The Metaphysics of Consent

Far too many people see the world merely as it is, and do not think to look deeper. This is a shame, because when one bothers to dig out the underlying principles that guide the things that are, the world suddenly looks very different.

Consider feminism. Feminism and all its derived theories are driven by the attempt to seize as much power and as many resources away from men as possible and to isolate women as much as possible from any and all negative consequences of their decisions. Understand this and you understand all feminism.

From there, of course, we can put all aspects of feminism in perspective. It does get boring to do so all the time, however. It makes it so easy to write the whole thing off. Sometimes it’s a nice bit of fun to treat feminist viewpoints seriously and subject them to rigid analysis.

Consider one small branch of feminist theory, feminist sexual ethics. The guiding principles of this part of feminism can be summed up in one word: “consent”. “Consent” is, as the centerpiece of feminist sexual ethics, imbued with an almost religious reverence. It is the alpha and omega of feminist sexual theory, and so it can fittingly enough only be described in absolutes. “No” means No, and “Yes” means Yes (though the latter is not always so set in stone).

It is a quaint view, but reality is not so easily described. There are a few key assumptions that are being relied upon here, assumptions that I do not think are defensible starting points from which to base an ethical theory.

The first contention I have begins in well-trodden territory: What defines consent? Under the feminist model, the gold standard is direct, unambiguous, verbal consent. Anything less than that is insufficient.

While straightforward and sensible, this model is deficient in regards to actual human behavior. Non-verbal affirmative answers like a head nod or a certain type of eye contact are constants in ordinary (not just sexual) human behavior. It is thought that verbal communication comprises only about 7% of total human communication. Is it prudent to ignore 93% of what people are saying to us?

Additionally, as many professional womanizers will tell you, even “No” doesn’t always mean no, with the frequent meaning being “not now” or “try again later”. While it is obviously right out to assume that “No” never means no, any model of consent perhaps ought to consider the possible temporal nature of such nuanced dictions, perhaps by allowing future indicators of consent, both verbal and non-verbal, to override prior refutations.

But it is not my aim to build such a model at the present time, merely to lay out some of the hurdles that a proper model will need to overcome. Another one of these hurdles is the role that emotion plays in influencing the giving of consent. Emotions are complicated things, and do not often provide a useful guide to whether consent should be granted. We must also bear in mind that emotions are not the only factor at play here. Ones’ logical thought processes also contribute to the decision-making process.

This dynamic between the rational and the emotional decision-making pathways is what influences the process of giving consent. When they line up, things are simple. Consent is enthusiastic or rejection is straightforward. Yet, when thoughts and emotions do not line up, the situation becomes tricky. Consent may still be given, even if half-heartedly. How are we to judge these situations?

My assumption is that the feminist model would assume that anything less than full, verbal, straightforward, enthusiastic consent is off-limits. Yet, this fails to cover the multitude of times in which individuals engage in sexual activity less than whole-heartedly (perhaps getting more into later, or perhaps not…this is irrelevant). Should this kind of sex be off-limits?

And if proper sexual conduct is based on a certain level of enthusiasm between (or among) the participants, what level of enthusiasm is proper? Should they be at least 60% into it? 75%? What if one person is indifferent, but one person wants it greatly? This could be defended on utilitarian grounds by pointing out that one person will neither be harmed nor helped by this action, but the other person would see a great benefit in happiness.

But let’s end this digression before I wander too far off into minutiae. My point is that in situations in which thoughts and feelings are in conflict, one of those processes is going to have to win out. In these circumstances, has proper consent manifested itself?

This is not an easy question to answer, but it seems intuitively obvious that someone can give consent even if they are not 100% committed to the decision, in the same way that we could make any decision (what to eat for dinner, which car to purchase, what book to read) without being 100% certain of which option we would prefer. So perhaps 100% is too high a level to ask for when it comes to giving consent. But what level is the cut-off, then? If not 100%, then 99%? If not 99%, then 98%? Any model of consent that demands 100% support in making the decision would end up instituting an incredibly strict sexual norm.

Trying to suss out the details here is likely to cast this analysis into the howling maw of Charybdis, a fate that I would like to avoid. Merely skirting the edge of those dangerous waters is sufficient, I think, for my purposes here.

