The masses don’t want to be free


Everyone thinks they want to be free but aside from a pet preference here and there they don’t, really.

Not in comparison to their desire for material comfort, social approval and above all else, safety.

In the West, few of us wanted our rights enough to fight for them. Others fought on our behalf. The nobles fought the King, the petty bourgeoisie fought the aristocracy, a few union rabble rousers fought the capitalists, a tiny minority of feminists fought the patriarchy. Much of the battle for racial equality was fought on behalf of others.

Most Americans in the Thirteen Colonies did not fight in the War of Independence and it is unclear what percentage of them supported it. Most women never campaigned for equal rights. Most ordinary, landless men did nothing personally to further their case to receive the vote or gain individual freedoms.

For that matter, the slaves of the British Empire and the United States did not fight to free themselves. They, to, were emancipated by others.

It was all thrust upon us unbidden.

Sure, most will vote for freedom when it’s all organized for us and there’s an option on the ballot. That’s about the extent of the average person’s dedication, though.

We welcomed freedom, of course, but it may not have made us content.

There’s plenty of research showing that women were happier before their increased freedom to pursue careers. Some ethnic minorities seem more aggrieved now than ever before.

One wonders if the average man is happier today than a medieval peasant. Serfs were poor and oppressed but enjoyed close bonds of family, class, church and nation that are weak today. Theirs was a life of tradition and routine. Children did not worry about what they should be when they grew up. Adults did not ponder which type of peanut butter to buy. Each did what he had to do as the season demanded and ate what he grew.

If you or I were sent back there we’d probably be very unhappy but from their limited perspective it would have been different. Their Earthly struggle was a temporary one whose piety and righteousness would be rewarded.

Now we have more choices than we know what to do with. There are many careers, places to go, potential partners, lifestyle choices, religions, sexualities, genders. Plus too many types of peanut butter to choose from.

Much effort must be put into these choices. Every day brings yet more things to decide. We fall into ruts of consumer inertia to lighten our mental load, thus negating the utility of our freedom.

Enter Covid.

Many, many people were not unhappy to be forced to stay home, placed under curfew, compelled to wear a mask and other restrictions which were the most extreme in modern history.

There was no outcry. Not a loud one, anyway.

Was this really because everyone was terrified of a virus whose infection fatality rate in developed countries is around 1%?

That we really are so stupid or cowardly is a possibility so let’s leave it on the whiteboard as a contributing factor.

However, I reckon a lot of it is because people liked being locked down.

They liked staying home from all the office politics, commuting, choking ties, makeup routines and packed lunches. They enjoyed doing Zoom meetings in their pajama pants while sipping a mug of Irish coffee.

They liked the feeling of challenge and drama – we’re all in this together! – as they bravely faced down the virus by binge-watching Breaking Bad.

They enjoyed having choice taken away from them.

People liked having nothing to do. No social choices to make, nothing to decide, just stay home and relax. It was a holiday for the brain. No wonder they got so angry with those who questioned the science. Shut up! You’ll ruin it!

Supposedly trans people noted that with their audience taken away, they weren’t really any special gender in particular, just themselves, and it didn’t matter. Rates of suggestible teenage girls seeking treatment to become boys diminished.

In addition, people liked the fact that others were locked up. Many get uncomfortable at the thought of humans wandering around like Brown’s cows and are much relieved when they are properly organized or controlled by some central authority, be it Church or State.

That’s the psychological bait of the Nuremberg Rally. To see massive crowds marching in lockstep gives one an overwhelming sense of collective power. Our will, united, is almost invincible. This is why many desire a firm government to shove us all in the same direction.

The average person feels safer when he and his fellows are kept on a tight leash. It gives the impression that someone strong is in charge and that everything will be okay. This was true when we were children and it has been true for most of human history.

Men leaving prison or the army, or those brought up too strictly, can become overwhelmed by freedom. Perhaps this is true of most people, though to a lesser extent – being bound by a strict code makes life easier.

