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Forced to be Free:
The Case for Paternalism

Rousseau

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

626 words

Spanish translation here

Paternalism means treating people like children. Children lack the maturity and wisdom to make their own decisions. Thus they need parents — or people playing the paternal role — to tell them what to do and, on occasion, to force them to do it.

Most people have no problem with paternalism when dealing with actual children, as well as the retarded, the senile, and the insane. But normal adults bristle at paternalism, even though we all act like children from time to time. Paternalism, they think, is incompatible with freedom.

I wish to argue, however, that there is no conflict between paternalism and freedom, provided that both terms are properly understood.

First of all, real paternalism has to be “for your own good,” i.e., in the actual interest of its object. People might claim to be abridging the liberty of others to help them, when in reality they are concerned to benefit only themselves. But that is fake rather than real paternalism. Real paternalism must be in the interest of its objects. Real paternalism is a kindness. Fake paternalism is merely a crime.

Second, there are true and false forms of freedom as well. Most people will agree that freedom is doing what you want to do. But what do we want to do? On this matter, I follow Plato and Aristotle, who argued that we all want basically one thing: the good life, happiness, self-actualization, or well-being (eudaimonia). That is the ultimate aim of every particular action. Every choice, whether we know it or not, is made in pursuit of the good life as we see it.

Thus if freedom is doing what we really want, and we all really want a good life, then living a good life is freedom. This implies that if we choose to do things that are not conducive to the good life, we are not acting freely, for doing things we don’t really want to do is unfreedom.

In other words, not every voluntary act is a free one. We are free when we pursue the good life (what we really want). We are unfree when we fail to pursue the good life (which we don’t really want to do).

There are two basic causes of unfreedom. First, there is ignorance of what is really conducive to happiness. We might think that smoking 20 cigarettes a day will make us happy, but it won’t. Second, there are occasions when we know perfectly well what will make us happy but we fail to do it because we are overcome by our emotions. We fear doing the right thing, or we find doing the wrong thing too pleasurable to resist.

We might choose to act out of ignorance or passion. We might even feel free when doing so. But if such actions are not conducive to the good life, they are not free, they are a form of bondage. Paternalism, therefore, can restore freedom by forcing us to stop throwing away our happiness out of ignorance or passion. Since freedom is doing what we really want, and we can be forced back onto that path, man can be forced to be free, as Jean-Jacques Rousseau put it so memorably.

This means that libertarianism, which claims that freedom is incompatible with paternalism, and that force is always the opposite of freedom, is simply wrong. If you really care about freedom, then the state should, in principle, have the power to paternalistically intervene when people are throwing away their freedom out of lack of knowledge or excess of feeling. One can debate the grounds and scope of such paternalistic interventions. But the principle is clear: paternalism is not an enemy of real freedom but one of its necessary guardians.

 

 

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49 Comments

  1. Posted May 27, 2015 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    That does not matter. They should never have been brought here in the first place. And they were not brought here for their own good.

    So now altruistic paternslism must be completely self-sacrificial? Is that one of its distinguishing characteristics? What are the others? What makes it different from regulated slavery?

    Well obviously there were folks that thought there were plenty of good reasons to bring them here. And, now that they are here, you would argue we owe them completely self-sacrificing paternslism where we get nothing in return? Or free trips back to Africa? The latter certainly isn’t in their best interest. Certainly we engendered obligation in the act of their removal. If we didn’t then no real wrong was committed and they were in fact elevated by their enslavement and it was in fact paternslism.

  2. Posted May 27, 2015 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Not all of us are bought and sold by people who merely regard us as means to their own ends. Slavery is egoistic and exploitative toward its objects. Paternalism is altruistic.

    The Southerners explicitly framed it as altruistic paternslism! It was. Are you accusing them of being disingenuous?

    You should take a read through Slavery Defended. There is a very interesting essay in there by a Northern minister who visited a slave sale in a Southern courthouse. I won’t spoil it by giving away the ending.

    Furthermore, the existing system of wage slavery can only be said to be more guilty of your charge than the Southern system of domestic slavery. And worse, there’s a sinister ethos being passed around large corporations where even more responsibility for administration of their own chains is passed down the ladder to lower level employees. Sickening executives giving lectures to peons and janitors about self-actualizing and ‘fulfillment’.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted May 27, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I am accusing Southerners of being as mean as Yankees and twice as disingenuous.

      • Posted May 27, 2015 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        So Blacks are better off now? Or worse?

        What are the distinguishing marks of altruistic paternalism? What marks it off as distinct from Southern slavery or other forms of domestic slavery? Is slavery incompatible with paternalism?

        • Greg Johnson
          Posted May 27, 2015 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

          That does not matter. They should never have been brought here in the first place. And they were not brought here for their own good.

  3. Steve
    Posted May 27, 2015 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Greg, although I agree with everything you have written here, I confess to being unsure as to what it is you truly believe. On the one hand, you will write an article like this one, essentially expressing your belief in objective truth, then you’ll do a podcast and say that what you want is a racially homogenous liberal society (“nice white society”), where subjects like abortion are still open to debate. This appears inconsistent, as the basis of a liberal society is a refusal to assert objective truth.

