exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity
"There is little value in ensuring the survival of our nation, if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship ... We are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that rely primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence. On infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations." President John F. Kennedy, "Secret Societies" speech, April 27, 1961
Mortimer Adler's Syntopicon Essay: Freedom
Editor's 1-Minute Essay: Freedom
F.A. Hayek: The Road to Serfdom
Milton Friedman: Free to Choose
Jiddu Krishnamurti: Can the mind be free of fear? The outward expression of freedom is becoming more rare in the world, but most rare of all is psychological freedom, inward freedom.
Dr. Mortimer J. Adler's Six Great Ideas: truth, goodness, beauty: ideas we judge by; freedom, equality, justice: ideas we act on
John Winthrop's sermon, "City on a Hill", 1630
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Prometheus Unbound: “All spirits are enslaved which serve things evil.”
John Adams, December 30, 1765: Before the War, the future President remarked on the growing freedom-loving disposition of his countrymen: "They are extremely proud of their country, and they have reason to be so. Millions, tens and hundreds of millions ... have a pious Horror, of consenting to anything, which may entail slavery on their posterity. They think that the liberties of mankind and the glory of human nature is in their keeping. They know that Liberty has been skulking about in corners from the Creation, and has been hunted and persecuted in all countries, by cruel power. But they flatter themselves that America was designed by Providence for the Theatre, on which Man was to make his true figure, on which science, Virtue, Liberty, Happiness and Glory were to exist in Peace."
more than drinking the koolaid
The long reach of cultism encompasses much more than crackpot churches. The root idea of cult offers the sense of "cut." This core concept of "cut" leads us to images of refinement and refashioning and, by extension, development, control, pattern, order, and system.
Cultism as systemization finds a ready home in religion and philosophy which seek to regulate and redistill the patterning and ordering of ideas. However, in a larger sense, the spirit of cultism extends to every facet of society. We find it scheming and sedulously at work in politics, academia, family, corporations, entertainment, science, artistry – anywhere power might be gained by capturing credulous and fear-based minds.
See the “cultism” page for a full discussion.
Author Unknown: "Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American."
the moment of becoming a sane, really free, human being
“I'm simply saying that there is a way to be sane. I'm saying that you can get rid of all this insanity created by the past in you. Just by being a simple witness of your thought processes. It is simply sitting silently, witnessing the thoughts, passing before you. Just witnessing, not interfering not even judging, because the moment you judge you have lost the pure witness. The moment you say ‘this is good, this is bad,’ you have already jumped onto the thought process. It takes a little time to create a gap between the witness and the mind. Once the gap is there, you are in for a great surprise, that you are not the mind, that you are the witness, a watcher. And this process of watching is the very alchemy of real religion. Because as you become more and more deeply rooted in witnessing, thoughts start disappearing. You are, but the mind is utterly empty. That’s the moment of enlightenment. That is the moment that you become for the first time an unconditioned, sane, really free human being.”
Editor's note: read more on the "Zen" page.
'If a government can censor its critics, that’s a license for every atrocity. It is the beginning of totalitarianism.'
“If a government can censor its critics, that’s a license for every atrocity. It is the beginning of totalitarianism." Robert F. Kennedy Jr., oral testimony to the House Weaponization of the Federal Government hearing, July 20, 2023
“The corner foundation stone of our system is freedom of speech. All of the other freedoms depend on it. If we lose that, not only do we lose our democracy in this country, but in the entire world.”
From internet news sources:
It was a hearing on censorship — and 102 members of Congress signed a letter asking the committee to censor RFK Jr.’s testimony on censorship.
Viktor Frankl spoke of man's last freedom, the power to choose one's attitude even in the most dire of circumstances
Viktor Frankl, Nazi camp survivor and enlightened spirit, is one of my inspirational heroes of history. He is famous for asserting:
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: "Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacity to think... What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to egoism and passivity. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared that we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture... In 1984 ... people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure."
Ludwig von Mises: "The essential characteristic of Western civilization that distinguishes it from the arrested and petrified civilizations of the East was and is its concern for freedom from the state. The history of the West, from the age of the Greek polis down to the present-day resistance to socialism, is essentially the history of the fight for liberty against the encroachments of the officeholders."
there are plenty of vicious people who don't care about the law or who gets hurt; in fact, the more they get hurt the better they like it...
