Freedom. The Most Dangerous Idea of All

May 14, 2021

By Devin

Freedom is dangerous. I don’t know about you, but I never spent so much as a minute considering the value or importance of freedom during the first 45+ years of my life. Nor did I ever think about the implications of freedom to how we live our lives. It was easy to just enjoy the freedom I was born into assuming that life, as an American at least, would always be that way. Some said, “Oh, this is America. It’ll never change. Certainly communism will never happen here.” What is it they say about saying “never?”

When I was kid, we frequently walked to and/or from school over a mile away. We crossed six-lane highways by ourselves when we were barely 10 years old. We used to walk on weekends a couple of miles away to the soda fountain to get a coke. No parents. We didn’t wear helmets for anything. We rode our bikes all over town, by ourselves. I got my driver’s license at 15 and immediately started driving everywhere. No parents. We drank and drove and it wasn’t even against the law, at first. Then, when it was, nobody enforced it. Seatbelts? Who needed them? When I left home at 18 to go to college, I have no idea how I survived for the next dozen years or so without health insurance. The list of dangerous activities we participated in in those days goes on and on and on.

Then, something happened. Gradually, over time, people started focusing on the need for being safer. To be sure, curbing the drinking and driving was a good thing. Although we haven’t completely stamped it out, imagine how dangerous the road would be nowadays if there were no DWI laws and no social pressure not to drink and drive? But once we sort of accomplished all we could with that, then it was on to the next most dangerous thing. I’m not sure what that was, but certainly at some point, we decided it was safer to wear a helmet while riding bicycles. And safer not to let children roam so far from home without parents. Eventually, the phrase, “Safety is our Number 1 priority!” became a phrase heard from every business in America. Safety. Safety. Safety.

Yikes.

Fear as a means of control

An incident occurred at my church a few weeks ago. I wasn’t there and I don’t know what it was about, but I got an email from the pastor saying that everything was handled well and that there was never any danger to our membership or “the children.” Our pastor stated that as always, “safety is our Number 1 priority.” I thought to myself, since when??? I thought saving souls was our Number 1 priority! Safety? Pffft. Definitely not Number 1! And probably not even Number 2 or possibly even Number 3!

If you’ve turned on a TV and watched the news anytime in the last 20 years, you’ve undoubtedly been subjected to all kinds of news stories about how dangerous the world is and what we need to do to be safe. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Oh, and COVID! If you want a real measure of just how effective the TV is at scaring the living daylights out of people, just look at how we responded to COVID.

So what purpose does all the fearmongering and promotion of safety serve? I will tell you. It serves to take away your freedom. It serves to give those in power, more power.

What total freedom looks like

Let’s go back to North America pre-1492. There was no centralized government in North America. No government at all. No land ownership. No laws. No police forces. No armies. It was truly the definition of Anarchy. The people who lived here were tribal, because tribalism was necessary for survival. And yes, tribes fought each other, but it is a vast continent and horses had not yet been introduced from Europe, so travel was very slow. Interactions were necessarily fewer. And no telephones or even telegrams to communicate messages over long distances. All communication occurred by word of mouth. I submit that in the course of human history, rarely has there ever been a place and time where more freedom was enjoyed by more people than in pre-1492 North America.

Now imagine yourself suddenly being sent back in time to that era here in North America. You might not make it through a single day before someone or something killed you. Or you might survive long enough to learn how to protect yourself. Maybe. Jared Diamond says in Guns, Germs, and Steel that if you didn’t know anyone or weren’t related to anyone, you’d likely have been killed by the first person you encountered. Even now, when two people meet for the first time, they often try to figure out if they know anyone in common. And if they do, somehow that makes them feel better. Now you don’t have to fight to the death! But you might forget each other as soon as you walk away.

Regardless of how you’d fare, one thing is certain, without any laws or law enforcement, you’d experience a level of freedom you’ve never had before. Ever. But with that incredible level of freedom, you would also experience a level of danger like you’ve never had before. Anyone, at any time, could kill you without any repercussions whatsoever. That’s kind of scary. But the freedom. Oh, the freedom! That dude that just offended you? Stick a spear in him and walk away, if you want to. Or not. Total freedom. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a good thing. I’m just saying that is a very, very high level of freedom.