    On a related note, I must say how dispiriting it is too see so many commentators on a “far right” site unwilling to submit to any notion of the common good. Truly, once the passions are unleashed they are hard to put back in the bottle again.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted May 27, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      I don’t think that liberalism is necessarily based on moral skepticism. Indeed, no political movement can really defend itself at all if it is based on moral skepticism.

      I think there is a correct answer to most moral and political questions. I am a “liberal” not because I think that the questions you list can’t be answered, but because I think that they are not important compared to the issue of white survival, which is really the only political absolute worth pursuing.

      As a White Nationalist, I think we will make more progress with a one issue movement than with some sort of Right-wing package deal. Which is not to say that I have no views on these issues, and that I do not express my views, but just that I do not insist that other people subscribe to them to be White Nationalists. The same is true of my argument on paternalism. I offered that argument because I want to make clear that libertarian individualism is an untenable position. One can be forced to be free, so the game is up, libertarians.

      Beyond that, in the pluralistic WN society I envision, even though we will be arguing about abortion, there will still be an abortion law on the books of one sort or another.

  4. Verliss
    Posted May 27, 2015 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    One just needs a simple syllogism:

    So let’s see.

    Music leads men towards happiness/self-actualization/well-being/the good life.
    All men really desire happiness/self-actualization/well-being/the good life.
    Verlis is a man.

    Therefore Verlis’ parents were justified in forcing him to practice the piano every day for eight torturous years.

    Sorry, I ain’t buying it. I did come away from it with musical skills for which I’m grateful despite my severe displeasure about what I was put through, but I can’t help but wish I had spent those eight years doing something I really – not “really” – wanted to do.

    I’m sorry if that sounds snarky. I’m no libertarian. I happen to think a state ought to take an interest in what its citizens do with their lives and to intervene in order to promote certain ends and prevent (or at least discourage) others. But people are not wrong to be concerned about the degree of intervention involved.

    For the time being I’m not comfortable with anything that goes beyond what I think of as the “promotion/permission principle.” That is a state ought to promote the social ends it favors, but it must permit the social ends it disfavors. Rather than bemoaning what it disfavors, the state should throw its energies into promoting what it favors, and hope that this promotion is able to overcome people’s attractions to social ends the state disfavors. In order to achieve favored social ends, the state may persuade, coax, cajole, incentivize, inspire and so on, but it should refrain from forcing. Unless I’m convinced otherwise, I am going to continue to think so.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted May 27, 2015 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      There are problems with your argument because you are talking about paternal paternalism directed at a child, not state paternalism directed at an adult. But you are still making an important point. I do think that music is part of a good life, but not everyone has the aptitude to play it, and some of those who do might be even more apt at other things. What we all really want is happiness, understood as Plato and Aristotle understood it as self-actualization in accordance with virtue (and the common good). But not every self has the same potentialities to actualize, and that is where individuality comes into play.

      However, when one is growing up and being educated, one does not know one’s self and its potentialities, and to learn about and unlock those powers, one must try and apply oneself to different things. That requires work and risk, and if we leave it up to individual decisions (the decisions of children), they might not discover and develop their real talents. This is why we don’t let children (or their parents, for that matter) do decide not to get a 1-12 education. Given the very low level of music education in the Anglo-Saxon world, I think there are probably 100 students who would really benefit from piano lessons for every present day student who feels tortured by them.

      I think that the state should force children to do to school, and parents to send them, not just exhort them to do so.

      I think that the state should force people to contribute to social welfare programs (in effect, to buy insurance and save for old age), not merely strongly suggest it.

      I think even the most liberal-minded among us can come up with a fairly robust list of things that should be mandated, not just encouraged.

      • Verlis
        Posted May 28, 2015 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        I think that the state should force people to contribute to social welfare programs (in effect, to buy insurance and save for old age), not merely strongly suggest it.

        Okay, but I thought we were talking about the good life as it is experienced by the individual. Contributions to social welfare have the quality of one-off acts rather than life-long progressive self-actualization. It’s the effect of state paternalism on this that most concerns me; and not just of any particular policy – eg the state’s experts determine that Verlis would be best fitted for such and such and therefore he’ll be forced into it – but the broad or cumulative sociocultural effects of living under state paternalism.

        I think even the most liberal-minded among us can come up with a fairly robust list of things that should be mandated, not just encouraged.

        Robust yes, but it might not be as extensive as you’d like.

    • Jaego
      Posted May 27, 2015 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

      I agree with your concept of promotion vs permission . Society needs its non-conformists. They are both the proof of its freedom and sometimes the cure of its ills – from conformity to lack of free speech up to and including tyranny. Most will just be immature of course – following their own ideas of freedom. Hopefully we can invite them back in as they get older and wiser. Definitely want avoid people getting the mentality of “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” Not all people mature at the same rate after all.

  5. Posted May 27, 2015 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    Really Greg?

    What’s the difference? Paternalism is slavery.

    No. I’m not. I believe we are all enslaved. It’s merely a matter of administration.

    I’m all for slavery/paternalism. Perhaps you could make it more clear for me how the two differ brah?

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted May 27, 2015 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Not all of us are bought and sold by people who merely regard us as means to their own ends. Slavery is egoistic and exploitative toward its objects. Paternalism is altruistic.