Wyatt Earp, Kevin Costner and Gene Hackman
Nicholas Earp severely instructs his son:
"I'm a man that believes in the law. After your family, it's about the only thing you got to believe in. But there are plenty of men who don't care about the law. Men who'll take part in all kinds of viciousness and don't care who gets hurt. In fact, the more they get hurt, the better. When you find yourself in a fight with such viciousness, hit first if you can. And when you do hit, hit to kill. You'll know. Don't worry. You'll know when it comes to that."
Our country is descending into mob-rule. It’s all against the flow of progressive history. Rule-by-law was a concept first achieved by the ancient Greeks, a tremendous advancement for humankind, sweeping away rule by a dictator’s whim or the mob’s churlishness. With dispassionate rule-by-law, a Greater Good could be built, people could make long-range plans, civilization and knowledge could expand without threat of despotic confiscation, disputes could be settled in courts following strict rules of evidence and civil procedure. With this stabilizing boon to society, people could put down roots, expect certain outcomes, enjoy seeing their grandchildren grow up in a more predictable world, plant oak trees, live without fear of someone stealing their property or good name by making false accusations -- as rule-by-law granted a measure of peace and security to formerly-nomadic hunter-tribespeople.
But today we are in process of upending 2500 years of humanistic thought; we're dismantling society's safety-net as we descend into barbarism.
the utterly shameless
Those of the “utter shamelessness” care nothing about the law. They care nothing about who gets hurt, whose good name is ruined, and the more people get hurt, the better they like it. While these “vicious” enemies of society urinate on the law, scoff at and mock the law-abiders, they also hide behind the law for protection against rising protests by law-abiding citizens. But this "clever" gamesmanship and disingenuity has a limited shelf-life. People who respect law will be pushed only so far. It’s what civil wars and blood-in-the-streets are made of. If we're not careful, orderly society will be put on hold while a “Battle of the OK Corral” is fought in your neighborhood.
Edward Gibbon: "Corruption, the most infallible symptom of constitutional liberty."
Proverb: "Always keep enough gold on hand to serve as get-away money, enough to bribe the border guards."
Anonymous American slave (pre-1864): "O, that I were free! I will run away: I had as well be killed running as die standing."
Anonymous freed black man in the pre-Civil War United States (pre-1864): "No day ever dawns for the slave, nor is it looked for. For the slave, it is all night, all night, forever."
Elmer Davis: "This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave."
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963): "Freedom is indivisible... When one man is enslaved, all are not free."
Friedrich von Hayek: "Liberty not only means that the individual has both the opportunity and the burden of choice; it also means that he must bear the consequences of his actions... Liberty and responsibility are inseparable."
Patrick Henry: "He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression, for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."
Patrick Henry, 1775: "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
James Madison, 1788: "I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."
John Stuart Mill: "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
William Lloyd Garrison, January 1, 1831: "I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation… I am in earnest – I will not equivocate – I will not excuse – I will not retreat a single inch – and I will be heard." Those few words from the inaugural issue of the anti-slavery newspaper, The Liberator, marked the beginning of the journalistic crusade of William Lloyd Garrison, that would eventually transform into a successful Abolitionist campaign against slavery.
Why doesn't God relieve suffering for mankind?
The following is channeled information from the other side, received during WWII, via the mediumship of Winifred Willard, reported in “From The Seventh Plane, Inter-World Messages” (1946):
If God can [relieve suffering] for mankind, why doesn’t He do it? Why doesn’t He take control of man’s life at all times, regardless of anything else? Why doesn’t He tell the human how to go and what to do from day to day? Why doesn’t He thus avert so many tragedies and prevent so much wreckage?
It would seem on first thought that the argument is right. Countless men have asked the questions and resented what they called the indifference of God to human suffering. They ask by the millions, why God did not prevent this terrible holocaust. Why did God permit this nation or that, to go wrong; these people to mire themselves in the mud of beastliness? Why does God permit epidemics to go rampant through communities? Why does He take ones so dearly loved? Why does He not sit at the helm and guide all peoples everywhere to safe port on the other side of life?
Do you really think you'd like being treated like an animal in a cage, or a robot without sentience?