In our environment of evolutionary adaptation, the concept of freedom would have barely made sense. Hunter-gatherer bands had to work to eat, cooperate to survive. ‘Liberty’ probably became a word only after the invention of agriculture and captive labour.

Freedom, for most, is dangerous and unnecessary. While they cannot psychologically realize it, they’d be happier if we went back to having one Church, two sexes with clearly defined roles, a simple family structure and predictable work.

They never asked for the Enlightenment model of individualism. Nor did they demand the Nietzschean ideal of self-actualization that he never intended for everyone, anyway.

Personally I hate lockdowns, travel restrictions, curfews and all the other ways my freedom has been curtailed. It’s more severe than when I lived in the North Korea of Africa. One of my first posts on this blog was about achieving freedom and it’s been a running theme ever since, hence my disappointment that all freedom was abolished the moment I was on the cusp.

Most of you don’t like the new restrictions either, going by your comments.

However, a lot of people do like it. They prefer the New Normal and they don’t want to go back. By popular assent, rolling lockdowns and travel restrictions will be with us for decades to come in some places. The new strict Woke religion is also welcome by many for the same reasons. Witness the pious delight of the faithful when Bad People are cancelled.

People want to be told what to do and what to think, and want all others to be so told, and they don’t care who does the telling. It could be a priest or a fat black lady from HR. The main thing is that someone is in charge and that easy, compulsory answers to life’s unanswerable questions are available.

Moving through the stages of grief at losing my old life, I’m getting closer to accepting this fact.

We formerly addressed our differing appetites for freedom through class – nobles had more choices but also more responsibilities while the commoners did what they were told and no more. This was obviously an imperfect system.

Today we need to find a new system. At the moment it looks a lot like the old one – elites are able to ignore restrictions and do as they please while we ordinary folk must follow rules to the letter. More on this in a future post.

A better way of managing differences in freedom would be geographic. As with so many of our problems, separation into different countries seems a perfect solution to one side but intolerable to the other which simply cannot stand the fact that people in Florida, Sweden or wherever might be choosing their own approach.

If I ever get an opportunity, I’ll try to settle permanently in a jurisdiction which is tolerable to my sensibilities.

As Seneca said, a man who puts a high value on freedom must put a low value on everything else. I’m prepared to brave the cold of Siberia or the cartels of Mexico in order to live free.

But I’ll hang out a while longer for Korea. Against my expectations, they’ve been moderate so far. Let’s see.


  1. luisman · August 4

    Reblogged this on Nicht-Linke Blogs.


  2. luisman · August 4

    People like to have a deterministic life. But as Tyson said, everybody has a plan until he gets punched in the face. Randomness is horrifying, but it still serves as a good excuse when you fail. I enjoy the coincidence of meeting a new person and getting a positive experience out of it. Almost everybody would. But if you almost always have a negative experience with new people, it absolutely can’t be your fault, right? it must be the fault of the others, otherwise, how could you live with yourself? It must be reassuring for the psyche of an NPC, that everybody else is an NPC now.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Nikolai Vladivostok · August 4

      I think most people always were NPCs. We just have a word for it now.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Johnny Caustic · August 4

        I think NPCs only emerged in large numbers with the atomization of society and the loss of group cohesion. Even 100 years ago, most people had solid identities based on their social roles in their families, churches, friend groups, guilds, communities, and other social groups. These roles may have gone a long way toward determining people’s behavior, in effect reducing their freedom, but it fostered healthy social bonds, strong identities (you don’t identify as a “bisexual depressive activist” when you have a real identity as a parent, a devout Baptist, the local furniture seller known to everybody in town, in a large family). People like that are antitheses of the NPC, even if they aren’t freethinking individualists and their lives follow the tracks laid down for them by their families and towns.

        Most people were never freethinking individualists, that much is true, but the optimal level of freethinking individualists for a healthy first-world society is maybe 10%, certainly not 50%.

        Liked by 5 people

      • ray · August 5

        We used to call them zombies but now they’re patriots. Love wins.


