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Thread: Freedom, Power and Culture/The Transcendence or Phantom of Freedom?

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    Freedom, Power and Culture/The Transcendence or Phantom of Freedom?

    Once this essay was going to be known as "On Freedom and Power", but it went quite a bit beyond that, hence the current title. Read this and I DARE you to tell me it isn't useful...

    =========================
    A Philosophy of Freedom, Power and Culture
    Christopher A. Dietrich
    [All revolutionaries have pseudonyms, that's mine]

    The word freedom has become an emotionally loaded term - it has effectively become the war banner of the United States of America since September 11, 2001. It is promoted through the barrel of the gun against all political systems and their populations who do not conform to the agenda of America's ruling elite. Freedom is a powerful word - but it can only be defined in negative terms. Essentially, freedom means the absence of restrictions, the absence of force. It is highly amusing, that if the ruling elite of the United States Government - and the West as a whole - truly believes its own rhetoric, it is using force to bring about (and enforce, behind the doctrine of America as the "world's policeman") the absence of force.

    Freedom, without a higher aim behind it, inevitably leads to nihilism, the rejection of all values. The hollow mass-consumer culture the rest of the world sees as the United States of America reflects this. The ruling elite of the US attempts to tear down authoritarian and theocratic governments, and then present the host population with 'democracy' - by this, it means multiparty elective Government. Never is the choice of another, self defined political system offered, and the choice of ethnic minorities to secede from the State is not permitted by the United States (the Croatian war of independence was opposed by the US Government which favoured the pre-civil war Yugoslav federation - only after a lengthy and bloody civil war was Croatia's independence recognised, even though the European Union had supported Croatia as an independent nation from the beginning). In short, the banner of freedom my be waved as often as chosen by the US elite, but the nature of their 'freedom' is the freedom to live under any Government the population chooses, except one which the United States ruling elite does not approve of.

    The word freedom is generally opposed by the word power, a word that possesses when applied to Governments not approved by the American elite. "Power" has, in the minds of the Western population, become viewed as an evil - images of National Socialist Germany, Stalinist Russia or Mao's Red China come to mind. Lord Acton once claimed, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely". But what is power?

    A definition of the English term 'power' falls somewhere between capability and control, or a combination of the two. This reflects what Oswald Spengler termed the 'Faustian' Culture of the west, symbolised by infinite space. This drive is Nietzsche's 'Will to Power'; perhaps a better term would be will to action.

    Volition may be described as the conscious-decision making process, and will may then be defined as the drive to action that is then expressed. Yet volition is not 'free' in terms of absolute self-determination - volition is affected by biological, cultural and social factors. Neither is volition "rational" - the capability of reasoning, despite the vast cultural output expounding the virtues of that faculty, does not have nearly as much importance in human affairs as many are led to believe.

    Will is the master of reason - an aim is decided, and then the individual utilises his faculty of reason in order to discover a means of achieving that aim, then will follows through. All actions are preceded by decision - an aim, a value is required in the mind of a subject, and then will follows through with action down the path illuminated by reason. The capability of an individual to reach the chosen aim is determined by his intelligence and drive, that is, will. Both have a biological foundation, in the heredity of intelligence, and testosterone, respectively. Intelligence is the fuel of reason - it enables more efficient analysis of conditions between and surrounding the subject and the objective chosen. Testosterone, the biological foundation of the will to power, is the material which makes action - the preferred course - as opposed to inaction.

    Action has a much ignored prerequisite - the aim, of which volition is the selector. Even when viewed through the eyes of the rationalist, actions always have objectives. Only by the manner of achieving its aims can an action be judged as 'irrational' within the framework of rationalism. Any aim for which the use of force (that is, the violent transgression of boundaries) is utilized is claimed as irrational, except when used in for a reactionary objective (i.e., defence). If it is irrational, its study by rationalists is always coloured by a negative perspective, which seeks to ridicule what it judges as irrational and hence 'evil' - this is morality impinging on the study of existence and its nature. With few exceptions, there has yet to be an entirely amoral study of existence and how it operates. Rationalism is futile in attempting to learn how the world works - it is engineered so as to produce a Weltanshauung of how the world should work. How it does work, and how it should work, are two entirely different things.

    Irrespective of rationalism, all actions require an aim - which is dependent on the values of the subject, and the hierarchy of his values. If a man values the existence of his family above his own existence, he will lose his life willingly if necessary, to ensure his family remains alive. A man who values his religion and its tenants above all else is the material from which religious armies are forged. If a man values his power (in terms of influence, as opposed to direct power) above his own life will, if necessary or even advantageous, accept his own destruction in order to protect or advance his own power.