The answer is simple in its fundamentals. In His Infinite wisdom and power, God could do all these things. But instead He has given man the right of free will, to make his own choices, to be good and do right, or to be evil and go wrong. He has given nations the same right to their choices. If a nation determines to lower the moral standards and luxuriate in crime and sensuality, that nation is free to do just that. If it prefers to have government of the people, it may. If it elects autocracy and concentration of power, it may follow that path to the logical end. If it becomes a warring nation, lusting on human blood and reaching out in aggrandizement toward ever more power, that nation may go as far as its resources permit.
class is in session
God never takes the reins and makes the human follow where He drives. Infinitely higher is His gift to mankind, the gift of free will. With the gift, He places upon nations and individuals the responsibility of exercising this freedom of will and of choice and then taking the consequences of choice. It could not be otherwise. If nations or local governments permit conditions which breed disease, those nations must pay the price of the working of the law.
suffering is not a required course for graduation, it's just that most people will learn the hard way or not at all
If nations or men forget their highest selves and live on lower levels than are clean and pure and God-like, they may. For they are free agents. But they reap what they sow. The law thus laid down, is never abrogated. The nation which wars for selfish ends and through greed of selfish power, will perish by the sword and be its own undoing.
When things go well, we smugly take full credit; when things go wrong, we egocentrically blame God. It's a "heads I win, tails you lose" proposition.
God does not send war; nor pestilence; nor tragedy; nor sickness; nor any other hard thing. But He has put into the hands of the children of men the freedom of will that enables them to direct their choices and thus to reap their own harvests of goodness and righteousness and peace and joy—or the reverse.
God’s law … knows no difference between high estate and low. It is an impersonal law which is one of God’s greatest gifts to humankind. It makes it possible for the human to hold himself in pride and with conscious greatness as he makes his way through the world, knowing that he is not slave or servant of any, not even of God; but that he is permitted the glorious right to choose for himself…
'Why has this happened to me?' 'Are you not part of the human race which has luxuriated in the short-term benefits of selfishness?'
Does this mean, people will ask, that the individual upon whom trouble descends like a blighting cloud, has done some wrong and is being punished by an angry God? Could it mean that? No! It does not mean that. But the law does not operate with each individual as an isolated case, independent of the group with which he lives and works. It meshes into the community, the nation, the world in which each one finds himself… This law of the universe could not isolate each individual and deal with him through the years as a separate entity…
laissez-faire management style
... it is the out-working of man’s choosing and not of God’s will that the earth has turned red with shed blood because there are those who know no limits of greed for wicked power.
Antonio de Mendoza: "Liberty means responsibility. That's why most men dread it."
Baron Lane: "Loss of freedom seldom happens overnight. Oppression doesn't stand on the doorstep with toothbrush mustache and swastika armband-it creeps up insidiously ... step by step, and all of a sudden the unfortunate citizen realizes that it is gone."
Abraham Lincoln, Sanitary Fair, Baltimore, April 18, 1864: "The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word many mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men's labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name - liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names - liberty and tyranny."
F. A. Hayek: "The system of private property is the most important guaranty of freedom, not only for those who own property, but scarcely less for those who do not."
Ludwig von Mises: "Private property creates for the individual a sphere in which he is free of the state. It sets limits to the operation of the authoritarian will. It allows other forces to arise side by side with and in opposition to political power. It thus becomes the basis of all those activities that are free from violent interference on the part of the state. It is the soil in which the seeds of freedom are nurtured and in which the autonomy of the individual and ultimately all intellectual and material progress are rooted."
Adolf Hitler, 1931: "What matters is to emphasize the fundamental idea in my party's economic program clearly - the idea of authority. I want the authority; I want everyone to keep the property he has acquired for himself according to the principle: benefit to the community precedes benefit to the individual. But the state should retain supervision and each property owner should consider himself appointed by the state. It is his duty not to use his property against the interests of others among his own people. This is the crucial matter. The Third Reich will always retain its right to control the owners of property."
Karl Marx, Communist Manifesto: "The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property."
Stephen Chapman: "Australia's ban on handguns did not stop a killer from shooting 54 people, 35 of them fatally, in a 1996 rampage in Tasmania: He resorted to rifles. ... Thinking (gun control) measures will prevent episodes of mass murder is like thinking you can reduce drunk-driving by banning Budweiser. ... After the 1996 slaughter, the Australian government outlawed semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns. As part of the deal, it bought back 640,000 guns from their private owners. The result? In the first year of the new ban, the murder rate rose 3.2 percent and armed robberies were up 44 percent."
Andrew Fletcher, 1698: "Arms are the only true badges of liberty. The possession of arms is the distinction of a free man from a slave."
George Washington: "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the America people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference -- they deserve a place of honor with all that's good."
Noah Webster: "Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power."