Another issue that must be touched upon here is that with the basing of consent in thoughts, feelings, and the interplay between the two, the giving of consent will be influenced by the capriciousness of ones emotions and/or thoughts. Emotions are fleeting and anything based upon them will be equally transient. Similarly, one can be convinced logically to believe that giving consent is a good or a bad idea based upon circumstances. Any model of consent is going to have to realize that this inherent instability in the nature of consent is going to have to be taken into account.

In other words, consent can be both given and taken away during the process of the act. Consider perhaps, how ones willingness to engage in coitus might diminish if a pet walked in and dropped dead, or if ones’ house caught fire. Situations and circumstances change. Correct models ought to be able to change with them. This means that a consensual situation can become non-consensual, and it also leaves open the hypothetical possibility that a non-consensual situation could become consensual, though how one should react to that possibility is perhaps going to depend on the specific model they happen to be working from. It is a possibility that opens up a certain can of worms, and while knee-jerk reactions to that possibility are defensible from the standpoint of human dignity and visceral disgust, any serious attempt to work out a model of consent is going to have to address that kind of situation, preferably in a logical and objective fashion, distasteful though it may be.

Finally, it seems a discussion of consent cannot be concluded without bringing up the involvement of drugs or alcohol. Obviously, past a certain point of intoxication, one lacks the requisite capacity for agency in such circumstances, but consider a circumstance in which one pre-emptively consents, with the intention of engaging in sexual activity while in a highly intoxicated state. Does your model of consent allow for this type of occurrence?

But that’s a bit straightforward. Consider the following example. A woman invites a man to her hotel room. He brings alcohol with him. They have a few drinks and get progressively more intimate as the evening goes on, which ends with the two of them having sex. Is this consent? Bear in mind that both people helped establish the logistics and both engaged in the process and pushed it along. Does your model also need to take into account how intoxicated they were? What methods of signaling consent were used?

It is a fact that individuals often consume alcohol or other intoxicants in situations in which they, consciously or unconsciously, are either expecting or at least hoping to have sex. Perhaps they may deny this to themselves in order to better match up their perception of reality with certain fantasies they may have. Self-delusion is one of the most human of all impulses. Still, when both parties are contributing to the build-up to sexual activity, it gets hard to make the claim that non-consensual sex occurred, especially if levels of intoxication do not go beyond what may be considered “moderate”.

It is in situations like these that the feminist model of consent, based on sober, straightforward, unambiguous verbal communication seems to over-extend itself. I will not go so far as to say that it is without any merit whatsoever, but I think there is sufficient room for improvement in this matter so as to merit the development of a more nuanced and practical model for the role of consent in sexual ethics (to say nothing of whether consent should even be the only relevant factor in this area).

Finally, I understand that under certain models, the entering into of institutions like marriage implies consent. This is a paradigm I will not address at this time. My aim at present is to lay out some potential issues with the feminist model of consent and to begin laying the groundwork here for a model that is better able to describe the tricky and seemingly illogical behavior of human beings while also retaining enough ethical weight so as to be of some use in guiding behavior during contested circumstances. I hope I even if I have not been wholly successful in that regard, I have achieved enough here so that there is room to refine and develop certain concepts in the future.

SPQR

Genealogical Musings and Hypothetical Solutions

Take up the White Man’s burden, Send forth the best ye breed
Go bind your sons to exile, to serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness, On fluttered folk and wild–
Your new-caught, sullen peoples, Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man’s burden, In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple, An hundred times made plain
To seek another’s profit, And work another’s gain.

Take up the White Man’s burden, The savage wars of peace–
Fill full the mouth of Famine And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly Bring all your hopes to nought.

“Take up the White Man’s burden, No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper, The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter, The roads ye shall not tread,
Go make them with your living, And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man’s burden And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better, The hate of those ye guard–
The cry of hosts ye humour (Ah, slowly!) toward the light:–
“Why brought he us from bondage, Our loved Egyptian night?”

Take up the White Man’s burden, Ye dare not stoop to less–
Nor call too loud on Freedom To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper, By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples Shall weigh your gods and you.

