights have two modalities which cannot be separated from each other. Every right has a modality of empowerment and a modality of constraint. A right discriminates between the right holder and others, empowers the right holder, and constrains others.

A simple example is that a property right discriminates between owner and potential trespasser, empowers the owner, and constrains all of the potential trespassers. But this basic structure is common to all rights.

Individual rights are a one-to-many relation in terms of modality: for every single right-holder who is empowered by a given right there are many other people constrained by that right.

Liberalism functions by a kind of sleight of hand wherein, on our freedom ledger, we are supposed to count the individual empowerment from a given right; but we are not supposed to notice the constraints it implies. As we insist on more and more freedom what happens is a proliferation of empowering rights. And behind the curtain, for every single instance of empowerment we get many instances of constraint.

§ 53 Responses to Why insisting on more freedom brings about more tyranny

  • Zippy says:

    Notice too what happens when this is taken to the limit, as the demand for freedom for the superman increases without bounds. This creates all sorts of constraints which must be absorbed by society, and it is not OK to constrain the superman. So something must become the not-quite-human ‘heat sink’ in society to absorb all of the constraints that still bind the superman. Something is holding the superman back.

    That something is the Low Man.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    But Zippy, when the Low Man is short on freedom, all we need to do is give him more freedom too!

    Problem solved.

  • Mike T says:

    Suppose the government got rid of business licenses altogether. How would that freedom actually constrain existing business license holders? It would only “constrain them” if you expand that definition to include having to deal with more competition. Unless you expand the concept of a constraint to a meaningless level that is an assault on any reasonable definition of the word, there are in fact “freedom policies” that can expand autonomy without constraining someone.

    Now in general, I agree with you about the give and take, but it does exist on spectrum. The more possible choices public policy permits, the fewer constraints exist.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    If there were no opposing preferences being restricted by lack of business licenses there would be no business licenses. What you have failed to internalize is that politics is always and necessarily the art of resolving controverted cases.

  • Mike T says:

    I guess it really comes down more to the fact that I don’t see not giving them their way, especially when it entails restricting others’ behavior, as an intrinsic constraint on their freedom. Mainly because my definition of freedom is minimalistic as previously discussed.

    I can agree it is a restriction on their preferences, but I don’t see the restriction on their autonomy.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    You don’t see restriction because your whole concept of property, etc has the restrictions built in. It is just the question-begging air you breathe.

  • Mike T says:

    I was referring to things like business licenses, not property rights with that statement. I do in fact see a restriction with property rights. The reason I don’t agree that it is a restriction is that with property rights there is a natural tension intrinsic to owning. Two businesses can do the exact same thing in the same town and not trample one another. That one might prefer the other to be outlawed doesn’t mean its preference being cheerfully ignored by authorities is a restriction on their business activities. I guess you could say not being the town monopoly is a restriction, but then you might as well say that it is a restriction on women’s freedom to have to deal with unwanted attention from undesirable men.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    The government doesn’t allow me to go shut down and destroy the printing presses at SmuttyPornCo. That is in fact a restriction on my freedom of action. And the federal layer doesn’t permit the local layer to do it, which is more restriction still.

    You still haven’t fully grasped the situation. The constraint modality of the specific configuration of rights that you prefer is still hidden behind the curtain.

  • Mike T says:

    Ok, you have a point about me ignoring the constraints (I have a habit of just disregarding the point of view of people like Sandra Fluke outright). That said, the premise is still somewhat faulty as the state’s regulatory powers’ effect on freedom is somewhat complicated. As you said, tyranny is an abuse of power. So if the state decides to reduce regulation in an area and the end result is not unjust toward those impacted, it produced no tyranny. Our biggest problem in modern America is the proliferation of positive rights.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    The “effect on freedom” is doubtless complicated, but it always involves the constraint modality and the empowerment modality.

    That’s why at the end of the day people should just forget about liberalism. It is an empty question-begging lie. The real issue is what it is and is not good for authority to do, and liberalism’s (including libertarianism, which is just another form of liberal tyranny) domination of the Overton window makes it impossible to even talk about it.

  • sunshinemary says:

    Notice too what happens when this is taken to the limit, as the demand for freedom for the superman increases without bounds. This creates all sorts of constraints which must be absorbed by society, and it is not OK to constrain the superman. So something must become the not-quite-human ‘heat sink’ in society to absorb all of the constraints that still bind the superman. Something is holding the superman back.

    That something is the Low Man.