  6. Julian
    Posted May 27, 2015 at 1:45 am | Permalink

    Excellent article and subject of thought. I actually agree in the entirety.

    There are some other considerations and implications that I think might worth adding as commentator, and I don’t expect you to necessarily agree. Do to the nature of the subject not all aspects will be pursued to their logical endpoint, as we are speaking about a new political system.

    For starters, certainly the modern capitalist liberal democracies do impose certain restrictions in the name of “freedom”. We have political correctness which imposes limits on our speech and our thoughts regardless of whether or not there is something true to say. We have a materialistic, and overall, decadent culture, whose aspects are social norms. To go against these norms is socially disadvantageous and exclusionary, therefore limited through persuasion, fear/reward. Further, even within a left/right paradigm, one is always voting in capitalist-liberal-democracy scheme. We don’t vote for different systems, we vote for variations on a system.

    So, any structure(and there will always be one) is always delineating parameters of the form which invariably influence the content. The question at hand is to best calibrate the system to all variables in order to maximize the freedom(while accepting and agreeing with your definition) of all individuals. This means that any individual freedoms can only be extended as far as they don’t negatively infringe upon another’s individual freedoms. We know this as the commonwealth. Our current system quite clearly infringes on these basic rights in regards to just about everything in order to make a buck. As above, so below.

    Now for the implications. How do we ensure that a system maximizes the self-actualization of all individuals without infringing on the commonwealth, ie the promised freedom afforded to others? It all starts with the child. The child must be exposed to, not indoctrinated with belief systems. A child must be guaranteed a safe and supportive learning environment. A child must be guided by the State to find it’s true strengths and not forced to excel in it’s weaknesses while completely shunning it’s strengths. When these strengths are found, the 10, 000 hours needed to become an expert in this field must be guaranteed by the State. Whether a child was born into a rich or poor family ought not weigh in on this procedure. Society must be in the business of producing experts geared towards enlightened self-interest and the commonwealth, and not just one or the other. Capitalism must be limited by imposing social capitalism, for example. Banks must be nationalized or at least regulated by governments, and not the other way around. Much can be said about all of this.

    If society indoctrinates a child to any end, it must be the most authentic end, ie forcing a child to see it’s true self. This will of course vary from child to child. The premise is the same(as are the results), but the details are always different. By providing this freedom, a child is no longer forced to “make connections”, or otherwise alter it’s behavior just to be socially acceptable, or to make money. True freedom provides true diversity of skills and expertise, not the sort of diversity that forces a citizenry to accept the upheaval of all values just for economic migration to line the pockets of some fat cat. After all, true freedom is also to respect the culture and identity of a people and their environment. I personally would be willing to find out what the best is that a people has to offer, rather than divulging in a nihilistic, scientifically, materialistic, cynicism.

  7. The Night Porter
    Posted May 26, 2015 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Thousands of years of history and countless modern “social” studies indicate that the homosexual lifestyle is destructive to both its practitioners and, more importantly, to society at large. No sane society would entertain the notion of gay marriage or gay adoption, and no society expect one steep decline would elevate homosexuality into a collective cause celebre. I suppose Greg Johnson would be fine with the state forcing homosexuals to be free by prohibiting the unfree exercise of homosexual activity? For their own good and ours, of course.

    But Greg Johnson doesn’t want me to smoke because it offends his Esalen-San Francisco sensibilities. In 2001 I predicted that in the future there would be smoke-free gay weddings. What I never expected is that a leading intellectual of the so-called Right would be in attendance.

    Please. This is straight up sophistry, and not very good sophistry. Here is the unfounded leap (worthy of Strauss in its cunning BS):

    “Thus if freedom is doing what we really want, and we all really want a good life, then living a good life is freedom. This implies that if we choose to do things that are not conducive to the good life, we are not acting freely, for doing things we don’t really want to do is unfreedom.”

    Put simply, no, it does not imply not acting freely anymore than not engaging in political life implies being less than human. These are the old arguments of tyrants. Standing up to this kind of nonsense is partly what defines being free men. The only response to this post is FY, buddy.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted May 27, 2015 at 3:31 am | Permalink

      Another snarky rant from a lover of freedumb. Sophistry does not just mean an argument you don’t like. It means an argument that is invalid or unsound. If my argument is invalid or unsound, prove it. Don’t just assert it. If you would reign in your rhetoric, you would force yourself to think more clearly.

      • Theodore
        Posted May 27, 2015 at 7:02 am | Permalink

        As stated above, I agree with the overall premise of this piece. I do appreciate Greg’s reply to my first comment, and I agree that Socrates’ arguments, as related by Plato, have power. I still have some problems, which is perhaps where some of the outrage here is coming from. I guess the problem is the assumption that Person A can decide for Person B what B “really wants.” This perhaps reminds some of the maternalism (not paternalism) of today’s multicultural society, in which we are peddled a Frankfurt School image of “the good life.” This is why I still maintain that subjective values have a place in the argument, and that society> individual rights also have a place.