Daniel Webster: "Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster, and what has happened once in 6000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world."
Frederick Douglass: "I appear this evening as a thief and a robber. I stole this head, these limbs, this body, from my master - ran off with them."
Will & Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History: "... freedom and equality are sworn and everlasting enemies, and when one prevails the other dies. Leave men free, and their natural inequalities will multiply almost geometrically, as in England and America in the nineteenth century under laissez-faire. To check the growth of inequality, liberty must be sacrificed, as in Russia after 1917. Even when repressed, inequality grows; only the man who is below average in economic ability desires equality; those who are conscious of superior ability desire freedom; and in the end superior ability has its way."
Thomas Jefferson: "Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plentitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual."
James Burgh, 1774: "No kingdom can be secured otherwise than by arming the people. The possession of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave. He, who has nothing, and who himself belongs to another, must be defended by him, whose property he is, and needs no arms. But he, who thinks he is his own master, and has what he can call his own, ought to have arms to defend himself, and what he possesses; else he lives precariously, and at discretion."
Ronald Reagan: "Two visions of the world remain locked in dispute. The first believes all men are created equal by a loving God who has blessed us with freedom. Abraham Lincoln spoke for us: 'No man,' he said, 'is good enough to govern another without the other's consent.' The second vision believes that religion is opium for the masses. It believes that eternal principles like truth, liberty, and democracy have no meaning beyond the whim of the state. And Lenin spoke for them: 'It is true, that liberty is precious,' he said, 'so precious that it must be rationed.' Well, I'll take Lincoln's version over Lenin's - and so will citizens of the world if they're given free choice."
Lord Acton, The History of Freedom in Antiquity, 1877: "It is bad to be oppressed by a minority, but it is worse to be oppressed by a majority ... from the absolute will of an entire people there is no appeal, no redemption, no refuge but treason."
Charles Bradlaugh, English reformer, 1890: "Without free speech no search for truth is possible... no discovery of truth is useful.... Better a thousandfold abuse of free speech than denial of free speech. The abuse dies in a day, but the denial slays the life of the people, and entombs the hope of the race."
Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, Dissent, Olmstead v. U.S., 1928: "The makers of our Constitution sought to protect Americans.... They conferred, as against the government, the right to be let alone - the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men."
Erwin Griswold, Dean, Harvard Law School, 1960: "The right to be let alone is the underlying principle of the Constitution's Bill of Rights."
Voltarine De Cleyre: "Make no laws whatever concerning speech, and speech will be free; so soon as you make a declaration on paper that speech shall be free, you will have a hundred lawyers proving that 'Freedom does not mean abuse, nor liberty license'; and they will define and define freedom out of existence."
Frank Cobb, Editor, New York World, 1920: "The Bill of Rights is a born rebel. It reeks with sedition. In every clause it shakes its fist in the face of constituted authority... it is the one guarantee of human freedom to the American people."
R. H. Crossman, Editor, New Statesman, 1952: "Freedom is always in danger, and the majority of mankind will always acquiesce in its loss, unless a minority is willing to challenge the privileges of its few and the apathy of the masses."
Dante, Monarchy, 1309: "Mankind is at its best when it is most free. This will be clear if we grasp the principle of liberty. We must recall that the basic principle is freedom of choice, which saying many have on their lips but few in their mind."
Clarence Darrow, 1920: "You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man's freedom. You can only be free if I am free."
President John F. Kennedy: "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
President Gerald Ford, 1976: "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have."
H. L. Mencken, Notes on Democracy, 1926: "The fact is that liberty, in any true sense, is a concept that lies quite beyond the reach of the inferior man's mind. He can imagine and even esteem, in his way, certain false forms of liberty - for example, the right to choose between two political mountebanks... but the reality is incomprehensible to him. And no wonder, for genuine liberty demands of its votaries a quality he lacks completely, and that is courage. The man who loves it must be willing to fight for it... More, he must be able to endure it - an even more arduous business."
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859: "If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
Jean Rousseau, The Social Contract, 1762: "Free people, remember this: You may acquire liberty, but once lost it is never regained."
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace, 1869: "All men's instincts, all their impulses in life, are efforts to increase their freedom. Wealth and poverty, health and disease, culture and ignorance, labor and leisure, repletion and hunger, virtue and vice, are all terms for greater or less degree of freedom."