    Which is why, for example, the Army has the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute. From a training manual the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute created and uses to train troops:

    “Simply put, a healthy, white, heterosexual, Christian male receives many unearned advantages of social privilege, whereas a black, homosexual, atheist female in poor health receives many unearned disadvantages of social privilege.”

  • Mark Citadel says:

    A succinct analysis of rights, but may the Christian, from a theonomic perspective say that these issues are to be looked at in terms of Moral Law as Civil Law, rather than ‘rights’.

    For instance, the reason you are not allowed to steal from me has nothing to do with my ‘rights’ to my private property, but instead everything to do with moral constraint on your action. You may not steal for the Lord has spoken against this act, rather than spoken in favor of me in any way.
    Were you to be punished for this act, the punishment would be for breaking the Moral Law rather than violating my ‘rights’.

    Of course the liberal progressivist goal is to confer imaginary rights to various groups of what Charlton has deemed ‘scavengers’. The misfits, miscreants, and malcontents. This is for the end goal of destruction, for to expand the freedoms of a people into realms both logically incoherent and socially detrimental, is to destroy something else in the process, often referred to as the ‘barrier to civil rights’. When a new ‘right’ is granted, what must be broken to ensure the right is obtained?

    I have looked at this from my ‘Four Laws Model’, in which a particularly cancerous and devious form of the Second Law (Heteronomy) expands the power and control of the Fourth Law (Autonomy) for certain individuals, typically at the expense of the other two laws (Patronomy & Theonomy) and typically for its own destructive ends.
    This explains pretty well why even with all the new rights given to Westerners in the modern age, they are far less ‘free’ than their ancestors ever were.

  • Svar says:

    “Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.”

    – Alexis de Tocqueville

    I know Tocqueville is a Classical Liberal but he is right in this case.

    I haven’t noticed any insistence on more freedom, just the continuing age-old obsession with equality. The equality pipe-dream is the Master Race or the Worker’s Paradise of the Liberal Democratic types. And unlike the other two modernities, equality doesn’t lead to a simple tyranny but to an anarcho-tyranny and therefore much less freedom. There is no freedom of speech or intellectual freedom anymore, god forbid anyone ever say the truth about homosexuality or race or immigration or sex. Just ask Phil Robertson.

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/why-liberalism-means-empire/

  • Mike T says:

    I haven’t noticed any insistence on more freedom, just the continuing age-old obsession with equality.

    A while back I realized that the reason why modern liberals are so obsessed with equality is that after 100-200 years of greatly expanded freedom they realized that greatly expanded negative rights resulted in a drastic increase in material inequality not the promise of liberty and equality skipping hand-in-hand off into the sunset. Thus all liberal acts to bolster equality uber alles are really an attempt to fix this in whatever new frontier liberals discover inequality. What modern liberals mean by the “unequal” losing freedom is really them getting left behind. Why they get left behind varies by individual. Some it’s bad choices, others bad luck, still others it’s a bad draw on genetics. It can be some or all of the above.

    The amusing thing though is that liberals are fast running out of people who are “unequal” for reasons most sane people can feel sympathy toward. As liberals need new frontiers like 19th century American colonists, I think it’ll be quite amusing to see liberals start demanding civil rights for pedophiles, zoophiles and other hardened deviants that most people will just instinctively (no matter how propagandized) go “err no, you’re a f#$%ing idiot.” I think at some point liberalism will crash into a brick wall with all of the grace of a cocaine-addled small dog chasing a rabbit.

  • Zippy says:

    Freedom as a primary political principle implies equality, because the only discrimination freedom is capable of making (already somewhat incoherently, since it involves hiding restrictive modalities behind the curtain) is between what restricts some people’s freedom and what doesn’t. What the more ‘liberty’ oriented libertarians and neoreactionaries simply do not comprehend is that equality is a necessary concomitant of freedom.

    In general people who treat “freedom” and/or “equality” as primary political commitments are incapable of seeing their concomitants. I don’t know why this is, other than a long-cultivated cultural capacity to avoid thinking about things too much.

  • jf12 says:

    @SSM, re: ” a black, homosexual, atheist female in poor health”

    The official definition of Low Man, I mean Low Person, I mean Low Woversyn.

  • Svar says:

    @ Mike T

    ” I think it’ll be quite amusing to see liberals start demanding civil rights for pedophiles, zoophiles and other hardened deviants that most people will just instinctively (no matter how propagandized) go “err no, you’re a f#$%ing idiot.” I think at some point liberalism will crash into a brick wall with all of the grace of a cocaine-addled small dog chasing a rabbit.”