        For example, a socially awkward White omega male may make the argument that the “good life” for him is marrying a Chinese woman, rather than “marrying” his own right hand. Image a person labeled by his own mother “a member of the awkward squad” (a quote from one prominent HBD writer), who is unable to establish a long-term relationship with a woman of his own race. What’s the “good life” here? Does not the person have a valid argument in favor of his own personal miscegenation? Can we argue that he “really wants” to be alone? Don’t we have to invoke the good of society here, according to a value system which promotes group genetic and cultural continuity?

        On the other hand, just as some may have an innate negative view of paternalistic arguments, I similarly object to libertarian-freedom arguments. In today’s world, so-called “free men” want their freedom, but do not want the responsibility that comes with it. They also don’t respect the freedom of others. Thus, smokers are very touchy about their freedom to smoke, and embittered against any action against that freedom. On the other hand, when such people come down with health problems related to their habit (and the same applies to fat slobs with their obesity), then, suddenly, it is the responsibility of society to help them. In come the medical professionals, previously scorned for their anti-smoking advice, in come the insurance companies, to pay for these treatments, in come all the burdens imposed on society. Also, if smokers have the freedom to smoke, do non-smokers have the right not to be forced to breathe in the tobacco fumes emitted by others? Freedom cuts in both directions. If smokers were willing to accept the responsibility for smoking-related health issues, and if they were careful to respect the respiratory rights of others, then, by all means, smoke away. The more the better. Unfortunately, that’s not how things work out. Similar to Big Business and immigration, all the “freedom uber alles” types want to privatize the benefits of their freedoms, while socializing the costs.

        • Greg Johnson
          Posted May 27, 2015 at 11:58 am | Permalink

          I need to write an essay on the insanity of determining social policy based on a half-remembered impression of Romeo and Juliet. Indeed, even in the play the parents were right and Fr. Laurence wrong. In truth, the human heart is far more plastic and pragmatic than Romantics would allow. There is not one perfect soulmate for you out there and to think that there (and that you have found him or her) is just adolescent, romantic silliness. Thus to legislate that people can’t marry outside their race isn’t going to break any hearts (and so what if it did — since the common good needs to prevail here).

          Typically white miscegenators don’t just happen to find the one perfect person outside their race, they look outside their race because they can get better quality partners than they could get within their race. In Seattle and San Francisco, I see dorky white men paired up with Asian females who, if they were white, would be out of these mens’ league in terms of thinness, attractiveness, poise, and style. But because they are Asian, they are willing to marry up, even to a man who is relatively unattractive by white standards. (When I see handsome, athletic white men paired with Asians, I just assume that their shortcomings are not visible in their street clothes.) If miscegenation were stopped, then the dorky white men who marry Asians would have to settle for the fat white chicks who end up marrying blacks and Mexicans. Problem solved.

          And if the occasional white woman insists that she has found her soulmate in Jamaica, she should stay there. If the occasional white man insists that he has found his soulmate in China, then he should stay there.

          • Theodore
            Posted May 27, 2015 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

            I agree with your assessment of why White men go with Asians:

            http://lynnfraud.blogspot.com/2014/03/a-smv-based-theory-on-yellow-fever.html

            Given female hypergamy, a typical HBD dork would be lucky even to get a White female orca. However, he can get a reasonably attractive Asiatic.
            Derbyshire’s take:
            “It is the common opinion of mankind that life has no greater blessing than a contented and enduring marriage. It is my extraordinary good fortune to be so blessed, in spite of bearing the burden of a contrary and antisocial personality.”

            That’s not the picture of a man who can attract any sort of high-quality White woman.

          • Theodore
            Posted May 27, 2015 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

            ” since the common good needs to prevail here”

            I agree, but here we have moved away from “the good life” for the individual and have moved to the firmer ground of “individuals may need to make sacrifices for the good of society.” One may have to do without the more attractive Asian and settle for an unattractive White. I still see the problem here as the assertion that paternalism will always yield the best outcome for the individual (whether they know it or not). No need to invoke ideas of a “soulmate” – the point is that, from a purely aracial perspective, telling a Derb type he needs to settle for a Lena Dunham rather than a Zhang Ziyi is not going to fit well with the narrative of “the good life” from an individual perspective.

            The same principle applies to other life choices, which benefit the individual but harm society.

          • Greg Johnson
            Posted May 27, 2015 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

            I would agree that when you bring the common good into play, paternalism may not produce the best outcome for the individual. But my little essay focuses on the individual to the exclusion of the social, because I want to argue that even on individualist grounds, one can argue for paternalism over libertarianism.

  8. rhondda
    Posted May 26, 2015 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    I think I need to read Rousseau.

  9. Iain
    Posted May 26, 2015 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    “the good life, happiness, self-actualization, or well-being (eudaimonia).”

    Isnt this putting the cart before the horse? happiness and eudaimonia comes as a reward for living a full and healthy life; expanding to your potentials and being everything you can be. Smoking cigarettes might feel good in the moment but will bring lots of pain further down the road, true, but this is epicurean hedonism. One should not want to smoke cigarettes because it is repulsive to and degenerative of your health. It damages your potentials. I am only proposing that we not use happiness as our ideal but rather a side effect of attaining to different degrees our ideals.