William Pitt the Younger, British Prime Minister: "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
Niccolo Machiavelli, 1513: "There is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new order of things..... Whenever his enemies have occasion to attack the innovator they do so with the passion of partisans, while the others defend him sluggishly so that the innovator and his party alike are vulnerable... It is just as difficult and dangerous to try to free a people that wants to remain servile as it is to enslave a people that wants to remain free."
Abraham Lincoln (paraphrased): Responding to a heckler during the Lincoln-Douglas debates: "What's that? If I love Negroes so much why don't I marry one? I protest against that counterfeit logic that assumes because I do not want a black woman as a slave that I must necessarily have her for a wife! I need not have her for either! I can just let her alone. That is all that I ask for the Negro. If you do not like him, let him alone. If God gave him but little, that little let him enjoy."
George W. Bush, Inaugural Address, Jan. 20, 2005: "We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world. America has need of idealism and courage, because we have essential work at home - the unfinished work of American freedom. In a world moving toward liberty, we are determined to show the meaning and promise of liberty.”
Stephen R. Covey, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness: "Most people equate discipline with an absence of freedom... In fact, the opposite is true. Only the disciplined are truly free. The undisciplined are slaves to moods, appetites and passions. Can you play the piano? I can't. I don't have the freedom to play the piano. I never disciplined myself."
Edward Gibbon: "In the end, more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security."
Abigail Adams, March 31, 1776: Commenting on slave-owners in a letter to her husband John at the Philadelphia Congress: "I have sometimes been ready to think that the passion for liberty cannot be equally strong in the breasts of those who have been accustomed to deprive their fellow-creatures of theirs."
P.J. O’Rourke, Forbes, 5-7-07, Adam Smith: Web Junkie: “The free market is more than a place to shop; it is an enormous network of voluntary association. The free market fosters civil, political and personal liberties … the Internet quickly and cheaply expands this network of voluntary association…The importance of voluntary association to freedom cannot be overstated… In The Wealth of Nations Adam Smith said that an individual ‘stands at all times in need of the co-operation and assistance of great multitudes, while his whole life is scarce sufficient to gain the friendship of a few persons.’ Smith saw that the free market answered liberty's need for a larger network of voluntary association. The pursuit of self-interest means that the free market has built-in incentives for network maintenance and expansion... The Internet is an advance for voluntary association. It adds freedom to markets, decreases the force of coercion and gives persuasion greater sway over power…”
Ludwig von Mises: Marxist economists disdain capitalism's untidy and inefficient, they say, unplanned economy. Hogwash, says Mises. Laissez-faire is not mindless and random economic activity - it is individual planning writ large in the marketplace, each person acting as he or she judges best: “The alternative is not plan or no plan - the question is who's planning? Should every member of society plan for himself? or should a benevolent government alone plan for them all? The issue is not automatism versus conscious action. It is autonomous action of each individual versus the exclusive action of the government. It is freedom versus government omnipotence. Laissez-faire does not mean let soulless mechanical forces operate. It means let each individual choose how he wants to cooperate in the social division of labor. Let the consumers determine what the entrepreneurs should produce. Planning [as liberals use the term] means let the government alone choose and enforce its rulings by the apparatus of coercion and compulsion."
Ludwig von Mises: Should the government be allowed to regulate dangerous or excessive consumption, for example, narcotics? "Opium and morphine are certainly dangerous habit-forming drugs. But once the principle is admitted that it is the duty of government to protect the individual against his own foolishness, no serious objections can be advanced against further encroachments. A good case could be made out in favor of the prohibition of alcohol and nicotine. And why limit the government's benevolent providence to the protection of the individual's body only? Is not the harm a man can inflict on his mind and soul even more disastrous than bodily evils? Why not prevent him from reading bad books and seeing bad plays? from looking at bad paintings and statues? from hearing bad music? The mischief done by bad ideologies is much more pernicious both for the individual and for the whole society than that done by narcotic drugs."
David Hume: "It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once. Slavery has so frightful an aspect to men accustomed to freedom that it must steal in upon them by degrees and must disguise itself in a thousand shapes in order to be received."
Alexis de Tocqueville: De Tocquelle understood that democracy is an essentially individualist institution -- and that it stands in unremitting conflict with socialism: "Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom; socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But, notice the difference. While democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude."
Abraham Lincoln, December 1, 1862:One month before signing the Emancipation Proclamation, President Lincoln sent a message to Congress, an excerpt of which follows:"We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We - even we here - hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free - honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth."