One of my favorite books is Blood and Thunder by Hampton Sides. The book is an historical account of New Mexico and the life of Kit Carson. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. In the book, Kit Carson lived a life of such amazing freedom as no American in the last 100+ years has ever even imagined. As a legendary Mountain Man he survived and thrived in the wilderness of the Mountain West. He killed anyone who attacked him and no one ever questioned it. It was a supremely dangerous existence. He didn’t have to live that way. He was born in Missouri in civilization. He bolted from an apprenticeship as a teenager for the west and never looked back. He lived by his wits and most importantly, he CHOSE to live the life he lived. The threat of possibly being killed himself did not scare him back to Missouri. And he wasn’t a particularly big man. In fact, he was kind of short and small. Not exactly what you’d think it would take to be a legendary Mountain Man in the early 1800s.

Control and a lack of freedom go hand in hand

My point is, freedom and danger are inseparable. INSEPARABLE. Being free and living in a free society is inherently unsafe. The safer you make your world, the more you limit freedom. How many laws do we have on the books here in America now? Does anyone even know? And how many people are in prison? And how many law enforcement officers are there in America today? And people with cell phones recording everything that happens so they can bust you later if need be? We live in a surveillance state. We have instantaneous communications systems so we can call out whatever forces necessary immediately to handle any lawlessness we want to. (Notice I said “want to,” not “have to.”) There are so many laws on the books now, it’s as Stalin’s Deputy Premier Lavrentiy Beria said, “Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime.” We see that going on now with the selective and politically motivated prosecutions being undertaken by various prosecutors across our nation.

The only way to make sure everyone is absolutely safe is to put EVERYONE in prison. Since that isn’t practical, the next best way is to control every aspect of your life. How do you do that most efficiently? By scaring people into conformity. Let fear be the driver. How do you scare them? You threaten their safety. How do you do that? You show them images of rioting on a nightly basis. You show them interviews of doctors talking about how deadly and dangerous some virus is. You talk about the crime wave. You talk about pedophiles stealing children and trafficking them. You post images of the lost children on milk cartons so everyone is constantly reminded of how dangerous the world is. You talk about war in the Middle East and you do everything you can to stoke it.

You also make sure the rich get richer and the middle class gets poorer. How do you do that? By printing money like it’s going out of style, thus causing rampant inflation, and pumping that money into the stock market so the rich get richer, while raising taxes on the middle class. You jack up the price of gas at the pump by shutting down pipeline projects and prohibiting drilling on public lands and placing a moratorium on horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Then your news media reports all the bad economic numbers and stresses people out.

Finally, you fan the flames of racial tension every day. You highlight every instance of a white police officer causing injury or death to a brown or black person while ignoring the vastly larger numbers of black and brown people killing each other. And ignoring when a black or brown police officer kills a white person (yes, it happens). You make it so brown and black people hate white people and white people are scared of offending brown and black people. These are people who used to live and work side-by-side comfortably, but now look at each other with suspicion. Is my neighbor a white supremacist? Is that guy walking down the street a Black Lives Matter rioter? I’ve lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico for over 20 years and now, for the first time, there are posters downtown shouting for white people to leave. Get out now!

Wow.

The natural state of man

As the Founders of the USA believed, and I believe, the natural state of Man is to be free. God made us to be free. With that freedom comes great responsibility. You may have heard that before. But even more importantly, with that freedom comes great danger. And the more freedom you have the more danger you are in. That’s just a fact. The two are inseparable. Some people have a very high tolerance for danger and others have little or none. How do you create a society and a nation that accommodates everyone? It’s not possible. However, you can aim for the sweet spot. You create a system of extremely limited government, just enough laws to punish those who commit the worst crimes, and a police and justice system appropriate in size to carry out the punishment of those who violate the laws. You don’t selectively enforce the laws. You don’t create a political class that is above the laws. You make darn sure the rights of free speech, free exercise of religion, and the ownership of firearms and ammunition are protected absolutely. And people need to understand that they themselves and their families are primarily responsible for their own safety. The police are there primarily as back up and to arrest and charge those who break the laws. Not to be your personal body guard.