  10. Jaego
    Posted May 26, 2015 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    For the purposes of this topic, after stating the premise of “all men” we must immediately divest ourselves of the concept of “all men”. No idea is more modern in the invidious sense. Men vary tremendously in their definition of freedom and in their capacity for it. The men with the greatest capacity, those who will be the rulers, must needs accept a strict way of life if they would rule and set an example for those below. Those with less capacity will have less responsibility – and be compensated by having more freedoms in the lower sense, of eating, drinking, and begetting.

    Anti-Platonics often say that he wanted Communism for everyone. Not so – just for the Guardians and Philosophers. Their children would be raised in common and not in families. Everyone else would have the freedom to live as private families. If someone didn’t experience that as Freedom but only as bondage, then perhaps they were ready for a higher kind of life. Certainly some people would be moving up and some moving down. Some of those born to the Elite would not want the life just as George Bush Jr didn’t want to join Skull & Bones and didn’t like the Eastern Patricians at all. Or think of the French King who liked to fix clocks. Perhaps a case of misplaced caste? But how are we to fix such things? It strains the limits of human nature to expect a Patrician to consign his child to a lower caste. Perhaps as Strangelove said, it must be decided by a “computer” (a human one or mentat). Only then can we leap over the mind shaft gap of modernity and its aversion to genetic reality.

  11. Trent
    Posted May 26, 2015 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Yes, there should be a counter mechanism against adult adolescents, especially those of the social democrat variety. However, I think in granting the state the power to “paternalistically intervene” matters have only gotten worse.

    “Predictably, under monopolistic auspices the price of justice and protection [“paternalistic intervention”] will continually rise and the quality of justice and protection [“paternalistic intervention”] fall. A tax-funded protection agency is a contradiction in terms, for it is an expropriating property protector that will inevitably lead to more taxes and less protection [“paternalistic intervention”] . Even if, as liberals have proposed, a government limited its activities exclusively to the protection of preexisting property rights, the further question of how much security [“paternalistic intervention”] to provide would arise. Motivated (like everyone else) by self-interest and the disutility of labor but with the unique power to tax, a government agents goal will invariably be to maximize expenditures on protection [“paternalistic intervention”] (and almost all of a nations’ wealth can conceivably be consumed by the cost of protection [“paternalistic intervention”]) and at the same time to minimize the production of protection [“paternalistic intervention”] .” – Hans Hoppe

    All the things that would justify paternalism to traditionalists (outlawing narcotics, abortions, homosexual marriages, hedonism, etc.) the state has supported and only exacerbated these problems. The state, I would claim, even favors the people who live these alternative life styles as long as they receive their support, which they must, since they have no other means to live if it weren’t for welfare. These types of people, who are in need of paternalistic care, create “social” problems that democratic rulers thrive off of. Indeed, in the name of paternalism, the state has created public schooling, social security, social welfare, a vast bureaucracy, an imperialistic foreign policy, fractional reserve banking, worthless paper money, regulations for virtually every detail of private and public life, free immigration, multiculturalism, etc. It seems very naive to me to trust the state with the task of paternalism, it has only led to moral degeneracy, cultural rot, present mindedness, and the disintegration of the traditional family and society.

    Maybe some mainstream libertarians claim that freedom is incompatible with paternalism and any action involving force means the negation of freedom. However, I think there are more principled libertarians that would agree with you, that freedom and paternalism are not incompatible and force is not the opposite of freedom. First, anyone is justified in using physical force to defend his person and property, this is not the opposite of freedom but it’s application. Second, paternalistic measures can be compatible with freedom especially within the family or community. The father can paternally intervene in his children’s affairs because they are on his property, it may impinge on the children’s “freedom” but ultimately the father has jurisdiction over his own property. In a large setting, a community, the heads of families or property owners, can choose to expel those who live alternative life styles or prevent them from joining the community in the first place. As long as these adolescent adults are not on their own property they are not free to do anything they want.

    I agree, there is a case for paternalism to be made, I also don’t think paternalism and libertarianism are incompatible, however I think giving the state that role is a terrible idea. I think the current conditions of our country, the world even, should make that clear enough. A better method would be seceding from the state, forming traditional communities that discriminate against adolescent adults in the forms of social democrats, communists, hedonists, etc. It short, instead of putting the burden on the responsible members of society, the burden is placed on these juvenile adults by making their life styles very costly by barring them entry into civilized society.

    “The American Constitution must be recognized for what it is – an error. As the Declaration of Independence noted, government is supposed to protect life, property, and the pursuit of happiness. Yet in granting government the power to tax and legislate without consent, the Constitution cannot possibly assure this goal but is instead the very instrument for invading and destroying the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” – Hans Hoppe, Democracy The God That Failed

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted May 26, 2015 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      I suppose you think the we can have law without the state too.

  12. John
    Posted May 25, 2015 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    I never said it was. Read what I wrote, because I read yours. I get that Plato came up with such a philosophical definition of freedom, but I contend that these sorts of mental gymnastics are only necessary because of a long-standing obsession of Western man about ‘freedom’, an obsession that extends farther back than records can tell.

