One way or another, the end of freedom as we’ve known it is coming – the only question before us is what sort of tyranny will replace the freedom we used to enjoy. And I mean “used to” in the sense that what you think of as freedom – what older folks, especially, grew up understanding as freedom – is already gone. You already can’t say or do quite a lot of things that you or our parents and grandparents used to do.
This is in the nature of things, after all: freedom always breeds license and license creates a chaos which begs an end to liberty. Human being are very bad at keeping an even keel over the long term. It isn’t that most of us tend to an extreme but that enough of us do that a corrective has to be applied to everyone. This time is a little different from the historical precedent, though, in that some of the chaos-generators are doing it precisely to make freedom intolerable as preparation for the imposition of the tyranny they prefer. These are the people of the Left.
And our choices will be a Left tyranny, or a Right tyranny. The possibility of returning to the level of freedom we had in, say, 1960, is extremely low. I actually believe it is impossible – mostly because that level of liberty was only possible because most people alive in 1960 were still keeping to the old moral code: they tolerated those pushing the boundaries in 1960. They shouldn’t have, as it turns out – but, there you go: it happened. Because in the 60 years since the old moral code has been discarded by nearly everyone (most especially those charged with maintaining it), we simply can’t get back to that level of liberty. There’s no basis for it: there is, that is, no stable, moral society as a base from which the experimenters can dare to stretch out.
Naturally, I prefer a Right tyranny. Not least because Right tyranny normally develops into ordered liberty. Left tyranny, especially now, looks to be both permanent and increasingly insane in it’s demands. We’ve seen the rapid trajectory these past ten years where what was completely out-there stuff is now being enforced in our institutions as the most ancient and settled dogma. They won’t stop: the whole thing of the Left is that it must always go further Left, mostly because the Left always fails and the Leftist cannot conceive of any reason for failure other than they didn’t go far enough. Attached to this – and sometimes dominating it – is the need for enemies. You have to go ever further Left so that you can have someone around who didn’t go there fast enough and so can now be built up as an enemy to be destroyed. So, I want a Right tyranny not because it is better than freedom, but because I can’t have freedom and so I’ll pick the least offensive poison.
And part of the reason we can’t have freedom (for a while: a right tyranny will eventually produce freedom, though it may take a while) is because we made one very crucial mistake, as a civilization: we presumed that liberty was an end. It isn’t. It is a means to an end: the end being a just society. Our trouble on the right has been our assumption that if we just defend liberty and give people an example of the happiness and prosperity that freedom generates, they would naturally drop their non-liberty ideologies and join us. It didn’t work out that way because we didn’t realize the most crucial aspect of human nature: we are Fallen. Rather astounding that those on the Right could forget this, but it was forgotten. I mostly put it down to those on the Right since, say, WWII, not being true Rightists. They were really Liberals who were in a rearguard defense of the 19th century. Be that as it may, the fact that humanity is Fallen was forgotten and left out of all calculations and so we weren’t prepared for people who can see, with their own eyes, the happiness and prosperity and reject it in favor of something else. Not because the something else was superior, but simply because it was something else…and most importantly, something else that they would be in charge of.
We always needed a corrective to unfettered liberty. We needed a way of stopping those with an evil idea from suckering the ill-informed into joining their evil idea. We needed, in the end, something like the Inquisition to root out heresy (in this case, political heresy) to simply make sure that when a Maoist came to town, he was run out of town on a rail before he could use slick marketing to convince the citizen of a free and prosperous Republic that what was needed was a bit of murderous Cultural Revolution. If we get a Right tyranny, this will be the main mark of it: a complete assault on all Left ideas to expunge them from the public square. That is what will actually justify the Right tyranny and what will cause it to cling to power beyond it’s time: the necessity of excising from the polity the idea that the ideas of a 19th century lunatic German are superior to 2,000 years of Western, Christian civilization.
We’ll see how this comes out. I will still work as if we can preserve freedom and maybe by some miracle we are able to do so…but the most likely outcome is one side or the other scoring a big victory, and then simply imposing itself on the other side. Both sides will be forced to this: because they cannot coexist. One or the other will eventually have to go.