Take up the White Man’s burden, Have done with childish days–
The lightly proferred laurel, The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood, through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom, The judgment of your peers!

-Rudyard Kipling, The White Man’s Burden

The idea of The White Man’s burden is one that does not receive a pleasant reception in this day and age. Considered to be the supreme manifestation of the type of condescending white supremacism that receives so much hate these days, there are many who consider the concept to be a black mark on human history.

Of course, those who save the most hate for the idea are those who consider almost everything that white people have done to be some sort of black mark on human history. There really is no taste for nuance among that sort, though there is plenty of self-flagellation for the purpose of status signaling and a burning faith in the idea that we have progressed from those times and the only things standing in the way of more progress are religion, structural inequality, and the Koch brothers’ money.

Have we progressed though? On the surface, perhaps. But the underlying principles at play here have not changed. The White Man’s Burden has not gone away. In fact, it is still very much in vogue. Many nowadays still believe that white people have a moral duty to elevate the status of other races that lack the same station in life. It is just that in this day and age, affirmative action and sensitivity training are considered the appropriate methods of doing so, as opposed to colonialism.  “Social Justice” is the White Man’s Burden now.

So what’s going on? I think a deeper principle is at work here. I have recently been entertaining the notion that ideas never truly die, they merely take on different forms as time goes on (i.e. Libertarianism as the modern take on Anglo-Saxon common law, Hong Kong or Singapore as the modern take on the city-state…etc). I can’t help but think that this theory has some explanatory power in this situation…

So let us consider that “social justice” is the modern take on the White Man’s Burden. This opens up the implication that modern progressivism is a degenerate hybrid of Classical Liberalism combined with The White Man’s Burden, but it also brings up an interesting question: Why has the idea of The White Man’s Burden survived?

Some say that egalitarianism and corporatism are innate to Western Europeans, thanks to our long history of outbreeding. If this is true, it does not strike me as outside the realm of possibility that the White Man’s Burden is innate in Western Europeans as well (though the concept need not be innate in and of itself…it seems likely that the combination of corporatism and egalitarianism is sufficient enough to result in the feeling that one should take care of all men, not just one’s genetic kin).

Again, were this interpretation correct, it would seem that outbreeding is coming back to bite those of Western European heritage. The White Man’s Burden (and its modern incarnation, multicultural progressivism) are the Achilles Heel of Western Europeans. To my knowledge, no one has yet really directly addressed the troublesome implications that arise when one considers (let alone accepts) the idea that progressivism is innate to Western Europeans. Skirted at it, yes. Done a full assault on the topic, no.

It certainly raises some disturbing implications, especially for those who oppose the continued onslaught of progressivism.

Now, I personally don’t believe that innate predilections supremely dictate anything. Environmental influences certainly matter, and I think Western Europe’s long history of stable governance and reverence for authority shows that Western European Societies are not inevitably suicidal. Yet, innate preferences are a part of ones human capital and must be taken into assessment. When all is said and done, a society populated by Western Europeans will almost inevitably do very well, but the innate progressivism will have to be mitigated somehow…

I should reiterate at this point that this is merely a theory.  I do not wish to paint it as fact.  I think it prudent to take it into consideration nonetheless.

There is another implication of this idea that I also wish to discuss, for it has grave consequences. If an idea truly just manifests itself differently over time, that would also seem to imply that an idea can never truly be killed.  We might not be able to kill off progressivism no matter how hard we try.  What then?

If there is some sort of HBD component to certain ideas, we can’t necessarily rule out the possibility that r/K-selection factors in somehow. We may not ever truly be able to kill the idea of progressivism and equality, but it might be possible to create contexts in which it would be nigh impossible for progressivism and all its manifestations to gain a foothold. Such a context would need to exert significant pressure in order to promote K-selection while at the same time tempering the most destructive impulses of outbred Western Europeans (assuming that the population is derived from such stock). You might even want a context in which the level of outbreeding is lowered slightly (very slightly, for you wouldn’t want too much descent into clannish at risk of jeopardizing societal function).