  13. Posted May 25, 2015 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Take up the White Man’s burden, Send forth the best ye breed
    Go bind your sons to exile, to serve your captives’ need

    Would the abolitionists approve of a system of society that set white children free, and remitted them at the age of fourteen, males and females, to all the rights, both as to person and property, which belong to adults? Would it be criminal or praiseworthy to do so? Criminal, of course. Now, are the average of negroes equal in information, in native intelligence, in prudence or providence, to well-informed white children of fourteen? We who have lived with them for forty years, think not. The competition of the world would be too much for the children. They would be cheated out of their property and debased in their morals. Yet they would meet every where with sympathizing friends of their own color, ready to aid, advise and assist them. The negro would be exposed to the same competition and greater temptations, with no greater ability to contend with them, with these additional difficulties. He would be welcome nowhere; meet with thousands of enemies and no friends. If he went North, the white laborers would kick him and cuff him, and drive him out of employment. If he went to Africa, the savages would cook him and eat him. If he went to the West Indies, they would not let him in, or if they did, they would soon make of him a savage and idolater.

    We have a further question to ask. If it be right and incumbent to subject children to the

    Page 89
    authority of parents and guardians, and idiots and lunatics to committees, would it not be equally right and incumbent to give the free negroes masters, until at least they arrive at years of discretion, which very few ever did or will attain? What is the difference between the authority of a parent and of a master? Neither pay wages, and each is entitled to the services of those subject to him. The father may not sell his child forever, but may hire him out till he is twenty-one. The free negro’s master may also be restrained from selling. Let him stand in loco parentis, and call him papa instead of master. Look closely into slavery, and you will see nothing so hideous in it; or if you do, you will find plenty of it at home in its most hideous form.

    – George Fitzhugh

    • Posted May 25, 2015 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      More Fitzhugh:

      We are all, North and South, engaged in the White Slave Trade, and he who succeeds best is esteemed most respectable. It is far more cruel than the Black Slave Trade because it exacts more of its slaves, and neither protects nor governs them. We boast that it exacts more when we say “that the profits made from employing free labor are greater than those from slave labor.” The profits made from free labor are the amount of the products of such labor which the employer, by means of the command which capital or skill gives him, takes away, exacts or “exploitates” from the free laborer. The profits of slave labor are that portion of the products of such labor which the power of the master enables him to appropriate. These profits are less, because the master allows the slave to retain a larger share of the results of his own labor than do the employers of free labor. But we not only boast that the White Slave Trade is more exacting and fraudulent (in fact, though not in intention) than Black Slavery, but we also boast that it is more cruel, in leaving the laborer to take care of himself and family out of the pittance which skill or capital have allowed him to retain. When the day’s labor is ended, he is free, but is overburdened with the cares of family and household, which make his freedom an empty and delusive mockery. But his employer is really free, and may enjoy the profits made by others’ labor without a care or a trouble as to their well-being. The Negro slave is free, too, when the labors of the day are over, and free in mind as well as body, for the master provides food, raiment [clothing], house, fuel, and everything else necessary to the physical well-being of himself and family. The master’s labors commence just when the slave’s end. No wonder men should prefer white slavery to capital, to Negro slavery, since it is more profitable, and is free from all the cares and labors of black slave-holding.

      • Greg Johnson
        Posted May 27, 2015 at 3:36 am | Permalink

        Those ungrateful slaves apparently didn’t know that they were being bought and sold and forced to work for their own good.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted May 27, 2015 at 3:38 am | Permalink

      I assume you are offering these as examples of fake paternalism — fake, because nobody seriously believed that Negro slavery in the Americas was an altruistic enterprise.

  14. K.K.
    Posted May 25, 2015 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    The premise that one can be forced to be free is an utter absurdity; and the rhetorical ploy upon which it hinges, of equating ‘freedom’ to ‘the good life’, is both incredibly arrogant and full of self-righteousness.

    There’s no such thing as ‘the good life’, or ‘what everybody ‘really’ wants’. It’ll mean different things to different people, in different situations, and there’s no objective standard to determine that one is better than the other. The lack of this fundamental realization of the relativity of values is bad in and of itself, but when one thereby also forces his concept of ‘the good life’ on others because that’s what they ‘really’ want, to set them ‘free’, then it truly becomes outright scary, and opens the door for the pathologization of dissidents.

    That being said, the above, however, is not an argument pro or contra paternalism, since paternalism is simply an inevitable human condition. It is what it is, and will always exist, whether ‘officially’ or informally, and whether you like it or not. Arguing for or against it is like arguing for or against female hypergamy, pointless. Humans are social creatures, hierarchically ordered concerning their various abilities, who will always seek (to give and receive) leadership.

    What separates the Higher Man from his fellow humans is not the set of his particular values in and of itself, but his courage to be a master of his own destiny, the courage to choose his goals and values without looking for approval anywhere beyond himself, and to take full responsibility for it, with the humble knowledge that these are ‘just’ his values.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted May 25, 2015 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      The premise that one can be forced to be free is an utter absurdity; and the rhetorical ploy upon which it hinges, of equating ‘freedom’ to ‘the good life’, is both incredibly arrogant and full of self-righteousness.

      It is not a “premise,” it is the conclusion of an argument. It is not a “rhetorical ploy,” it is a premise of an argument. But I will grant you that it is arrogant and self-righteous. That is just the way philosophy seems to most people, I am afraid.