  3. jewamongyou · August 4

    It’s ironic that the people most fitting, and most willing, to be slaves are the ones who complain most about slavery in the past. I think it’s time we come to terms with the fact that most people are, indeed, better suited to be slaves. A stratified society, with elites at the top, and slaves at the bottom, seems to be the natural order of things. We’ve come full circle.

    Liked by 6 people

    • overgrownhobbit · August 4

      Mankind is either sevus Christi or slaves to someone else.

      One wonders if the average man is happier today than a medieval peasant. Serfs were poor and oppressed but enjoyed close bonds of family, class, church and nation that are weak today.

      I can check with my mom again, but the answer is still “no.” She was happier an America where she enjoyed close bonds of neighbohood, church and family, than when she enjoyed the same at midieval peasant levels of poverty.

      Of course, if you systematically destroy eveyone’s ability to live in homogenous nations bound by common laws and religious faith, where cloae bonds of family, neighborhoods, and faith are systematically destroyed, and call it Freedom…

      Myself, in this brave new world of agnostics, atheists, and the like, I feel like a lone civilized woman among superstitious savages. But I believe the universe was made by a rational Mind, so I am protected. My utterly mainstream colleagues know that cotton is magic, that a novel drug tested for less than a year has no long-term side-effects, that young teens cannot be trusted with a car or booze, but are fit to permanently alter their sex…


      Liked by 4 people

  4. lemmiwinks · August 4

    Here’s how I see the implementation of the Australian version of the CCP Social Credit score system unfolding. This will likely apply to other countries too.
    Doubtless our politicians have been looking at China and salivating at their level of control so, never one to waste a crisis, QR codes are here to stay – The Party doesn’t need to track your location, you will self report comrade! The vaccine passport (or whatever they end up calling it) will rapidly evolve. It’ll start out for travel, air and international at first, attending sporting events, pubs etc then at some point it’ll morph ever so slightly and a points system will be applied. Now you’ll need it to patronise certain shops, supermarkets at first, but eventually all shops, then banking, public transport and so forth.
    Then the removal of cash. Trot out the usual – tax avoidance, criminals etc etc. Besides, its use was in decline before the rona, now everyone is deathly afraid of catching it from money it’s an anomaly. Cashless society marries up perfectly with a Social Credit score system.
    All this will be cheered on by the useful idiots. Imagine their glee – The Party will be able to cancel Bad People in real life! With just the click of a mouse! A shiver of guilty pleasure will run down their spines as they imagine being the one to do it. “I don’t have anything to hide!” they’ll bleat. Eventually the screws will turn a little more. Using your phone while driving? Whoops, that’s -50 points, hope you can still catch public transport. Like a drink? We think you’re drinking a little too much – scanning in at Dan Murphy’s a bit too often there old son, -20 points. What you posted on your socials doesn’t align with The Party, -40 points, now you’re below the threshold where you can access your money. Whoopsie!
    In order to ride the wave of fear I give it from as little as 18 months to a maximum of 5 years. Never happen here but.


  5. KJ · August 4

    I’d find the lockdowns, mandates & restrictions acceptable and tolerable if the “pandemic” was a real PANDEMIC – such as Spanish Flu and Bubonic Plague – and actually necessary for the public health and welfare.

    What we’ve been going through the last 18 months is a load of politically- and economically-motivated BULLSHIT.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. ray · August 5

    A wise post. Good to see you haven’t wasted your experiences.
    The Lockdown Covidians overwhelmingly are women, or weak, passive, modern men. Freedom is the masculine pole, it is hard and costly and demanding and uncertain. But the English-speaking nations are feminist. Post-feminist, actually. So, very happy with authoritarianism and restriction as it appeals to their nature.
    All of which, like the Milgram Experiment, goes to validate the (male-deity) Christian perspective that people essentially are selfish and full of faults, and invalidate the (female-deity) pagan, spiritualist, or new-age perspective that people essentially are wonderful and selfless, and once sexism and racism and homophobia and all the rest are wiped-out, well, THEN back in the Garden they shall be. Not.

    Liked by 2 people

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