    Well, the current frontier is trannies. Then the even weirder gender-queer types and the furries before the more and more depraved perverts.

    I was surprised they got most people to accept faggotry as normal and I’m waiting to see what happens with trannies. I have a feeling they will succeed into bullying the nation into giving lip service to their beliefs.

    @ Zippy

    “In general people who treat “freedom” and/or “equality” as primary political commitments are incapable of seeing their concomitants. I don’t know why this is, other than a long-cultivated cultural capacity to avoid thinking about things too much.”

    Well of course, freedom is a side-benefit of order and stability. Equality however is impossible.

  • Zippy says:

    Svar:

    freedom is a side-benefit of order and stability

    It isn’t even that. Authentic freedom is the experience of an unconstrained will. So the more aligned our will is with the good, the more free we feel.

  • CJ says:

    I’m waiting to see what happens with trannies. I have a feeling they will succeed into bullying the nation into giving lip service to their beliefs.

    Yes, trans rights will win, as will adult incest. I consider those just a matter of time. I think (but am not entirely confident) that even most libs will consider pedophilia a bridge too far.

  • Zippy says:

    jf12:

    The official definition of Low Man, I mean Low Person, I mean Low Woversyn.

    Actually the opposite is the case.

    A black female transsexual lesbian abortionist (or whatever) is – in the present context – the proto-superman: this is who would be the liberated superman, self-created through reason and will, emancipated from the chains of authority, tradition, history, nature, and nature’s God, if only the Low Man were not keeping he/she/it down under the thumb of traditional bigoted oppression.

    To identify the Low Man in the modern political schema you ask who it is that can be criticized and shamed and despised – and in extremis even murdered – without qualm because he is considered the oppressor, or impediment. Liberalism is always both jealous of the Low Man, because of his perceived unearned power, and thinks of him as less than human in part because he is standing in the way of the emergence of the liberated superman. The Low Man’s mere existence stands in contradiction to the ambitions of the superman.

    The Low Man is the Problem in need of a Final Solution.

  • Zippy says:

    CJ:

    I think (but am not entirely confident) that even most libs will consider pedophilia a bridge too far.

    The ones who dominate politics today, or two generations from now?

    One of the things Thomas Kuhn (IIRC) noted about the development of science is that the model most people think of – ideas winning in the court of public and transparent peer review – isn’t how it usually works. How it usually works is that the people who believe in a certain paradigm get old, drop out of powerful positions, and die off.

    Whatever one thinks of that as a model of the development of scientific paradigms, it is almost certainly true of political paradigms. It is almost impossible to convince large numbers of people of something that goes against their visceral instincts and lifelong indoctrination via reason and argument.

    But death can silence objection to anything.

  • CJ says:

    I’d like to believe that a critical mass of humanity has a core revulsion to pedophilia and wouldn’t allow it to become mainstream. If I’m wrong, it would be interesting to see how minitrue would revise the condemnation of pedophile clergy. I assume they’d put it down to hypocrisy, which is the only sin leftists recognize.

  • @CJ:

    I’d like to believe that a critical mass of humanity has a core revulsion to pedophilia and wouldn’t allow it to become mainstream.

    I’d like to believe so too, but I’m no longer willing to bet on it.

  • jf12 says:

    @Zippy,
    so is Low Man more like Scotty from Star Trek trying to squeeze more power from his dilithium crystals, or more like the Worm nailed to the Tree.

  • Svar says:

    “It isn’t even that. Authentic freedom is the experience of an unconstrained will. So the more aligned our will is with the good, the more free we feel.”

    Do you mean “constrained will”? Because I am not following otherwise.

    If you mean “constrained”, then yes, I would agree. Order and stability leads to a constrained will which leads to true freedom. Service and selflessness, which involve constraining your will and directing it away from yourself and towards others as well as a higher abstraction(like nation, God, and country) leads to freedom.

  • Zippy says:

    Svar:
    I meant unconstrained. Constraint of the will is the opposite of freedom.

    Freedom is the capacity to actually choose what we wish to choose. The more what we wish to choose is in alignment with the good, the more free we feel, because what we wish to choose and what it is good to choose correspond.

  • Svar says:

    “Yes, trans rights will win, as will adult incest. I consider those just a matter of time. I think (but am not entirely confident) that even most libs will consider pedophilia a bridge too far.”