      There’s no such thing as ‘the good life’, or ‘what everybody ‘really’ wants’. It’ll mean different things to different people, in different situations, and there’s no objective standard to determine that one is better than the other. The lack of this fundamental realization of the relativity of values is bad in and of itself, but when one thereby also forces his concept of ‘the good life’ on others because that’s what they ‘really’ want, to set them ‘free’, then it truly becomes outright scary, and opens the door for the pathologization of dissidents.

      I disagree with your value relativism. I actually present an argument against it here: http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/12/the-relevance-of-philosophy-to-political-change/

      Right-wing nihilism is still nihilism, and as such it is intellectually untenable.

      • K.K.
        Posted May 25, 2015 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        Both your remarks revolve around semantics and add literally nothing of value to the discussion. Not to mention that your ‘corrections’ are completely uncalled for, since each premise is in itself a conclusion, and each conclusion can in turn be a premise on a higher level; and clever wordplay to suit your argument most definitely is a rhetorical ploy. But I’ll leave it at that, since this isn’t an intellectual pissing contest.

        As for the nihilism remark: if I deem something to be true I really don’t care how that perception or observation is labeled, nor do I share your ‘premise’ that truth can’t be intellectually untenable (although I don’t find that to be the case here anyway). Quite the contrary, I’m aware that (as a human) I’ll never know everything, nor am able to do so. “I know that I know nothing”, as Socrates has said, although not necessarily in such absolute terms.

        Regarding the linked article, I’ll read it tomorrow and will possibly follow up on it, although, to be honest, I really can’t see a possible argument against value relativity.

        • Greg Johnson
          Posted May 27, 2015 at 3:40 am | Permalink

          You have made it quite clear that you do not like my position, but you have not given a good argument against it.

          • K.K.
            Posted May 27, 2015 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

            We have to be careful here not to make a fly into an elephant. I assure you that we do agree on 95 % of the issues, and largely share the same values; and you’ve certainly inspired my thinking regarding a number of them. We’re certainly walking down the same path, in the same direction. It’s ‘simply’ the relativity of (these, or our) values that we fundamentally disagree on.

            While you seem to think, and correct me if I’m wrong, that moral, ethics etc. (further referred to as ‘values’), exist in and of themselves, and that they can be, in a way, discovered (much in line with Plato’s thinking);

            I myself deem values, and their hierarchy, to be solely a human product. They don’t exist outside of ourselves, and have no intrinsic value, meaning or utility. There’s no objective ‘right and wrong’, ‘good and evil’. The universe doesn’t have any intelligent design or purposeful trajectory.

            That’s not to say that values are random (and I solely expend on my position from here on). Most of them are actually ‘inborn’, and almost universally shared. We have a natural, instinctive inclination towards them, and they’re a product of evolution. But they have no utility or value beyond their subjects. Even survival, life or existence, the most extreme example one can think of, has no value in and of itself. For us, as living beings, it is of course the most important thing there is, but from the widest perspective possible, that of the universe as a whole, it has no meaning or value.

            All my goals and values are ultimately based on my (‘free’) will, ‘because I choose to’, notwithstanding that most of them result from ‘inborn’, instinctive inclinations.

            Ultimately, we really can’t bridge that disagreement by reason or argument. Even if there were objective values, as you think, if the universe had some higher purpose, we as humans simply aren’t capable of knowing it. So why not use yourself, your will – something that you’re certain of and have complete control over – as foundation?

  15. Andrew
    Posted May 25, 2015 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    I would suggest that humans are not designed for the excess freedom that they experience in the West, and that a society/genepool with this level of freedom is doomed to degrade over time until disorder and instability reign (followed by a more autocratic government that curtails much freedom). Human societies need structure and systems to survives. Freedom is mainly anti-structure, and too much freedom leads to chaos. Imagine a road system which did not strictly regulate the activities of drivers: order would decay into Mad Max chaos. Likewise, a quick overview of high-freedom level areas such as San Francisco show us accelerating decay. Fertility is too low for survival, morals, order, social structure are all decadent. This level of freedom, even without the culture of critique, would still result in eventual societal collapse. (Technology has complicated societal survival with its dysgenic effects).

    In order to exist over time, a society/genepool needs to achieve certain goals, which involve creating children with good genes, raising them to healthy, productive adults, who then procreate and transmit the society’s structures and systems (or better ones) to the next generation. The problem is that human beings are pleasure-loving, fractious and have short time horizons. This means that humans need to be compelled to pursue society’s goals in order for them to be achieved over the long term. Thus, humans need paternalism, which usually has taken the form of patriachies in the past (the older, experienced males make all important decisions for the group).

    The optimal society would grant limited freedom to its humans, and this would be explained in its philosophy, religion, traditions, history and so forth. These social structures are essential for forming and indoctrinating the new humans entering the society.

    • Fran
      Posted May 25, 2015 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      Your opinion of what freedom should be about makes absolute sense – certainly to me.

      Complete freedom leads to the breakdown of society because human nature tends towards the easy option for its instant results/gratification as opposed to the properly evaluated and thus more rewarding long term option.

      Further, complete freedom pertaining to the individual invariably leads, in the case of negative choice, to knock-on effects by one individual on the family/community being composed of several individuals.