    Values are cultural abstractions, yet they are as real as the individuals who hold them. Values are the core of an individual's personal identity - if he does not act to ensure the advancement or protection of those values, he does not live, he merely exists. He is fellaheen, waiting to be utilised and acted upon those willing to. To be precise, if a man does not act to achieve, protect or advance values he claims to hold, then he does not hold them, but he does lie - and he must necessarily have something to life for, as a nihilist - that is, one who has no values - whose actions reflect his inner values, has no reason, and therefore, does not lie.

    The nature, actions and values of a society may also be revealed in a similar way. A society, in order to be able to be considered a society, must have common basic values, and a common basic identity upon which these values are built. Identity is formed easiest in conditions of contrast - the distinction between "us" and "them" may be seen as the father of all nations, just as recognition of the contrast between the environment and the self is the prerequisite of consciousness. Consciousness of common identity is as useful as a nation as self-identity is for an individual - it is required, but consciousness alone does not suffice for survival. A nation, which shall be defined as a spiritual community, must have values - the most basic value is consciousness. The next value required is survival.

    The genius shall be defined as the creative act, synthesis; intelligence will be defined as the capacity for analysis. The two are tied closely together, but are not analogous. One enables the other - that is, intelligence is what permits genius, as the ability to analyse a situation is required to create a solution to the problem. Genius, however, does not deal solely with 'problems' - if it did, it would focus solely on removing restrictions. Genius is what creates. While every man has a creative force (if he did not, society would probably be reduced from civilization to barbarism immediately), enough to make something of himself, genius is the great creative force from which culture is produced.

    As a man, imagining an ideal, may record everything about that which he imagined, that recording, with all its details, is not how he will remember it - memory deals with the simplified, the important, the essential. So it is with human societies and nations. The relationship between the cultural elite and the people is akin to the relationship between mind and body. And as the mind can be divided into the creative and the intellect, so can the cultural elite. Culture resides in the hands of its elite, and the elite is comprised of two numerically unequal groups - the creators and the appreciators.

    The purpose of the appreciators is to participate in the development of culture, and then project its fruit downwards to the masses of the nation, which are absorbed and develop meaning behind the earlier distinction of "us" and "them". Where the cultural elite shares its produce with the cultural elites of similar nations, we can speak of nations within a Culture, in the Spenglerian sense of a nation-cluster bound by a common high culture and spirit. This spirit inspires social evolution and political action.

    For the cultural elite, this common spirit is felt consciously - for the nations over which the spirit resides, it is unconsciously felt. The means through which high culture is injected into the masses of the nations occurs though religion, education and media content. This is done through simplification, by stripping cultural products down to the bare essentials, on the simple reasoning that the content is more important than its form - that is, values projected by the cultural elite, contained within their works, rather then the works themselves, as themselves.

    The dominant trend amongst a cultural elite can be summed up in the term 'zeitgeist' - that is, Spirit of the Age. The Spirit of the Age is reflected through religion, education, philosophical movements, political slogans, and the mode of behaviour of a political elite in relation to power - namely, what to do with ability once it is acquired.

    The relationship between political elites (i.e. those in control of organizations with some measure of power, that is, capacity to act) and cultural elites, are tight. The cultural elite has the capability to mobilize an entire nation towards a common goal, and the political elite controls the means by which the goal is to be achieved. This is not to say, of course, that political and cultural elites always work together - the French Revolution, a product of French social conditions and the ideals of the Enlightenment, is a prime example of the contrary.

    When a dominant cultural elite and a political elite cooperate towards achieving an objective, the values required to motivate the population to action are heightened (if those values are already held), manipulated, or inculcated. The culture industry, as Theodore Ardono terms the mass media and mass entertainment, is one of the most efficient means for total mobilization to occur. This is generally referred to as propaganda, and this term is equally applicable regardless of whether the political elite is in power because it is on the top side of a dictatorship or a majority party in an elective Government.

    Contrary to the well known quotation from Mao Tse Tung, all power (that is, capability to act) does not derive from the use, or threat, of brute force. One does not use force against something one wishes to utilize - whether the threat of force becomes actual or remains potential is irrelevant. Because man, for all practical purposes, is to some degree a self-determining being, it is conceivable that he might refuse to do what he is told even if there is a threat of force against him, which could result in his destruction. If this is the situation, one of two things may be deduced about the man who is under threat of force - he is either a nihilist, in which case there is no power for the taking, or he values something higher than his own life - in which case, it is not through threat of force against him that will bring the ability to utilise his capabilities, but action in relation to his values.