    I agree with Beefy. When the homosexual debate was going on, many right-wingers were making slippery slope arguments about how this will lead to bestiality and pedophilia being seen as normal and the leftists were calling those claims ridiculous fallacies. Well, the fact is that it is not a fallacy if it’s true. Everything we said would happen is slowly unfolding before our eyes. Ever heard of NAMBLA? They are going to be the new revolutionary vanguard soon enough. But after the furries, bronies, and beast-rapists.

    Mark my words. The last taboo isn’t pedophilia. It is necrophilia, the grave sin that the Pagan patriarchs described as the sin that called out to Heaven for vengeance. It will be the last one to be normalized. Hopefully liberalism self-destructs by then.

  • Svar says:

    “I meant unconstrained. Constraint of the will is the opposite of freedom.”

    What if it is internal constraint as in self-control?

    “Freedom is the capacity to actually choose what we wish to choose.”

    No argument there.

    “The more what we wish to choose is in alignment with the good, the more free we feel, because what we wish to choose and what it is good to choose correspond”

    But doesn’t that take self-control, a form of constraint?

  • Svar says:

    “A black female transsexual lesbian abortionist (or whatever) is – in the present context – the proto-superman: this is who would be the liberated superman, self-created through reason and will, emancipated from the chains of authority, tradition, history, nature, and nature’s God, if only the Low Man were not keeping he/she/it down under the thumb of traditional bigoted oppression.

    To identify the Low Man in the modern political schema you ask who it is that can be criticized and shamed and despised – and in extremis even murdered – without qualm because he is considered the oppressor, or impediment. Liberalism is always both jealous of the Low Man, because of his perceived unearned power, and thinks of him as less than human in part because he is standing in the way of the emergence of the liberated superman. The Low Man’s mere existence stands in contradiction to the ambitions of the superman.

    The Low Man is the Problem in need of a Final Solution.”

    I have a question. Does Nietszche have no place in Rightist thought?

  • Zippy says:

    It is always dangerous to assume that the debasements from submitting to the Father of Lies can be limited by human decency.

  • Zippy says:

    Svar:
    Self control and asceticism more generally are about training ourselves to desire what is truly good. It leads to greater freedom precisely because it leads to the capacity to choose what we wish to choose: it is never impossible to choose the good.

    Freedom in itself though is just the capacity to actually choose what we wish to choose.

    Re: Nietzsche, he was an interesting madman but was also a thoroughgoing modern. There is far less daylight between (say) Nietzsche and Marx than between either and Aquinas.

  • Mark Citadel says:

    “Does Nietszche have no place in Rightist thought”

    He is an interesting philosopher, and for certain Julius Evola admired many of his ideas, but ultimately his worldview was intrinsically flawed and he ended up doing tremendous damage to humanity at large and more specifically European nations.

    When your worldview begins with the materialist assumptions of atheism, the rest of your thinking will be tainted. Nietzsche was definitely a more honest man than the frankly clownish atheists of today. He saw where the godless delusion actually ended, a value-less tomb of nihilism. Ironic he spent his dying days in a mental institution repeating scripture he’d learned in his youth to himself.

    I don’t blame him entirely for the creeping secularism of today, Voltaire and a few others have their place as well.

  • Novaseeker says:

    Well, the current frontier is trannies. Then the even weirder gender-queer types and the furries before the more and more depraved perverts.

    I was surprised they got most people to accept faggotry as normal and I’m waiting to see what happens with trannies. I have a feeling they will succeed into bullying the nation into giving lip service to their beliefs.

    This is already happening, really. I’d say within 10 years or so the trans people will be as socially accepted as gays and lesbians are today.

    The frontier after that, however, I think is polyamory — there are significant signs of that in various mainstream media articles over the last several years. Not necessarily, or at first at least, legal polyamory, but social relaxation of expectations of monogamy in marriages in particular. That is coming next.

  • Svar says:

    “Self control and asceticism more generally are about training ourselves to desire what is truly good. It leads to greater freedom precisely because it leads to the capacity to choose what we wish to choose: it is never impossible to choose the good.”

    I see. I think I understand what you are saying now.

    @ Zippy and Mark Citadel

    I ask this about Nietzsche because his views actually have given me some ammunition against equality and other liberal delusions and have slowly led me to a Evolan/Perennialist view which eventually led me to a Christian view via C.S. Lewis.

    This all makes me wonder because another modern who is beloved by right-wingers and who is an admirer of Nietszche, is H.L. Mencken, who has a club named after him comprising of respectable individuals like Paul Gottfried and Thomas F. Bertonneau.

    I will say this. There was a time when even the most modern of moderns were capable of great insight as deeply flawed that insight was by modernistic ethos. You can not say that about today’s moderns who are absolute idiots and completely bankrupt, morally as well as intellectually.

