What is freedom?
Part I of a series on foreign affairs.
Growing up outside the USA gave me a different perspective on political freedom. When you talk about the term in New Zealand, most people either switch off or laugh at you. They literally believe freedom is a spin-word used by conservative Americans "to justify taking freedom away from other people." That's what centuries of anti-American "education" can do to a country.
So I want to talk about what freedom means, why the USA is the most free country in world history, and what other countries can learn from this.
Early Human Societies
I'm going back to basics. Long ago, humans were nomadic hunters and gatherers, moving around to exploit seasonal changes in food supply and climate. It makes sense to live in groups. We are social animals: scientists have demonstrated that humans are, on average, more likely to protect and provide for those in our kin group than those outside it. It's biological, and influenced by our interactions, particularly in childhood.
Humans learned how to exploit the power of fire, and invented the wheel and durable shelters. If you took away modern technology, humans would eventually learn how to sustain life through technology and organization. One of the biggest breakthroughs in our history was learning how to grow higher calorie food crops, and the domestication of animals for food and fiber.
After a major hurricane, earthquake or wildfire, we are reduced back to basics. Until modern services find us and arrive, we have to provide our own food, water, shelter, clothing, hygiene systems, healthcare, and security. I'm damn sure I'd rather be in a rural area with preppers than stuck in a metropolitan city with people who take it for granted and never think about "what if?"
Security is everything. It's foolish to assume that others won't exploit the opportunity to steal from or harm others when security breaks down. Thousands of years of human economic development has taken us to where we are now: modern civilization. We have a system of laws and their enforcement, such as it is. I don't want to live long term in a place where my only security is the firearms and ammo that I can gather and use. I call that necessary but not sufficient. The modern world allows us to learn, develop and achieve things like advanced medical care.
Feudalism And Modernity
Nomadic, agrarian, feudal, and advanced societies all provide for security and sustenance, but only in advanced societies is individual freedom possible. In this series I cover the feudal to modern shift that took place between medieval Europe and enlightenment North America.
What is a feudal system? It's where a royal or aristocrat governs the majority, who have few, if any, enforceable rights. Pretty much all a peasant or serf can appeal to is the goodness of the king, prince of lord of the manor.
Notice that I don't describe this system in past tense. That's because many people alive today essentially live under a feudal system, short or long term. Examples of today's lord of the manor include a warlord, cartel boss, or military dictator. When you step outside the legal system of your (modern) country for redress of wrongs, you are now in feudal territory, where might makes right.
The Enlightenment era made the modern world possible. It's been damn hard work to wrest power from elites and give it to individuals, where it belongs. Anti-freedom politicians all over the world dedicate their lives to unraveling the systems of enforceable rights that grew out of the Enlightenment.
The Anti-Freedom Ideology
Anti-freedom politicians claim that their definition of "democracy" is inherently better than feudalism, time-limited military occupation, or any other system they are trying to oppose. They claim that "universal human rights" exist and are somehow enforceable across national borders in a way that is fair and just. They oppose the concept of the nation state with defined borders, and they encourage separatist movements regardless of the bloodshed and instability involved.
I call it anti-freedom because at it's core, that's exactly what the ideology is. You might call it globalism, communism, national socialism, fascism, liberalism and progressivism, and you'd be largely correct. Conservatism, in my opinion, is about conserving what works, such as the American system of government, which has stood the test of time. Not far behind the success of the American system are countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, Israel, and Japan. They are all based on the Westminster system of government.
The academic discipline of comparative politics considers things like whether the leadership of the executive branch is drawn from the legislature (Westminster) or direct vote (USA). Cultural and ethnic differences are not treated as core to the analysis in comparative politics. I make this point to reinforce that my analysis in this series tries to be neutral on race and culture. They are important when studying history and politics, but to answer the question "what is freedom?" I think we need to separate them out.
Anti-Freedom Ideology And Globalism
A lot of people get hung up on terms like nationalism, patriotism, tribalism, and even globalism. One way the anti-freedom crowd have tried to silence the normal discussion of issues is to accuse us of antisemitism for using the word globalism. Yes, really.
Leaving aside their rank hypocrisy by allying with groups that want to and do kill Jews wherever they can, this narrative angle reveals their irrationality. Looking for someone to blame, their path of least resistance is to notice that more Jewish kids than others seem to study finance or other disciplines that lead to careers in banking, the law, or the media. I congratulate the many Jewish families that prioritize education. Others could learn from them.
Globalism is a political and economic phenomenon that has nothing to do with race, ethicity or religion. Sure, many bigots do latch onto globalism all manner of racist beliefs, but those additions are not necessary for understanding what globalism means. I refuse to allow literal Jew haters and their allies to silence my use of a highly relevant term like globalism. Globalism isn't globalization, either. Perhaps I will explain this in my next article in this series.
We cannot properly discuss an issue without first defining the terms. Our opponents routinely try to impose their definitions, because they cannot win on the merits of their argument.
Next In The "What Is Freedom?" Series
I continue my focus on world history in the next article: The formation of the nation state, colonization, the enlightenment, major wars, then de-colonization. This is how I explain my beliefs about the struggle today between freedom and anti-freedom groups.