  16. Robert Pinkerton
    Posted May 25, 2015 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    A decent father wants his child(ren?) to grow up.

    A “pathological mommy” wants to keep her child(ren?) childly for as long as that is possible to do.

  17. Theodore
    Posted May 25, 2015 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    As an anti-libertarian national socialist, I agree with this essay. But, of course, there will be those who will argue that their definition of “the good life” differs from that racial nationalists would espouse. This goes back to the online arguments of a decade ago about “genetic interests” – one has to invoke the concept of “values” to escape the so-called “naturalistic fallacy.”

    Unfortunately, since values differ, the “good life” will differ as well. The PUA “gamesters” will argue that their hedonistic pursuit of “poosy” contributes to their happiness, well-being, and self-actualization. One cannot *prove* them wrong, without invoking a set of values they would decry as “puritan tradcon.”

    I would think that paternalism has to consider the good of the society as well as that of the individual and, hence, may need to put constraints on “freedom” as perceived by individual values. Of course, the same problems with individual values occurs with society – who decides? But, societal values have the advantage in that “the greatest good for the greatest number” is going to be easier to determine, and agree upon, then evaluating that for each single individual in turn.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted May 25, 2015 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think it is quite so hopeless.

      1. I don’t accept that there is a “naturalistic fallacy.”

      2. Thus I don’t think that values are necessarily arbitrary.

      3. Plato’s Gorgias has a good argument against hedonism, which I reconstruct like this: If the good life is a life of pleasure, then there would be no “good pains” or “bad pleasures.” These would be contradictions in terms. Whereas “good pleasure” and “bad pain” would be redundant. But there are good pains and bad pleasures. For instance, the pains associated with medical cures, and the pleasures associated with self-destructive hedonism. Therefore, the good is not pleasure; hedonism is thus refuted.

      4. One can justify paternalism in terms of the collective or common good, but in this argument, I am focused on individual well-being.

      5. Who decides what is good for us? Moral experts. Just as we consult medical experts, scientific experts, legal experts, IT experts, car mechanics, veterinarians, and other authorities on important matters.

      • Verlis
        Posted May 26, 2015 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        And these experts can tell me exactly what it is I “really” want to do? That’s a mighty claim. Maybe you could illustrate how great you consider their expertise to be by way of a couple of examples.

        • Greg Johnson
          Posted May 26, 2015 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

          One just needs a simple syllogism:

          All mean really desire happiness/self-actualization/well-being/the good life.
          Verlis/Silver is man.
          ———————
          Verlis desires happiness/etc.

  18. John
    Posted May 25, 2015 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I guess what this argument hinges on, is that freedom means living a good life (by an objective standard). Lots of people have proposed different definitions of freedom, but I think many people will disagree with this one. In fact, many might say that the ability to live a bad life is freedom also. A freedom-minded person will want the choice to make bad decisions, to decide for himself where the right path leads. I know I do. My take on it is that, while I value freedom, it does not have to be the only value in society, even if for hundreds of years, Western writers have acted as though it does. Restless, free-thinking spirits will always want to explore, to cross all boundaries and horizons, but exploration has no charm if you have no starting point, and nowhere to go home to once you’ve seen what there is to see. That’s why I think there should be paternalistic laws and structures to provide a good home for the common man, but that like all rules, they will be made to be broken. A man ought to have the freedom to go where the wind takes him, but he has no right to force his homelessness on others.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted May 25, 2015 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the argument hinges on the premise that freedom is doing what we really want (which means that we can also be mistaken about what we want). This implies that when we chose to do what we really don’t want to do (living badly out of ignorance or passion), we are actually unfree.

      Freedom = doing what you really want to do.
      Unfreedom = doing what you don’t really want to so.

      We can chose to do what we don’t really want. Thus we can choose unfreedom. Thus freedom is not the same thing as simply exercising one’s will. Freedom is exercising one’s will to get what one really wants. And we all basically want the same thing: the good life.

      • John
        Posted May 25, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        The only reason to call it ‘freedom’ is because that is a concept that Westerners have been obsessing over for centuries, but it doesn’t change the fact that having someone else decide for you what you ‘really want’ is not what most people anywhere, or at any time, would call freedom. I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t buy your definition of freedom, and that it isn’t necessary to pretend that everything in society has to revolve around ‘freedom’. Did civilization begin because wandering hunter-gatherers were seeking more ‘freedom’? Civilization happens when people sacrifice a bit of their freedom (freedom from attachments and responsibilities towards other people) in order to take part in something bigger than themselves. Or, from a more materialist perspective, for security.

        • Greg Johnson
          Posted May 25, 2015 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          Freedom was an issue when Plato was writing his dialogues, so it is not actually a recent or superficial fad.

  19. Benjamin
    Posted May 25, 2015 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    https://www.change.org/p/european-commission-allow-all-white-south-africans-the-right-to-return-to-europe

    Sign the petition. The Express paper has already wrote about it and its received massive support already.

    Sorry I posted this on the comment section Greg, but it’s great PR and please pass the petition on other sites.

    cheers

  20. K.K.
    Posted May 25, 2015 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    This essay is wrong on all levels. I’ll try to expend on it while the comments are still open.

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