You’ve probably heard the expression, “Freedom ain’t free.” That’s true. But it’s also true that freedom is dangerous. If you want to live in a world where there is no danger, then I’m afraid you’re going to have a hard time finding a place to live. Certainly America is not your place to be. But if you want to be free to do whatever you want to do, to chase your dreams, and live your life according to your own moral standards, so long as it doesn’t infringe on others’ rights to do the same, then the America envisioned by our Founders is the best place in the world to be. Let’s hope the Socialists, Communists, Fascists, Political Elitists, Big Tech Oligarchs, and finally, the worst of all, the Globalists don’t succeed in tearing our country down and destroying the last best hope for freedom (and the inherent dangers and risks that come with it) the world has ever known, America.

Oh. And KILL YOUR TV!

The Left-Right Scale: What It REALLY Means

by Devin

On one of his daily radio programs in early 2016, Rush Limbaugh was discussing the meaning of the terms “conservative” and “liberal” and their relationship to “The Left-Right Scale” in politics. He had a caller who was asking about how it is that in some countries, the hard-liners are referred to as “conservative” when sometimes those so-called “right-wing” hard-liners are communists or fascists? Rush said this is a subject he has spent considerable time thinking about and he had begun to conclude that the left-right scale isn”t really a straight line, but rather a circle. His theory is that if you go far enough to the right, you eventually begin to come back around to the left.

Here is the problem with that logic. The terms “conservative” and “liberal? are meaningless without context. The Left-Right Scale is not about liberalism or conservatism at all. Period. Full Stop.

Read that again. The Left-Right Scale IS NOT ABOUT LIBERALISM OR CONSERVATISM AT ALL!!! Neither is it about any other particular political philosophy. It is simply a scale upon which political philosophies can be placed in order to identify how they relate to other political philosophies.

My apologies for the virtual shouting, but it has to be absolutely clear that this old paradigm is completely wrong and we all need to erase that concept from our minds. Liberalism and conservatism cannot be on the scale and at the same time define the scale. That makes no sense! These are political philosophies, just like communism, fascism, libertarianism, and all the rest. The only way we can truly see how they relate to these other political philosophies is if they do not also define the scale on which we place said philosophies.

So, before I explain what The Left-Right Scale really does represent, let us first define two important terms.

“Maximum Freedom” is herein defined as the maximum amount of freedom an individual human being can have without infringing on the freedom of another individual human being. If you take it any further than that, then it becomes self-defeating.

“Maximum Slavery” is herein defined as the least amount of freedom an individual human being can have without being incarcerated. Since the entire world cannot possibly be incarcerated, incarceration cannot and need not be part of the definition of maximum slavery. A person does not need to be incarcerated in order to be subjected to total control by another person.

Presently, The Left-Right Scale is defined as Maximum Slavery on the absolute far left end and Maximum Freedom on the absolute far right end.

Think about this. The only context required for this definition is an understanding of what freedom and slavery are. These are two terms that are generally understood by everyone and are generally not confused with each other. And if The Left-Right Scale is defined thus, then it does not need to be a circle, a sphere, or any other shape other than just a straight, two-dimensional line on what mathematicians would call the horizontal or X axis. There doesn’t need to be a vertical or Y axis, nor a third-dimensional, perpendicular, or Z axis. Just one, straight, horizontal line scale. Period. Done.

Suddenly, with this definition, everything becomes clear. When some “journalist” writes a story about some right-wing, hardline communist, fascist, or theocratic government leaders, everyone can see that these forms of governance are not right-wing at all, just because some “journalist” chooses to call them that. Or even if the leaders of such groups and their constituency call it that, we can all know the truth simply by looking at the degree of freedom of the citizenry of such states and placing it where it properly belongs on The Left-Right Scale as it is now defined.

A brief word about anarchy. Anarchy, because it seeks a degree of freedom that can only be attained with no government at all, and thus no laws or law enforcement, lies beyond the righthand end of The Left-Right Scale, as shown in the graphic below.

Left-Right Scale

Conservatism in America today refers to conservation of the goals for individual freedom set by our nation’s founders. The goal of our nation’s founders was simply the far right end of The Left-Right Scale, as defined above. That said, there are probably some who would question this statement because of confusion over just what the term ‘conservative’ means. Let me clarify this issue.