    Likewise, a dictatorship that maintains its control through brute force alone will not last long - the population itself will not identify itself with the objectives of the governing system of control. In such a situation, despite the frequent use of brute force on behalf of the governing system of control, national revolution is not inevitable. Revolution is a child of two parts - identity and resentment. Without identity, recognition of common values and objectives on behalf of the suppressed population is impossible. Without resentment, no action is perceived as necessary.

    In the case of a nation being dominated by a foreign elite, with which the nation is least likely to identify with if it has its own articulated character, the struggle of liberation and revolution does not at first fall to militant revolutionaries, but to the cultural elite of the suppressed nation. Its task is to formulate and articulate a national identity, which contrasts starkly the nation against the foreign elite. As the foreign elite would naturally control the means of cultural propagation, total mobilization in the manner of the dominant Neo-Conservative cultural elite of the United States have executed post September 11 becomes much more difficult. Street networks, community organizations, decentralised religious structures and national revolutionist political factions become the cultural pipelines by which national identity is disseminated.

    As has been illustrated, contrast is the best means by which identity, both individual and nation, can be recognised. The purpose of the cultural elite is not only to develop an idea in the minds of the nation of who "they" (that is, the dominating foreign elite) are, but also to simultaneously cultivate a sense of national self-identity - that is, values which are an essential part of the national character. If the values expressed are identical as those held by the foreign elite, the struggle on the cultural plane is futile, and in the minds of the nation, what is a massive campaign of suppression carried out by the foreign elite could genuinely be a massive "counter terrorist operation". The purpose of a national cultural elite in times of foreign domination is to drive as large as possible schism between the foreign elite and the nation itself. If the values which form a part of the national identity significantly contrast with those of the foreign elite, once the underground national culture has been adequately disseminated, the groundwork for national revolution is prepared, the politics transforms the potential into the actual, and the rest is a matter of numbers, intelligence and will to power.

    Keeping in mind that individuals have the creative capacity to decide (if not create) the objectives which their actions are directed towards achieving, that the objectives are dependent on the values of the individual, and that values are to a large extent contingent on the social conditions and the dominant cultural movements as developed, articulated and disseminated by the cultural elite, we may thus come to the conclusion:

    The nature and objectives of actions are founded on values, values are determined by volition and culture, the capacity to achieve those values are determined by intelligence and will to power, and that they who control and propagate culture control the streets, and in the words of Adolf Hitler, "He who controls the streets controls the politics".
    Last edited by Jack; Sunday, August 17th, 2003 at 11:54 AM.
    All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream at night, in the dusky recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams, with open eyes, to make it possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack
    As has been illustrated, contrast is the best means by which identity, both individual and nation, can be recognised. The purpose of the cultural elite is not only to develop an idea in the minds of the nation of who "they" (that is, the dominating foreign elite) are, but also to simultaneously cultivate a sense of national self-identity - that is, values which are an essential part of the national character. If the values expressed are identical as those held by the foreign elite, the struggle on the cultural plane is futile, and in the minds of the nation, what is a massive campaign of suppression carried out by the foreign elite could genuinely be a massive "counter terrorist operation". The purpose of a national cultural elite in times of foreign domination is to drive as large as possible schism between the foreign elite and the nation itself. If the values which form a part of the national identity significantly contrast with those of the foreign elite, once the underground national culture has been adequately disseminated, the groundwork for national revolution is prepared, the politics transforms the potential into the actual, and the rest is a matter of numbers, intelligence and will to power.

    Keeping in mind that individuals have the creative capacity to decide (if not create) the objectives which their actions are directed towards achieving, that the objectives are dependent on the values of the individual, and that values are to a large extent contingent on the social conditions and the dominant cultural movements as developed, articulated and disseminated by the cultural elite, we may thus come to the conclusion:

    The nature and objectives of actions are founded on values, values are determined by volition and culture, the capacity to achieve those values are determined by intelligence and will to power, and that they who control and propagate culture control the streets, and in the words of Adolf Hitler, "He who controls the streets controls the politics".
    I agree. Even if the elites of Europe aren't in a real sense "foreign", their "values", their whole "culture" and the policy that is a result of that, are the total negation of everything what makes the true Occident and racial and cultural Indo-European spirit.
    The "values" of these "elites" are not necessarily tose of most ordinary people in the white countries, even if these people are passive, apathic and brainwashed in their whole attitude. Between the ruling social-cultural-political elites and most good-willing people there's not a total schism, but a certain drift between those both can be constated.