Some have previously suggested space exploration as a means of facilitating such conditions, claiming that space is the ultimate K-selected environment. I have previously been skeptical of such ideas, but I have recently started to come around. The environment in Outer Space has the possibility to exert the kind of eugenic pressure I think could, over time, fundamentally change human nature itself, in ways that are consistent with reactionary ends.

So let’s think long-term here. Let’s get a little crazy. Let’s see what we can do about getting off this damn planet.

PER ASPERA AD ASTRA

The Legionnaire’s Perspective on Scottish Independence

As you are hopefully aware, Scotland is considering declaring independence from the United Kingdom, with a referendum on the matter occurring this Fall. I find it quite fitting that this is happening now. Nationalist sentiments always arise in periods of turmoil and prolonged uncertainty (a description which I think accurately conveys the past 10 years in European history). 2014 will also see the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, the historical event which essentially secured Scottish independence from England in the 14th Century. Needless to say, it was one of the most important events in Scottish history.

As much fun as it is to talk history though, I have noticed something unpleasant. It seems that every asshat brahmin now has an opinion on the matter, regardless of whether they can find Scotland on the map or not (I won’t even mention how obnoxious it is that every discussion of the matter seems fated to lapse into a string of quotes from the movie “Braveheart”).

I even know a few liberals who apparently can’t help but view the whole matter as some sort of oppressor/oppressed dynamic, and who have argued for Scottish independence on the grounds that the Scots are being oppressed by the English. I find this position laughable, given that Scotland and England were unofficially united in 1603 when a Scottish monarch ascended to the throne of England, not to mention that official unification happened a little over a century later in part because Scotland was after the fruits of English economic success to help assuage its own woes. In my book this makes it very hard to view the English as being the big, bad oppressors some people love to make them out to be.

I suppose the lesson here is that when all you have is one paradigm with which to view the world, you have to twist everything you see to fit that interpretation, though I won’t rule out the possibility that hatred for Anglo-Saxons just runs deep among the mygs.

The matter of Scottish independence is a subject that is of some interest to me, and so I thought I would be the first (that I know of) to give a Reactionary perspective on the matter. Long story short, I don’t think it’ll go over. Scotland gains a significant degree of economic and political clout because of its status in the UK, which has a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. The Pound Sterling is a strong currency, and the UK is a top-tier country in terms of global influence. It even has (arguably) one of the most valuable passports in the world.

Independence from the United Kingdom means that Scotland loses all of this accumulated economic and geopolitical influence. Scotland would lose significant global status, and there’s no guarantee it would be able to win much more than some of it back.  The possibility also exists that Scotland would have to renegotiate membership in organization like NATO and the United Nations. The odds that they would be shut out completely are negligible, but they would almost certainly be faced with a lower-level spot in the pecking order upon re-entry.

An independent Scotland wouldn’t necessarily have to give up the pound, but continued use of that currency would be contingent on a currency union with the UK, which would of course be dependent on the outcome of negotiations between the two entities. Rumor has it that certain high-level members of the UK government would be against such a thing were Scottish independence to become a reality, though the degree to which this is bluster designed to make Scotland back down is unclear. In any event, there is no guarantee that Scotland would be able to enjoy the continued use of the pound as its currency.

Of course, none of these things are hurdles that cannot be overcome. An independent Scotland could possibly win more influence and advantage for itself than it has currently. Negotiations with the EU, NATO, and the UK could all turn out in its favor. If it has to ditch the pound, that might even facilitate greater economic growth and turn out to be a blessing in disguise.  The possibilities are fairly open.  We must also bear in mind that the proportion of Scots who favor independence has steadily been growing. If trends continue, the majority of Scots will vote in favor of independence by the time of the referendum.

Despite all this though, I still don’t think Scotland will declare independence. At the end of the day, abstract arguments are irrelevant here. The vote count is the only thing that matters, and the numbers in favor of Scottish independence have stopped growing. They hit a ceiling about a month ago and they haven’t budged since. Barring some sort of drastic upheaval or catastrophe in the UK sometime in the next several months, I don’t believe the numbers in favor of Scottish independence will grow any further.

