A Reflection on Freedom

Originally published at Soul of the East

The Fourth of July holiday (decreasingly referred to as Independence Day) is an opportunity for countless Americans to have a day off to gorge themselves on food and beer, watch fireworks, and utter a few superficial platitudes about freedom. Minimal thought is given to these assumed freedoms, and even less to the founding myth that lays behind them. As long as homosexuals can “marry,” everyone can fornicate in the manner of barnyard animals, and Wal-Mart remains stocked with cheap Chinese-made trinkets, the masses are content to believe they are free.

That this Independence Day takes place in the growing shadow of the violently rising “Caliphate” (an offshoot of al-Qaeda) in Syria and Iraq passes without notice by the proletariat, who would rather be entertained with televised sports. One can hardly fault them for this; the intricacies of Middle Eastern sectarian politics are in and of themselves irrelevant to their lives.

What is actually ominous is the genesis of this self-proclaimed Caliphate. The Caliphate and the resurgent jihadist movement that preceded it have been cited by the U.S. government as an immediate terrorist threat to the “Homeland”. Indeed, the “terrorist threat” has been continuously used by the elites to perpetuate and expand the surveillance state and peddle for more war in the Middle East, with the ever-lovable former Vice President Dick Cheneyspouting that if America fails to reinvade Iraq, then the United States would suffer an attack at the hands of terrorists to dwarf the 9-11 operation of 2001. Thus our ruling elites assure us that we need more domestic control and more foreign interventions to keep us safe, what the late Gore Vidal termedperpetual war for perpetual peace.

That the same terrorists who now supposedly threaten our lives and our “freedom” have been sponsored and armed by the American government shows the level of willful ignorance that most of our citizenry is happy to live with.

Americans are told that they must forfeit their freedoms, the same ones the terrorists supposedly wish to destroy, in order be kept safe from the terrorists that the U.S. openly funds and arms. This state of affairs is telling both about oligarch-run Washington, which cynically creates both the problem and then offers a “solution”, laughing all the way to the bank, and the American people, who have become the proverbial frog in the slowly boiling pot.

For a people whose common perception of freedom is that it consists of self-gratification, such a program of elite manipulation is not only expected, but perhaps even deserved. But manipulative, technocratic elites and passive, subservient populations are not the final word. And while America’s Independence Day may be more myth than reality, there is indeed a true, spiritual freedom to be sought out and achieved.

The twentieth century Russian philosopher Nicholas Berdyaev proclaimedsuch a freedom. A freedom, in his words, that “presupposes the existence of truth, of meaning, of God.” He knew that “Truth and meaning liberate, and liberation leads to truth and meaning.” And that true freedom “must also be love, and love must be free.”

Unless and until Americans forsake mindless consumerism, nihilistic self-gratification, and allowing the corporate media to do their thinking for them, they will never attain to the true freedom spoken of by Berdyaev. Americans must realize that their true enemies are neither manufactured terrorists nor a revived Russia, but their own amoral, decadent elites, and even more so their own complacency and sloth.

Yet there is always hope that the people will awake from their spiritual slumber. May we lay claim to a true spiritual freedom and nobility that will shake the thrones of the parasitic elites and lead to the creation of a healthy, godly society.