When America’s founders were alive, there was no such thing as a “conservative” in any sense of the word as we use it today. A conservative in their day would have been a Tory, a Loyalist, someone who wanted to conserve the existing form of government under the King of England. In those days, the founders were liberals. And radical liberals to be sure. These men applied classical liberal thinking to the subject of how to establish a nation that provided maximum freedom to its individual citizens and came up with the most radical document ever written in the history of humankind: the original articles of the United States Constitution and the first ten amendments, also known as the Bill of Rights. This Constitution was based on the philosophy described in the Declaration of Independence; the most famous lines of which declare “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

In the days of our nation’s founders, moral values were ingrained in our fledgling nation’s culture. To be sure, the question of gay marriage would have never been conceived in their time. That is not to say that there were no gay people back then or that there were no immoral people back then, either. It is just that the evolution of American culture has brought us only recently onto this ground that had never before been tread upon, because no one back in the days of America’s founders questioned the importance of moral values to the success of our national culture, and homosexuality was considered a curse, not something of which a person should be proud. Moral values are a foundational component of American culture and society.*

In this day and age, moral values have been associated with a desire by conservatives to control the behavior of others, and thus limit freedom in a way not intended by our nation’s founders. So, to some extent, libertarianism more closely resembles the goal of our nation’s founders. It’s just that in the days of our nation’s founding, because moral values were, for the most part, an assumed part of our national culture, no one felt compelled to address issues like gay marriage. So, conservatism today also incorporates a desire to re-establish moral values as part of our national culture. Which, naturally, puts it at odds with the goal of our nation’s founders, so long as it seeks to do so through legislation. An entire book could be written on the subject of legislating morality (and the utter failure of such attempts), so I am not going to spend any more time on it here. Let us just move forward with the idea that in terms of degrees of freedom, both libertarianism and conservatism in American politics refer to attempts to maximize individual freedom, the latter simply adds the re-establishment of strong moral values to our national culture through legislation.

The “classical” liberalism of our nation’s founders was a political philosophy that sought maximum freedom for our nation’s citizens. Liberalism (or progressivism, or neoliberalism, or socialism, or communism), in its current form in America today, on the other hand, refers to the opposite of conservatism. Or, more specifically, to maximum control, down to the last tiny detail, of our citizenry. And though it has been over 200 years since our nation’s founding, people are still often confused by the evolution of the meaning of liberalism over this time from the former, classical definition, to the latter, modern definition. Many liberals in America today advocate for laws that force people to do things against their will, such as buying health insurance and paying for and performing services for others which run counter to their deeply held religious beliefs.

Of course, proponents of liberalism never see themselves as the target of their own philosophy. They wish to be the controllers. They do not see themselves as being among the controlled because they desire to live their lives exactly the way they want to force others to live theirs. In their minds, they are not being controlled if such a lifestyle is voluntary.

And what is control of another human being but enslavement of that human being? The very definition of slavery is having no freedom to live one’s life as one chooses. If one chooses to work for himself or herself, he or she is not allowed, by others who control him or her, to do so. A voter who believes he or she is controlling his or her neighbor by voting for more governmental control over ourselves does not believe he or she is also voting for more slavery for him or herself, because they are voluntarily asking for it. I would ask what would happen if they were to change their mind afterwards and choose not to voluntarily submit to the very control they advocate?

Quite obviously, they would discover that they, too, are slaves. For example, it has occurred throughout history that some slaves have enjoyed and even preferred their situation, even being treated like family members in some cases and not desiring to be freed, but this did not change the fact that they were still slaves none-the-less.

We are all subject to varying degrees of control by others. It is impossible to escape, save by death. Hence the definition of maximum freedom, above. Even the hermit living far off in the wilderness, alone, is indirectly controlled by virtue of the fact that he or she is forced to breathe the same air polluted by others far away. He or she may not remain a hermit and live among society. And so forth.

So our nation’s founders were not attempting the impossible, merely the possible; to achieve maximum freedom for the individual human being as defined above. And since maximum freedom is the precise and exact opposite of maximum slavery, it follows that maximum control equals maximum slavery. Everyone knows that any degree of slavery is wrong and evil and that maximum freedom, as defined above, is right and good.

Which is why conservatism in America, being right, is on the right end of The Left-Right Scale.

*Note: While some today might not like to equate homosexuality with immorality (and that is not my intention here), this is only a very recent cultural development. In America at the time of our nation’s founding and until relatively recently, homosexuality was universally condemned as immoral. Many people still believe this, although there is a growing number of people who do not. The purpose of this article is not to attempt to establish whether it is or it isn’t, but to use the subject as an example of how cultural changes over time have affected the meaning of conservatism in America.