King Edward the First (aka Edward Longshanks) was depicted in the film “Braveheart” as man who hated the Scots and pushed faggots out of windows. While I disagree with him on both counts (I personally like the Scots, and my position on faggots is not particularly in favor of their defenestration), I do share his attitude toward Scottish independence.

As one who was born in London, I can’t help but be emotionally invested in the fate of the UK. Britain is in my bones, and Britain, as part of the UK, has much to lose. It could kiss goodbye to its chance to upgrade its credit rating, its permanent seat on the UN Security Council might be in jeopardy, and it would almost certainly lose some measure of global influence (not to mention the loss of Scottish tax revenue).

And yet, despite my misgivings, a part of me really does want Scotland to officially declare independence from the UK. It would be a magnificent and shining symbol of nationalism in a time which desperately needs some. It would be a ray of light in this twilight of Western Civilization, a beacon of pride and thumos that might inspire others to save what they can of the West while there is still time.

The UK is pretty much doomed. It may not be at the most risk for becoming a multicultural hellhole based on some measures, but I also don’t think it will take extreme enough measures in the time it has left to completely save itself. It will decline and decay, and if Scotland can jettison itself in time and save what it can of the soul of Britain, then I would consider that victory enough.

WHIT’S FUR YE’LL NO GO BY YE?

Quick thoughts on r/K selection and the future

I must admit, I am a bit of a fan of Anonymous Conservative‘s r/K-selection theory of politics. To say that I think it has some merit in describing our current political climate is a slight understatement, and I find it describes modern liberals quite well.

Yet, I do think the theory falters a bit when describing historical individuals with leftist tendencies. Men like George Orwell or the American Founding Fathers are not so easily described as r-selected.

Is this a problem with Anonymous Conservative’s theory? This is a possibility, though I think there is some equivocation going on here. Many “classical liberals” would be described today as perhaps Libertarian (though a small few might profess beliefs akin to, but less refined than, Techno-Commercialist Neoreactionaries). The comparison is of course by no means exact, though I think it holds some validity.

Additionally, because Cthulu always swims left, many individuals who have historically be on the left would nowadays find themselves on the right, though it is unclear what problems, if any, this poses for Anonymous Conservative’s theory.

Nonetheless, I still posit that the K-selected liberal is no unicorn, that it is a real thing, though a thing that may nowadays only manifest itself in what are essentially negligible numbers.

The modern progressive is a different beast altogether. A warped descendent of the classical liberal, it is this specimen that pervades the left-wing of modern US politics. It is this type of liberal that is so well described by Anonymous Conservative’s theory.

I have a tendency to view the rise of the r-type progressives as part of a historical pattern that has played itself out many times before. However, I would like to propose a hypothesis that we have departed from the historical pattern, and we now have as a feature of our society more r-types than has ever been possibly in previous eras.

I base this hypothesis off the observation that r-types tend to live off of the wealth that K-types inevitably accumulate as they build, maintain, and improve society. The United States has been one of the wealthiest and most prosperous societies in the history of the world, and we thus have had more room for an “r-load” unprecedented in human history.

This arrangement offers plenty of room for disaster if something bad happens, though, as r-types are fairy useless in crisis situations. Will something bad happen? I am agnostic on this point. I merely recognize that the potential for catastrophe here is orders of magnitude higher than what any sane person ought to be comfortable with.

I do try to avoid making specific predictions here, so I will simple state that some sort of upheaval with consequences that become utterly exacerbated by the prevalence of r-type progressives is one of several paths that the US (and greater Western Civilization as a whole) might take. Still, it is a possibility, one that all those with a stake in the future would indeed be wise to prepare for.

UPDATE: Intuitive Reason gives his own thoughts on the matter in a great comment I think is well worth the read:

“I believe AC touches on this himself in his latest piece on the veterans of various wars — the US (and most western democracies) are becoming more r-select over time. It’s an inherent function of urbanisation, and nowhere more evident that in the heart of large cities. Of course, this is exacerbated by wars eliminating many K-select men. Experiencing no shortage of resource, r-selection inevitably thrives because it is what works.

K-selection thrives on the frontier. I suspect that the great expansions into North America, and later Australia, produced significantly K-selected societies in those nations, for that period of expansion. Then, as those places urbanised, r-selection took over.