Ellen Terry, via Leslie Flint, on freedom in Summerland
I would say that this [life on our side] is the natural life and yours is the artificial, and that the truly natural life is the spiritual… This is a natural existence and the material life is only a pale reflection of the reality. There is no need, in a sense, for anyone to fear death – for whatever the individual may be, no matter how low he may have sunk, over here there are varying degrees of existence, various planes of unfolding development, and the individual finds his or her place. And there is growth – there is no standing still. There is evolution which passes through phases and conditions, and the soul certainly grows in knowledge and experience.
I would say that the truly spiritual person is the one who has lost so much of the material, and has grasped and truly become part of this life, which is so vast in its conception and experience; that as one becomes more and more aware and conscious, more and more developed unto it and with it, so that individual becomes more truly spiritually grown, more spiritually conscious and aware – but not in a narrow sense, but without fear, without any of the drawbacks, which hold man so firmly to earth in the body.
Here there is no restriction placed upon expansion of expression; here you assimilate knowledge and experience; here you throw off more and more of the old self and become truly free. And I think freedom, freedom of expression, freedom of realization, freedom of thought is truly a spiritual blessing that comes to us all gradually and gives us that spiritual consciousness and awareness and truly creates and makes possible the spiritual life. It is the narrow confines of earth which prevent individuals from becoming spiritual beings.
One must have complete and absolute freedom of expression, in the highest sense, to be able to discard all that which is of the material; all that which holds one down; all that which prevents one from expressing and expanding – anything which is inclined to prevent a human life from developing and expressing and growing on earth must be and is bad – anything that stultifies, anything that in any way makes it an impossible thing for an individual to have freedom of expression of thought must be and is bad… And I do think that many people do come here with firm, fixed ideas, ideas that have been implanted in them for the whole of their existence.
Often through fear they have been afraid to express their true feelings and emotions; they have been afraid to pursue new lines of thought; they have been afraid even to read books which, possibly, might have helped them…
Over here a spiritual life is a life of complete and absolute freedom in which you are able to assimilate all experience and knowledge.
- Great teachers from other spheres enter lower spheres to advise and to guide and to uplift.
- Here there is complete unity and harmony and love. Here there is truly brotherhood. Here there is the wisdom of all time expressed in all manner of ways by all manner of peoples, irrespective of any earthly idea of class or creed or color.
I would say that what holds humanity back in your world is this unfortunate clinging to old ideas and old ideals; clinging to outworn creeds and religions; clinging to barriers built up by class and ignorance – peoples who are held apart from one country to another by patriotism and all the false ideals. We want to break down the barriers that have kept men apart; we want to bring a new realization of God’s love and purpose and to give you some glimpse of what true spiritual life is…
On the sphere on which I now exist there is such tremendous opportunity… we have the most wonderful form of existence one could hope to experience, and yet all the while one experiences this existence, one is ever conscious of the possibilities of that which lies still further ahead.
It is impossible, I think, for any soul to describe the spheres that are more advanced. The spheres that are near the earth, because they are near the earth, can be depicted and described [as they are essentially earthlike in nature] … but I can say that my life is full of beauty, full of color, full, indeed, of every aspect of loveliness… there is a diffused subtlety of light – there is never darkness… there is a time of quietude for us, and rest – and yet there is never any need for rest or sleep but peacefulness that comes upon us when we feel the need; and our energies, which never seem to flag, are ever present, are ever calling upon us to do more, to experience more, to endeavor more.
There is all the beauty and magnificence of the countryside and the colorings of nature, but even more glorified and beautified than anything you know – there are all the conditions that one would expect of your life but much more rarified… much more vast… we have, of course, all the animals that constitute nature, but there, again, in a more highly developed state of being – and all the domestic animals you once loved … there is the ability of the animal world to make itself understood… we know what they think, we know what they feel, and they know what we say unto them – they read our thoughts and are able to understand all that we feel – and that is one of the greatest things of this life … being completely and absolutely comprehended, not only by the human race … but by the so-called lesser kingdom of the animals …
[One] is so lacking… so feeble [in ability to describe these things] – I can only say this to you, to all those of you listening, there is no need to fear the crossing of your world to this – it is the great adventure; it is the great awakening to a greater realm of loveliness and beauty and freedom of thought – truly, this is a spiritual world, but not as man has depicted.
Indeed, it is so different, so tremendously alive and vital – so far removed from man’s conception … do not fear passing from your world to this – for whatever condition of life you might enter, no matter how lowly it may be, it will be a reflection of your world … according to your condition upon passing; particularly, according to your development… so you will find a condition to which you are suited… [to] express the development of love.
