The latest at Oz Conservative–‘Ginsburg on Feminism’–makes for superb reading.
Of particular note, was the implication that Liberalism–specifically, it’s primary offshoot in individual autonomy–has made individuals less free. Here, I wanted to draw out this theme.
It is necessary to outline a working definition of freedom. (Of course, there are various other good (and bad) denotations of freedom). But in this post, freedom shall mean the individual and community’s capacity to exercise control over their political and cultural landscape.
As individual autonomy has increased, proportionately in turn, individual bonds to family, community, place, nation, culture and religion have decreased. We are a part of less and belong to less.
Patrick Deneen’s description follows: the liberated individual is “subject to the sovereign trajectory of the very forces that are embraced as the tools of our liberation” (page 17 of ‘Why Liberalism Failed’).
Being “subject to the sovereign trajectory” suggests we have ceded agency to all-powerful elites; that Liberalism has undermined our freedom to shape political and cultural circumstances. Under a fair assessment, this view holds up.
For upon yielding individual attachments (again), to family, community, place, nation, culture and religion, we’re left with little collective basis to resist radical change: nefarious, ubiquitous trends imposed from the top-down. These include homosexuality, technology, non-Western immigration and other widely destructive developments. Obviously collectives, as opposed to individuals, wield greater influence on how politics and culture shall proceed. As I’ve said previously:
Because the collective is more substantial in number than the individual, it necessarily derives further rights and importance.
The collective is the sum of many individuals; the individual is merely the sum of himself. It is therefore our impotence to justify changes on the grounds of “as a White person… as a Christian… as an Australian… as a Male,” that leaves us as powerless resistors.
Furthermore, if individual autonomy–namely, the capacity to have more sex, consume tastier food, buy cheaper goods, drink more and live materially comfortable lives–is paramount, there are little grounds to complain: descriptively, modern society has provided all of them. In this respect, Liberalism offers a seemingly endless set of choices; but only those which pertain to trivial matters.
Individuals pursuing whichever desire they happen to have–in line with individual autonomy–is antithetical to formulating and pursuing a common good: which requires consideration, deliberation and a measured response. How can we be considered free, when the primary axiom of modern life, renders our best interests–the common good–an alien concept?
In short, Liberalism diminishes freedom through dismantling group identity and by averting individuals from its pursuit.
Given this inherent Liberal tendency, it is perhaps unsurprising the greatest tools of mass socialisation and mind control–Amazon, Google, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter–have emerged. In place of now-extinguished local and regional sources of guidance, have arisen these almighty institutions.
And as these institutions grow in influence, they (silently) coerce us towards mass conformity with elite, Leftist values. (Big Tech’s war against the Right is an entire subject in of itself. For brevity’s sake, this includes but is not limited to: Google’s manipulation of search algorithms; Twitter, Facebook and Youtube’s bias against conservatives; Amazon’s banning of books.)
Such coercion is obfuscated by the ever-improving and efficient products offered. By fostering these insatiable desires, Tech oligarchs distract and deracinate the general public, so to secure societal stability and thus reliable profits.
While it furthers short-sighted, hedonistic expressions of freedom; Liberalism ensures political and cultural thraldom to a detached, despotic elite. Such is a long way from freedom, in the sense of an individual or community exercising control over their political and cultural landscape.