    Here's where new national-revolutionary movement with the right leaders has to take its run. It's necessary to aim exactly and then to throw oneself with a big jump between elites and ordinary folk, cut the connections between elites and folk by accusing and damning the elites and try to push them away from the folk as much as possible.
    Last edited by Moody; Wednesday, December 20th, 2006 at 01:35 PM. Reason: updated thread
    Man ſei Held oder Heiliger. In der Mitte liegt nicht die Weisheit, ſondern die Alltäglichkeit.

    SPENGLER

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    It is interesting to note that, in Jack's piece, a tripartite division is used to describe culture and its propogation. Whether this is a conscious choice or the upwelling of Indo-European triadic thinking, the author will have to tell. But the synchronization with Dumezilian castes is clear with a

    Priest
    Warrior
    Folk/Producer

    Here it becomes:

    Creator (thought)
    Appreciator/Projector (action)
    Masses (passive existence)

    Jack divides the A/P into a cultural and political elite. Most would probably agree that these have three major arms, the government, the academia and the press. The latter two provide a sustained and continuous propoganda environment and, in 'democracies', exercise great influence over who runs the government. When the effect is in runaway, and surely it now is, the gov't uses its power to protect the latter two and their informational hegemony. Competing voices are criminalized and attacked.

    Contrast as means: I don't think this is entirely lost with nationalist and ethnocentric groups. When both Americans and Britons deconstruct their national identity (America is a propositional nation, 'Britishness' is offensive), they stand in clear contrast to the identities advanced by ethnocentrists. The informational hegemony, however, effectively vilifies through one-word condemnation (racist, nazi), competitors. So pervasive is the influence there is no need to define or defend the accusation - the accusation is enough. New methods are certainly in order.
    Last edited by Moody; Wednesday, December 20th, 2006 at 01:35 PM. Reason: updated thread

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    Quote Originally Posted by OnionPeeler
    It is interesting to note that, in Jack's piece, a tripartite division is used to describe culture and its propogation. Whether this is a conscious choice or the upwelling of Indo-European triadic thinking, the author will have to tell. But the synchronization with Dumezilian castes is clear with a

    Priest
    Warrior
    Folk/Producer

    Here it becomes:

    Creator (thought)
    Appreciator/Projector (action)
    Masses (passive existence)

    Jack divides the A/P into a cultural and political elite. Most would probably agree that these have three major arms, the government, the academia and the press. The latter two provide a sustained and continuous propoganda environment and, in 'democracies', exercise great influence over who runs the government. When the effect is in runaway, and surely it now is, the gov't uses its power to protect the latter two and their informational hegemony. Competing voices are criminalized and attacked.

    Contrast as means: I don't think this is entirely lost with nationalist and ethnocentric groups. When both Americans and Britons deconstruct their national identity (America is a propositional nation, 'Britishness' is offensive), they stand in clear contrast to the identities advanced by ethnocentrists. The informational hegemony, however, effectively vilifies through one-word condemnation (racist, nazi), competitors. So pervasive is the influence there is no need to define or defend the accusation - the accusation is enough. New methods are certainly in order.
    I think the trinity I proposed (creators-projectors-masses) was a bit unconscious, I didn't do it on purpose so I could get three, it just made sense I would not have said the masses have a passive existance - rather, the creators develop the ideas, projectors articulate them, and the masses carry them out - genius creates the aim, intelligence analyses the situation, and the sword is wielded. The sword, being the masses of course.

    I'm rewriting the above essay, expanding a lot more into parts that I've missed out on or briefly skipped over.
    Last edited by Moody; Wednesday, December 20th, 2006 at 01:36 PM. Reason: updated thread
    All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream at night, in the dusky recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams, with open eyes, to make it possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack
    "Freedom means the absence of restrictions, the absence of force".
    It is common to make the distinction between negative and positive freedom. The first is 'freedom from' something, the second is 'freedom to do' something.
    Your confusion lay in only treating the first.

    "Action has a much ignored prerequisite - the aim, of which volition is the selector".
    This is one-sidely teleological. Not all action is towards an aim; some action may be chaotic, or some may be pre-destined - 'he could not have acted otherwise'.

    "A dictatorship that maintains its control through brute force alone will not last long".
    This depends on the population - the Chinese avow otherwise.
    Last edited by Moody; Wednesday, December 20th, 2006 at 01:37 PM. Reason: updated thread
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    I disagree. Freedom for something means the absence of restrictions in relation to your objective. Not that you have the resources - that's power, the capability to act. Power brings freedom, but freedom does not nessecarily bring power. Freedom for something (absence of restrictions in relation to the objective) and freedom from something (absence force or the threat of force) are effectively the same thing.