Of course, we know there are the lower spheres, the spheres for undeveloped souls… but, even so, it is not a "hell" – there is no hell, only that which man creates by his own thinking and living… man often lives in darkness of his own creating.
- [But] as soon as he begins to desire a spark of life eternal; as soon as he endeavors to lift himself from the dark sphere, so he will be helped and guided, given instruction and shown the path – no need to fear, for this is a world of love … [a world] where all … are seeking to uplift themselves from stage to stage… man [will] progress from the depths to the heights.
Life In Two Spheres, or Scenes in the Summerland, by Hudson Tuttle, channeled testimony from the other side:
"Wretch! Wretch! Wretch,” he exclaimed in anguish."Oh, that I had never been born!”
The Sage, taking him by the hand, raised him up, saying: "Self-accusing child, why blame yourself thus? Blame no one for their follies, but the circumstances in which you were placed. They were bad; popular opinion, before which you bent , was bad. All tended to make you what you were. You have a germ of native goodness in your being, or you would not thus accuse yourself. Arise! weep no more! The future is bright.” ...
"You have corrected me aright; I acknowledge your superior spiritual powers of perception reverentially."
"Reverence not me; I am no more than the others. We acknowledge submission to no one. Each is his own individual sovereign, to think and act as best pleases himself, if he is regardful of the rights of others and is measured by his worth alone. If you are thankful express it, not by words or gestures, but by actions. Reverence not me, but truth. You are still prejudiced on this and kindred subjects, and your prejudice must be overcome."
a tribute to David Kenyon Webster, a member of the famous Band Of Brothers
David Kenyon Webster
2 June 1922 – 9 September 1961
An English literature major at Harvard University, Webster interrupted his studies to volunteer as paratrooper. He was part of the D-Day invasion and was wounded. Later he rejoined Easy Company.
“From a wealthy and influential family, Webster could have arranged an officer's commission stateside, but he wanted to be a ‘grunt’ to see and document the war from a foxhole. By most accounts, he did not like what he saw and had great disdain for Germany's audacity in creating the war.” (Wikipedia)
There is a noteworthy vignette in Band Of Brothers, sometimes referred to as “Webster’s Mini-Speech.” Near the end of the War, with German soldiers surrendering in their hundreds of thousands, we find the defeated Axis troops, marching in formation toward detention.
The Allied soldiers, transported in trucks, pass these vanquished. Deeply moved by the futility, the stupidity, of what he’s witnessing, Webster, aback a truck, stands to deliver a stinging oration to these members of the National Socialists Party:
David Webster: [beginning to shout at a passing formation of Nazi prisoners]
“Hey, you! That's right, you stupid Kraut bastards! That's right! Say hello to Ford and General fucking Motors! [i.e., as opposed to the German horses.] You stupid fascist pigs! Look at you! You have horses! What were you thinking? Dragging our asses half way around the world, interrupting our lives... For what, you ignorant, servile scum! What the fuck are we doing here?"
David Webster’s diatribe is not about being German. I’m German, and I agree with Webster. It’s about being “ignorant, servile scum.” It's about being a boot-licking order-taker, with no quarter given to the whispering directives of the soul. It's about being human.
The socialists, the totalitarians-at-heart, since World War II, have tried to explain away what happened in Hitler’s Germany as an aberration, the result of one evil man, a one-time occurrence that could never happen in the good old USA where we’re much smarter, much more sophisticated. However, the truth is, you have to have serious leanings toward being “ignorant, servile scum” to believe or promote this kind of propaganda.
Our educational system today in the US, crafted by totalitarians to purposefully dumb-down a populace, with a view toward making it more “ignorant, servile,” and illiterate, is probably only 10% as good as that of Germany in pre-War days.
German society was the most cultivated and cultured, the best educated and most sophisticated, from that day to this. Never in history - certainly not since ancient Greece - had so many intellectual and artistic luminaries dominated: Beethoven, Brahms, and Bach; Einstein, Mach, and Braun; Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, and Kant -- we could go on for some time here. And to suggest that what happened there could never replicate itself in the United States - here, in our "dumbed-down" little educational system - is just wishful, shallow-thinking, a dysfunctional denial of the seeds of Evil that reside in the dark recesses of every human heart.
analyzing the “ignorant, servile scum”
What’s really bothering Webster? It’s the mindless servility. It’s the self-disrespect. It’s the unwarranted deference to authority. He saw those hapless soldiers – even in defeat, even when Dear Leader was kaput – still wanting to march in their little goose-stepping ways, so neatly, so obediently, like f****** good little boys. This made him want to shout and spit nails.
