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July 19, 2014

OT Thread- Freemen vs Serfs Edition [WeirdDave]

I've been thinking about this since a FB conversation I had with my niece in the wake of the Hobby Lobby case. I posted the conversation on the ONT when it happened, you should go read it here (link should go to the post, but that's been wonky lately, if it just goes to the thread it's comment number 166). It's a bit long, but it's all dialogue, it should only take a minute or two to read.

Now, I come away from that, as you probably do, shaking my head. It's a thought process that's utterly alien to me. If someone else won't pay for something I want, I'll buy it for myself. If a job offers benefits that don't meet my needs, it's not a reason to piss and moan, I'll find a new job. If I can't find a new job right away, I'll continue to look for one. It seems so bloody simple to me, but that's because I see myself as a free agent. I'm responsible for my own life, and how that life goes is a result of the choices I make, for weal or for woe. I am a freeman.

My niece, OTOH, has a different attitude. She wants her place in life defined, and as long as she stays within those confines, she expects her needs and desires to be met. Oh, if you asked her she'd tell you that she's demanding "freedom", but it's license, not liberty. She's perfectly happy, determined even, to turn control over large swaths of her life to some other person or agency. She doesn't realize that if someone else controls her access to life's necessities and or wants, then they control her. Notice the particularly scary point in our conversation where she says that she'd be find with society forcing her to do something she finds morally repugnant if it's for the "greater good". Now, that statement is nonsense on it's face, because if she truly found something morally repugnant she wouldn't be fine with having it forced on her, but she's on a big anti-religion kick at the moment and I know she thinks that morality is something for icky Christians, not for an enlightened free thinker like herself. Be that as it may, the fact is she's not a free agent, and doesn't want to be one. She is, in fact, a modern serf.

Now, I'm not picking on Ruth. She's smart, I like her a lot, but she's young, mid 20s, and thoroughly marinated in the poisonous gruel leftists spew. At her age I was handing out literature at polling places in favor of Maryland's pro abortion referendum, something that shames me today. She's also Canadian. Don't get me wrong, I love Canada, I really do, and I'll readily admit that Canada is in many ways freer than the US these days, but there are subtle differences between our two seemingly identical cultures, the biggest of which goes back to how both nations were founded. The US was founded by people who wanted to be free from the diktats of the king, Canada by people who wanted to stay subjects of the king. That's why they don't have the First or Second Amendments up north. What needs have subjects of such things? Instead they get Human Rights Commissions and gun registry laws. Ironically, they're pushing back admirably against that, becoming more like what we're supposed to be, while we're trying like hell to become what they were a few decades back.

But here's the thing. I framed the conversation at the time as "this is how free nations turn totalitarian". I don't think that's right, or at least it's not the whole story. Western culture is a result of the convergence of three historical concepts. (Think of it as a real life game of Civilization: discovering masonry allows you to build walls, bronze working gives you spearmen, the wheel allows you to build chariots, and so on.) The first concept is the Judeo-Christian notion of monotheism. Monotheism leads to the concept of absolute right and wrong, which creates virtue. The second concept is the Greco-Roman discovery of science as we know it today. If ideas can be tested, and results replicated, then the universe is not random, it is rational. A rational universe can be studied and it's properties gleaned. We now have some measure of control over the world around us. Finally, we have the Anglo-Saxon dedication to rule of law. Rule of law says that the same rules apply to everybody, and it's easy to see where that leads: equality. Virtue, rationality and equality. These three great concepts found their ultimate zeitgeist in the founding documents of the United States of America, and for 200 years history has demonstrated just how superior those three concepts working in harmony are, for the entire world.

HOWEVER, and this is the crux of the matter, since we come from a culture that has embraced this fusion, and because we're conservatives dedicated to conserving it for out descendents, it is often easy for us to forget that we are not the norm. We are the aberration. Oligarchy has been the natural state of mankind for almost all of history. Despotism is the norm for most of the world's people today. We're in a fight not just for ourselves and our children, not just to preserve and protect the Constitution, but one that will determine if mankind continues to evolve towards universal liberty. 200 years from now, will the average human be a freeman, or a serf? If we fail, not only will the lights of the shining city on the hill be extinguished, all of mankind will slide back into the darkness from which we came. The stakes have never been higher, and we're betting against the house. We better not fuck it up.

Have a nice day.

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posted by Open Blogger at 12:36 PM

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