One of the interesting aspects of British culture is the tendency for those with an abundance of resource to deny their children access to that — creating an artificial K-select environment if you will.

Today, with r-selection dominant, law after law is being enacted sheltering individuals from consequence and lack, accelerating the r-selection dominance. It is to the point where it is becoming difficult to rear a child in an artificially K-select manner.

Another thought is that the tendency of war to lead to r-selection occurs solely in the instance where war occurs elsewhere than the homeland. If the homeland is overrun, the r-select are preferentially killed off, and the K-select of whichever side ends up winning rebuild in an expansive and K-selecting environment.

Maybe Russia was onto something in forcing its rabbits to fight, sandwiched between certain death on both sides.”

SPQR

Seducing the Red Queen…

Time: 10:30 AM, Friday, April 4, 2014.

My wrist is absolutely shot. Anything more than a modicum of pressure on it whatsoever causes absolute agony. One of the heads of my quadriceps is almost definitely pulled. My knees aren’t yet crying out, but I can sense that the tensile strength in my ligaments isn’t up to par at the moment. My ankles are stiffening up, and my left shoulder is beginning to feel the strain of climbing up to these rooftops and doing tabata intervals with shadow-boxing.

Superficial ailments, all of them, but I can feel them beginning to slow me down. How did it come to this?

My lack of weight-lifting and other heavy exercise over the past few months has made me weak. My muscles and joints can no longer take the stress I put on them when I find the time to do some parkour or practice some martial arts. Yet because I refuse to take it easy on myself, I am doing the same things I was doing back in December, when I was much stronger than I am now. What I am doing is putting my body through a gauntlet that it is no longer prepared to undertake.

The nutrient-poor diet in this country probably doesn’t help. It’ll be nice to get back to the States again, where meat and eggs are aplenty, and I am not bombarded with bread and sugar, which together probably constitute about 70% of the diet here…

After a good meal out, and a solid 12 hours of sleep, everything seems to be back to normal, though I’m still feeling the wrist a bit when I move it around. The body’s capacity for recovery (especially at my young age) never fails to amaze me. I know I won’t be able to fully appreciate it until around 30 or so, when I will start to slow down, but I do my best now to make the most of it.

There’s a lesson to be heeded here. If you’re not progressing, you’re regressing. This is true not just for physical strength and endurance, but also for traits like knowledge, moral fiber, and discipline.

Now imagine this dynamic played out over an entire population. In a culture that prizes comfort over challenge, and entertainment over achievement, everyone is regressing in some form. It’s reached the point in the US where the quest to stave off his decline is a decent litmus test for being a part of The Natural Aristocracy.

But I digress. My point is that a society that does not incentivize its population to continually be pushing themselves for the better will witness a degeneration of their human capital (an effect that will likely be compounded if those with the most potential and capability breed at lower rates than. Yet, perhaps I overreach on this point. It might be more accurate to say that people push themselves are far as they are forced to, and no further. If you force less upon them, most will simply force themselves to do and be less, and you will see the quality of your human capital decline.

How can you force your population to do and be more? One way is to have high standards of behavior implicit in your social and societal norms. The stricter the norms, the higher the standard of behavior (though it should be noted that there is probably a point at which this becomes self-defeating, as more and more people give up on trying to meet increasingly rigid social norms).

What should be noted here is that the alteration of social norms does not necessarily lead to lower expectations for a minimum standard of behavior. Social norms can be changed to something of equal severity. The outright deconstruction and/or deconstruction of social norms though, does lead to a reduction in the standards of behavior, and so reduces the quality of your human capital. In this way, the removal of social norms hurts, rather than helps, society at large.

I would like to reiterate that this is not necessarily an argument against the alteration of social norms. Sometimes societal context changes enough to require such a thing (massive technological innovation, for example, can have an incredibly disruptive impact on existing norms). A static society is a dying society, and is subject to the Red Queen hypothesis just as much as any animal species or human individual.

This is a warning that if you value functional society, it is most unwise to alter social norms to those that do not provide equal or greater levels of societal stability. This is a warning that those who would do away with social norms are liable to doom us all. This is a warning that altering social norms is akin to altering the DNA of an animal: necessary for the species to adapt and survive, but a necessity that offers far more room for disaster than for success.