    The point on volition - I agree. I will rectify this error when I revise the essay soon ('Philosophy of freedom, power and culture' was revised and posted here as 'metaphysics of power', which you and I have and are discussing also).

    Third point: The Chinese identify with their dictatorship Not to mention the population itself had to undergo total mobilization to drive out the Japanese, and then the Communists massed most of the population and crushed the Nationalists (the Chinese Communists were patriots, btw) - by then, every Chinaman with a gun was serving, in some form, the Chinese Communist Government. The Chinese Communist Government also employed propaganda and patriotism as a means to control its population, and so is not quite a good counter-example.
    All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream at night, in the dusky recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams, with open eyes, to make it possible.

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    Nobility, Priesthood, Masses
    The Phora

    "There are no principles; there are only events. There is no good and bad, there are only circumstances. The superior man espouses events and circumstances in order to guide them. If there were principles and fixed laws, nations would not change them as we change our shirts and a man can not be expected to be wiser than an entire nation."
    —Honoré de Balzac

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack
    "Freedom for and freedom from something are effectively the same thing".
    This distinction is often made along Left/Right lines. The (libertarian) Right like to speak of having as little government [and laws] as possible - this is their idea of 'freedom'. The (hard) Left like to have the do's and don'ts of social-life laid out in great detail - this they say, guarantees 'freedom'.
    Of course, the latter is the freedom of protection and leads to the 'nanny-state', while the former is the freedom of 'lassez aller', and leads to the growth of private litigation culture, where everyone is busy sueing everyone else.

    Scruton says;
    "A person may be free FROM constraints and threats, in a world that leaves him free to DO very little, say, because it contains no resources upon which he can exercise his powers ...
    There is a difference at least of emphasis between those who discern political freedom in the absence of certain constraints, and those who discern it in the presence of certain powers and possibilities".
    [Scruton, A Dictionary of Political Thought]

    "The Chinese identify with their dictatorship".
    Actually, I was not just thinking of Communist China; I was referring to the long history of China's hardly changing despotisms over past millennia.
    Last edited by Moody; Wednesday, December 20th, 2006 at 01:38 PM. Reason: updated thread
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    The hard left's distributionism isn't freedom from force (it necessarily requires taking from someone to give to another, and so is not 'freedom') - it's the mass distribution of material power. The libetarian right would argue that being free from force leaves someone free to acquire material goods through the use of one's mind and labour power. On this point I agree with them, because it makes the discussions 'cleaner'.

    Chinese are intelligent, but they do not have much testosterone - i.e. will to power. Europeans do. As a result, our cultures tend to be ever-evolving while that of the Chinese is rather still and dry. Because the Chinese as individuals lack will to power, they require less hegemony (see Gramsci) and so dictatorships work just fine for them. Less so for the European man.
    Last edited by Moody; Wednesday, December 20th, 2006 at 01:41 PM. Reason: updated thread
    All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream at night, in the dusky recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams, with open eyes, to make it possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack
    "The hard left's distributionism isn't freedom from force (it necessarily requires taking from someone to give to another, and so is not 'freedom') - it's the mass distribution of material power".
    Why else is distribution desired if it is not to free the oppressed proletariat?
    Why else is freedom a watchword for the Left, if it not mean freeing the working classes from the yoke of the owners?
    Giving power to thr powerless empowers them, say the Left; what is this [by your own definition] but freedom?

    "The libetarian right would argue that being free from force leaves someone free to acquire material goods through the use of one's mind and labour power. On this point I agree with them, because it makes the discussions 'cleaner'".
    The Left would argue that the freedom of the poor in such a set up is worthless as poverty itself detracts from one's power to act [i.e., freedom].
    Take as an example the saying that any American can become President - sure he can - providing he have the money!
    Such rightist freedom lends itself to monopoly also.

    "Chinese are intelligent, but they do not have much testosterone - i.e. will to power. Europeans do... and so dictatorships work just fine for them. Less so for the European man".
    And that was my point in the first place and why I mentioned the Chinese. To repeat what I said, dictatorship works when the people are ripe for it.
    However, there is a distinction between dictatorship of the despotic kind - which is Oriental - and dictatorship of the leadership kind, which is European.
    Europe produces Leaders [at its best].
    Last edited by Moody; Wednesday, December 20th, 2006 at 01:42 PM. Reason: updated thread
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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