  • Svar says:

    @ Novaseeker

    I believe trannies will be normalized in only 2-3 years, 5 at most. Haven’t you noticed how these things have been picking up speed? We are now like a snowball rolling downhill headed towards hell.

    Polyamory, incest, and bestiality are all being hinted at. And as for the relaxation of monogamist norms, that’s already here. Open relationships, open marriages, no-fault divorce, the glorification of adultery and cheating on various shows like Desperate Housewives. It’s been going on for a while.

  • Mark Citadel says:

    Svar, I very much agree with your sentiment. Today’s modernists are so moronic and borderline insane, it is a wonder we have not seen a reactionary revolution yet.

    I think this mainly has to do with money. A lot of these so called
    ‘enlightened’ philosophers are really snakeoil merchants eager to sell books to the zombies worldwide.

  • […] this is just the same old question-begging blindness to metaphysical baggage all over again. Contracts and other choices take place in a context, and […]

  • Svar says:

    “Today’s modernists are so moronic and borderline insane, it is a wonder we have not seen a reactionary revolution yet.”

    There are only a handful left in the world. Even the “conservatives” are modernists. Well to be honest, anyone who wants to conserve the status quo is only a moderate Trotskyist at best.

  • Mark Citadel says:

    “I believe trannies will be normalized in only 2-3 years, 5 at most. Haven’t you noticed how these things have been picking up speed? We are now like a snowball rolling downhill headed towards hell.”

    The targeting of children is particularly disturbing, with an overarching aim to indoctrinate adults through their children.

    http://www.massresistance.org/docs/gen2/14b/GLSEN-Conference-040513/coming-out/index.html

    Bear in mind, Svar, that the more sick and degenerate modernity becomes, the more easily those disgruntled with the situation can fall prey to the truth, and can be brought into the fold.

    It has been said of the declining state of Christianity in Western Europe and America that what is truly happening is merely a thinning of the herd, the culling of nominal Christians, and the affirmation of those who remain true to Christ.
    Perhaps in the coming 30-40 years, we will see a thinning of the political herd as the middle crumbles away, and those on the right become dissatisfied with a never-ending losing streak. Once this happens, they will come to us whether they like it or not, because if democracy does not work, then they will be left with no other option. Either be enslaved by this sickness, this virus of modernity, or do the only sane thing… REACT

  • […] ends up concentrating power into a monolithic monstrosity responsible for making sure that everyone gets with the program of […]

  • […] standing in the way of the emergence of the free and equal new man, a new man emancipated from the tyrannical political chains of unfair history and arbitrary […]

  • […]  For every political liberty empowering a citizen to choose what he wishes to choose, a multitude of constraints on other people are implied.  “Liberty” in practice just means that you agree that the ‘free […]

  • […] the freedom of those under that authority to a subset of those options.  And attempting to justify the restriction of freedom based on preventing restriction of freedom is self […]

  • […] who make freedom the goal of politics, in so doing, craft a monolithic all-encompassing tyranny.  Those who make virtue the goal of politics don’t achieve it universally, but they make it […]

  • […] One of the ways that folks keep falling into the mind trap of liberalism is through failure to grasp that liberalism is specifically and concretely a political doctrine: a basic understanding or view about the right exercise of authority. Liberalism makes freedom into a purpose, final cause, or telos of political action, that is, of the exercise of authority. Discussion of freedom as something other than final cause of political action is a change of subject: it is a squirrel, a red herring. Liberalism is freedom as a purpose or final cause of political acts. […]

  • […] tyrannies could at least be seen out in the open. A man knew where he stood. Now the tyranny comes cloaked as the seductress “freedom”. Liberal tyranny boils up from under layers of flesh, lurks inside clinging to the bones as it […]

  • […] amusingly, that my refusal to see political freedom as something ontologically distinct from the constraints implied by every “right” makes me a […]

  • […] us to notice the empowerment involved in “rights” while studiously ignoring the multitude of constraints which are concomitant to every right.  “Rights” give us mental cover for thinking of […]

  • […] thing as a concrete exercise of authority which “leaves other people alone”, a special sort of freedom-by-command which we label a “right” or a “freedom”. It sociopathically hides the inextricably […]

  • […] unborn children to be born and grow up.  Every single express permission granted by an authority implies numerous restrictions, always and without […]

  • […] matter and form of possibility to make something concretely real. In the wake of doing so, every single choice leaves behind a multitude of roads not taken, options which now rest outside the realm of real […]

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