CONIUNCTUS VIRIBUS

Freedom, Eugenics, and Human Nature

A lot of ideas come to mind when most people hear the name “America”. One of the first thing that often comes up (especially among a more right-leaning crowd) is the idea of “Freedom”. The word itself is heavy with implications. So-called “conservatives” love it, and libertarians have to resist the urge to touch themselves when they hear it.

Neoreactionaries are of course a bit more skeptical. The general consensus is that “Freedom” can be a good thing when granted to the right people, but that it is far from The Supreme Good. Freedom needs to be properly mitigated.

Here at “The Legionnaire”, the idea of “Freedom” is something that we feel ought to be reserved for The Natural Aristocracy, with conditional privileges for everyone else (though if we’re being honest, said Aristocracy would perhaps more accurately described as having a greater number of privileges, which would be counterbalanced by greater responsibilities, but I digress).

Regardless, it seems that the idea of having “Freedom” is tied somehow into the idea of being an American. Yet, I can’t help but think that the current American concept of “Freedom” is incredibly warped. “Freedom” used to be thought of as something that had to be earned. The basic idea of the “American Dream” was that you could earn “Freedom” through hard work, sacrifice, and economic success.

What we have now is freedom through distraction. Freedom through entertainment is the new American Dream. Why bother manifesting that rugged pioneer spirit when all you need is Buzzfeed and Netflix? The new season of “Game of Thrones” starts soon. Until then, why not turn on CNN and keep up on the latest details about Malaysian airplanes and celebrity diets? The media circus is just that, and we’re the clowns.

The choir of the Cathedral is singing, why not lose yourself in the music?

Freedom isn’t free. It has to be purchased with power and balanced with responsibility. Freedom freely given leads only to ruin. A society that hands out freedom without significant caveats will inevitably tear itself apart.

With the right population and context, freedom can be used to facilitate incredible dynamism and brilliant innovation. The type of creative destruction that propels society to new and uncharted requires a certain degree of “Freedom” to act as a catalyst. In the right context, “Freedom” most certainly is a good.

In the wrong context, “Freedom” is a curse.

Those ideologies that promote greater “Freedom” could only have any semblance of success if enacted among populations capable of handling “Freedom”. Some use this as a criticism of those ideologies. I suppose that’s fair, but I find it more interesting to think about how one could such a population as necessary to make those ideologies work.

There are two options I see. The first is to start a new society from scratch, and take great care to be exceedingly careful about who you let in. This is by far a more practical approach, and should be considered if you wish to see results at some point in your life.

The second is to engineer your population to be able to handle freedom. In other words, eugenics. Breed your population to be able to handle greater and greater levels of freedom. This can be done either by setting up societal incentives so that they apply eugenic pressure (something which any society with an interest in surviving ought to do), or by applying a strict eugenics program.

Either way you choose (and frankly, the first one is the only option that has a chance of not going horribly wrong somewhere…), this sort of thing would probably take at least a few thousand years to achieve the desired effects. It is in no way a short term-project, and the fact that humans can’t really think about lengths of time that long all but guarantees that as the generations pass, those tasked with implementing it will lose sight of the eventual goal.

If it could be managed though, should it be done?

I am not necessarily advocating such a thing, but I’m not necessarily condemning it either. It’s an interesting possibility, and I think if it could be done on such a scale, there’s no reason to think that similar efforts couldn’t run up against the boundaries of human nature itself.

Consider how several hundred years can make a big difference in relative levels of corporateness/clannishness. Imagine what could happen in a few thousand years if you were breeding for other traits. Who’s to say that the things we consider intrinsic to human nature might not manifest themselves in ways that are downright alien to our current sensibilities?

Frankly, I doubt this sort of thing is possible. If human nature could be changed or even transcended, anything is possible. In practice, the results would more likely be dystopian than utopian (this is essentially guaranteed if a eugenics program is put into place). Still, this sort of thing might offer opportunity to escape the historical cycles that dictate the inevitability of certain events in human history…

What might humanity do if it was capable of anything?

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