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?



2 thoughts on “Freedom, Eugenics, and Human Nature

  1. Michael Schleyer 04/06/2014 / 1:19 PM

    Reblogged this on Struggling with Modernity and commented:
    Outstanding post from The Legionnaire. Folks, always remember, freedom is not free.

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