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Personal Freedom Beats Political Freedom

jroselandApr 28, 2020, 5:10:36 PM

The real downside to the COVID-19 pandemic is the global contraction of basic freedoms.

In the United States constitution, the founding fathers outlined our...

Freedom of speech

Freedom of religion

Freedom of the press

Right to peaceably assemble

Right to bear arms

Property rights to be secure in our “effects” - our possessions (I’m pretty sure this would include our modern-day smartphones)

Presumed innocence until proven guilty in court

Freedom of movement in the public space

And many of the American constitutional rights have been adopted by many other countries around the world. As clever internet memes have pointed out, the founding fathers enshrined these as inalienable rights, not as suggestions.

The constitution DOES NOT say

All these rights can just be thrown away if there’s a scary virus.

They imbued us with an unprecedented amount of freedom because they understood that freedom demands responsibility. If these rights were to be respected, the state would have to be very risk-averse, and could not enact dysgenic policies harmful to general intelligence, that would systemically harm the moral discipline of the people.

Of course, now we see all these basic freedoms being constricted, not just in the United States, but globally. The current lockdowns will likely be lifted in the coming weeks or months, but the infringement of basic rights will stick around and probably get worse. There's all this tentative policy involving having flying drones and smartphone apps policing social distancing and tracking everyone who we might meet, we are facing Dues Ex levels of technologically mediated tyranny. It's really scary!

As I talked about in my podcast reviewing the book At Our Wits’ End, civilizationally we're entering a dark age because of declining global general intelligence, but there's good reason to be optimistic that it will be a short dark age, I don't think it will be like the dark ages that ensued after the collapse of the Roman empire or the advanced antediluvian civilization that was taken out by an asteroid strike about 12,000 years ago. This dark age will present the opportunity for the resurgence of philosophical robust freedom, it may serve as a cleansing fire, it will be the bad times that make strong men, and I'm optimistic that the descendants of those strong men can be the humans that reach the stars. But first, there's going to be greater tyranny as we slide into this dark age, I'm not worried that we will face Soviet Union levels of total tyranny, but I predict that in our lives we'll be subjected to moderate political tyranny.

Let me tell you a funny story about tyranny...

My wife's father grew up in communist Bulgaria and one day he was, quite literally, tyrannized by the fashion police. As a young man with a lot of swagger, he was proudly strolling down the boulevard rockin' some snazzy leather pants that he got in Prague. A policeman stopped him on the street, asked him where he got the pants, and then took out a pair of scissors, and actually cut his awesome leather pants off him! They did this because the communists enforced equality by demanding that everybody dressed in a drab, plain fashion. They didn't beat him up or throw him in a gulag, but they harshly oppressed his expression and individuality.

Nobody polices "tatko's" swagger now!

I think this is analogous to the kind of tyranny we will face in the future. I'm not really worried about being imprisoned in FEMA camp, but I think we'll have to deal with the technologically mediated oppression of our free expression and ideologically enforced suppression of human brilliance and beauty.

We should, of course, organize and push back against this however we can, but, let me give you a reason for hope in a time of declining freedom...

Personal and interpersonal freedom matters more than political freedom in living a good life.

When you take extreme ownership of the things that you can control; your health, your relationships, and your work, you can live a good and meaningful life, even in a time of tyranny. I would much rather live in a state of moderate tyranny, like in communist Yugoslavia, for example, and...

Have a loving, happy wife

Be on good terms with my family

Have good friends

Do fulfilling work

Be in good health

Be spiritually fulfilled

Than live in Switzerland and...

Be stuck with a tyrannical domestic partner

Have a totally dysfunctional family life

Be in bad health

Be addicted to drugs or alcohol

Be a hopeless nihilistic hedonist

Now, of course, we're much more likely to lead a better life the more politically free we are, but the personal and interpersonal freedom that results from having high standards and discipline in our regards to our health, relationships, and work have a much greater impact on our lives than the government and laws that rule us.

So do what you can to maintain your political freedoms, but understand that you'll get much more bang for your buck out of personal growth efforts. As the Idiocracy intensifies and we advance into the final chapters of Altas Shrugged, view life as a comedy and not a tragedy, surround yourself with really great people and step up your investment in your health, and you'll be all the more empowered to contribute to a real golden age of humanity, which even now, I think, beckons at the end of a dark tunnel, that we're sliding into.

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Who should I interview next on my podcast? Someone with some interesting expertise in health, science, and mindset?

Vigorously anti-viral,

Jonathan Roseland