Webster was witnessing the end of line of socialistic-totalitarian sentiment. This is how it all ends, when power-grabbing and "I'm better than you" burns itself out. But, it seemed so sophisticated, so reasonable, in earlier days. Were they not the smartest people, with others so beneath them, not even deserving a modicum of civility? Well, "if we are better, if we have no duty to treat others in a civil manner" – as our Dear Leaders preach to us today – "then we have a right to rule over others, and oppress them."
Having drunk the kool-aid of this totalitarian party-platform, which is now accepted in our country in certain sectors, they stupidly follow each other over the dystopian cliff into perdition. They didn’t believe the message of Hayek and his “Road To Serfdom.” The lessons of history don’t apply to them, because they’re better and above. And in this “ignorant, servile scum” mentality, they carve out one more rise-and-fall in the sordid story of humankind.
therapy sessions for recovering “ignorant, servile scum”
How will you, if you're a totalitarian, feel someday when you meet David Kenyon Webster? I’m sure he’ll be too polite to say it to your face, but we’ll know what he’s thinking.
The apostle Paul spoke of living in the presence of, being surrounded by, a great host of witnesses, those who have gone before us, those who have endured the insanity of this world and have done well. But the totalitarians at-the-gate will never allow this kind of sentiment. For them, it's a power-haircut, they're all that is, they're against anything they can't control, and to direct any thought of deference toward those who might teach us something is too humbling for them. Why would they? -- they're the smartest people of history.
the mirror of Dorian Grey
Many years ago I had to look in the mirror and admit that I’d been selling out my own soul to various infallible gurus. I'd been a goose-stepping good little boy, denying my own judgment, disrespecting my own thoughts, ignoring my own counsel, in favor of some ******* Dear Leader in my life.
Are you willing to enter that kind of scorching self-evaluation? Who do you take orders from? – be it in a religious, political, or some other “ignorant, servile scum” promoting ego-organization.
I’m reminded of Jesus’ warning concerning those who inhabit the Dark Realms – an assessment which has been corroborated by thousands of afterlife reports. He spoke of two psychological profiles: those who (1) “weep and wail” and those who (2) “gnash teeth.”
The first group are the “goose-stepping, ignorant, servile scum” who live in a mindset of guilt and self-loathing, following some infallible Dear Leader. They “weep and wail” in a “victimhood” state of mind, thinking themselves unjustly treated: “Didn’t I live like a good little girl, trying so hard to keep all the rules, and never missing a goose-step? And now this happens to me. It’s so unfair.”
The second group are those who think they’re “better” and “above.” They want to reduce your personal freedoms because you're too foolish and incompetent to govern your own life, and so you need their supervisory services just to get you by. And later, in the Dark Realms, they'll “gnash teeth,” that is, they'll want to fight. They’re belligerent because they deserve to win, because they’re so much smarter, and, because you're so stupid, they have a moral obligation to rule over you. They're just trying to help.
The “victims” and the “elites” cannot enter Summerland. Not yet. They have “unfinished homework to hand in.” They need to access the “true self” and imbibe of the common humanity, a sense of the tremendous potential of each human being “made in the image.”
With the liberation of a concentration camp, Easy Company searches for food in a nearby village to distribute to the starving zombie-like inmates. David Webster (portrayed by Eion Bailey) angrily confronts the town baker who objects to donating his storehouse of bread. With the camp but a mile or so away, and with excuses of exculpation threadbare, Webster, pistol brandishing, comes close to abruptly ending the conversation.
They’ll be no rationalizations on the other side; at least, none convincing. In elitist-and-victimhood Germany, no one had any idea of the pandemic atrocities; and in the Shadowlands, no one has any idea that Dear Leaders were unnecessary, that whisperings of the soul might have directed us, leading us, into all truth.
And let's be very clear. The "Allies" will yet liberate all strongholds of darkness and dysfunctional ego -- no matter what your local Nice Young Man pontificates.
The Band Of Brothers of our world, though incredibly noble, are but forerunners of a vast host of Liberators who do not take kindly to the thought of ever losing any good thing; so much so, that a certain song speaks of their steel-resolve with "rest assured."